Darrell

French Croix de Guerre WWI

206 posts in this topic

Well my elusive 1914-1916 Croix de Guerre arrived today. As a bonus it has a Bronze Palm attachment on the ribbon.

First up here is the 1914-1916 piece:

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ID: 2   Posted (edited)

And the rest of the guys ... (note the first two on the left are BOTH 1914-1915 versions):

Edited by h009291

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Hello Darrell,

That's a nice set you've got there, all you need now is the Belgian version.

I don't own anything with a palm sad.gif so I'm slightly jealous. I do have a bar, star trio which I might scan and put in the appropriate forum tomorrow.

Tony

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Hello Darrell,

That's a nice set you've got there, all you need now is the Belgian version.

I don't own anything with a palm  sad.gif so I'm slightly jealous. I do have a bar, star trio which I might scan and put in the appropriate forum tomorrow.

Tony

You mean this one? tongue.gif

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ohmy.gif Have you just borrowed that from your neighbour?

Tony

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That's a really nice line-up of 14-18 Croix de Guerre, Darrell. Vraiement dans leur jus. Here's something I reckon you'll appreciate. I found it in a fleamarket, complete with the dried violet, which the French adopted in the way that the British and Commonwealth adopted the poppy. Whoever the veteran was, he must put the flower in the case at some point, maybe after a reunion. It's rather touching, isn't it?

PK

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Hi prosper, love the box. I have not seen too many of those floating about. The flower just makes it. Very nice!

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You can find medals with cases from time to time in France. I have a couple of coin dealers and flea market dealers who call me when they get stuff. The problem in France, you see, is that the majority of ordinary people, when clearing out a late elderly relative's home, keep the medals to sell because they are made of metal and throw just about anything made of paper, including photographs, in the rubbish skip (dumptster, for our cousins across the Atlantic).

Here is another ensemble. I looked in the M?daille Militaire box, which is deliberately deep enough for two medals, and found these two medals, unworn. But tucked into the lid of the box was this citation, which is an extremely rare item. Poor Gaston Blanchard did not have much luck; he fell at the Battle of Rosalies on August 22nd 1914. He was posthumously decorated with the Crois de Guerre with Bronze Star, suggesting that he was mentioned in regimental or brigade dispatches, and then he was accorded the fairly rare distinction of a posthumous M?daille Militaire, normally only awarded to NCOs for bravery or General Officers for leadership.

PK

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ID: 10   Posted (edited)

The citation, which is on very fine paper and printed askew. Only one of the French collectors I know had ever seen one of these before.

PK

Edited by PKeating

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Those are a wonderful pair Prosper ! That Crois de Geurre is amazing, I've only ever seen the more modern style boxes for French awards.

Belgian awards, are two a penny in boxes, but older period French boxes......forget finding them in the UK !!!

Here's my little set.......nothing special though.

Kr

Marcus

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ID: 12   Posted (edited)

Another nice line up. I would rate the French Croix de Guerre alongside the Iron Cross and the British Military Cross in asthetic terms. Such simple but eloquent designs. Don't know who this fellow was but he was active: six bronze palms. One of them is missing but the holes are there in the riband. Probably a flyer. The Bronze Palm represented a citation in Army dispatches. You had to do something very special to get the Palm. Flyers got one for each aerial victory. So it is reaosnable to presume that this cross was to a pilot because it would have very hard for a soldier or a sailor to accumulate six of them.

PK

Edited by PKeating

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Here's one from WW2. This was awarded to Pierre Ursault, a motorcycle reconnaissance rider serving with an artillery unit in 1940, for undertaking particularly risky missions between June 11th and 19th 1940, "often in very critical situations", which means that Ursault must have ridden into the lion's mouth so to speak, as the French Army fell back in front of the rapid German advance.

You can't see it here, of course, but another thing that makes this ensemble interesting is that the cross is a 1939-1940 issue, meaning that it is the Vichy pattern, approved for wear by the P?tain administration. So Ursault probably served in the new French Army or one of the paramilitary organisations. In further support of this thesis is the fact that the riband is the so-called "London type", meaning that it is of British manufacture. Perhaps Ursault quickly acquired the correct Republican riband after the Liberation and threw away his Vichy riband?

This item was rescued from a pile of trash outside a recently deceased widow's appartment building by a 'picker' who calls me when he gets nice things. Someone chucked this in the trash!

PK

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Chaps

Not my collecting interests but an interesting thread nonetheless. It's just amazing that history is so casually discarded. Enough to make you weep.

Rich

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Was there a cross with just 1914 on the back?

Here is one with palm and MM to a guy who fought in verdun and on the Somme

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One with bronze star to a guy who was killed right at the beginning of the war in the battle of the frontiers...

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ID: 17   Posted (edited)

Here is a citation to the regt , I guess each member got one of these, they have the soldiers name and were signed by Comapny and regt commander. This one for defending their position through intense barrage and flame thrower attacks, medal just for decoration..

The second one a late war one for a guy who was wounded in an attack but continued fighting until the german position was destroyed.

Edited by MrBean

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The WW1 air ace Guynemer, who had fifty-four victories, had twenty-seven palms on his riband, some of which, I think, were the silver class instituted later in the war to replace five bronze palms. Guynemer also had dozens of bronze and silver stars. His riband was about eighteen inches long! The WW2 ace Pierre Clostermann accumulated about a dozen palms.

Just for the benefit of those readers unfamiliar with the terms of the decoration, the Croix de Guerre was instituted on 8.4.1915 and was the only decoration awarded by France in World War One purely for valour on the battlefield. It was awarded to individuals of any rank who distinguished themselves by heroism in combat against enemy forces and also to anyone mentioned in dispatches for bravery in action. Subsequent acts of bravery on the part of recipients earned a bronze star for Regimental and Brigade citations, a silver star for Divisional citations, a gold star for Corps citations and a bronze palm leaf for Army citations. A common soldier of lowly rank from the mud and filth of the trenches sporting the Palme de Bronze on his green and red ribbon was a man to be treated with the greatest of respect. As we have seen, the Croix de Guerre could also be awarded to units that distinguished themselves.

The above summary answers the question of the member who asked it there were crosses with just the date '1914' on the reverse medallion. The short answer is no. They run 1914-1915, 1914-1916 (quite rare), 1914-1917 and 1914-1918. I am told that there was a 1914-1919 issue for soldiers serving in the Balkans and with the expeditionary forces in White Russia but have never seen one of these.

There are some wonderful things coming out of the woodwork in this thread, aren't there?

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Good background. On another thread one person asked if the GdG was ever awarded WITHOUT a Star Device? Or is that the minimum they had when awarded. I have yet to see one with just a plain ribbon.

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You've just seen one! Look above at the 1940 example I posted. The star device denoted the level of citation or subsequent awards but the cross could be awarded for an act of valour not mentioned in a dispatch to headquarters...if that makes sense.

PK

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You've just seen one! Look above at the 1940 example I posted. The star device denoted the level of citation or subsequent awards but the cross could be awarded for an act of valour not mentioned in a dispatch to headquarters...if that makes sense.

PK

I should have been more clear. I was referring to the WW1 CdG blush.gif

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ID: 23   Posted (edited)

Thanks for the background on the award, PK.

Where would Guynemer have hung his Croix if it were 18 inches long? Quite an accomplished pilot, to say the least!

Capstone

Edited by The Capstone

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1916 was the year of verdun and the Somme... is there any reason they are scarcer?

Best

Chris

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ID: 25   Posted (edited)

Here's my little collection. I posted this before, but I think it got "eaten" in the crash. So once more:

Edited by Ralph A

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