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huge imperial navy medal bar - ID help needed

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Hello all,

here is a very nice imperial navy medal bar with some very rare and unusual awards on it... maybe someone of you can help me to get a person to the bar. I know it is not easy because it is not an officer with a lot of shining orders but there are some very good possibilities to show the way of life of this man...that`s what I would say:

- no soldier in 1897 (Centennial medal missing)

- Jerusalem cross 1898 (SMS Hohenzollern?)

- 1900/01 China medal with navy related clasps Taku + Tientsin (SMS Hansa, Hertha, Gefion, Iltis, Kaiserin Augusta)

- 1912 colonial medal with the clasp for Venezuela 1902/03 (SMS Vineta, Falke, Gazelle, Sperber, Panther, Charlotte, Stosch)

- Iron cross 1914 with the clasp Skagerrak (many ships on north sea that day...)

- still alive 1934/35 to get the front fighters cross...

additional awards: medal of the red eagle order, service 15y and service 25y, cross of the Z?hringer Lion (not often seen...)

I think that is a real life for the navy.... now it`s on you, anybody who has some ideas???? Maybe a list of the navy soldiers getting the Jerusalem cross out of the emperors hands?

I would like to ask especially for the help of Rick Research which has been highly recommended to me for this ID job on another forum ....

thanks for all help


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This medal bar has come up before. With one of the rarest WW1 decorations on there-- the Baden Z?hringen Lion Merit Cross on MKFVO Ribbon, 577 awarded-- this would SEEM to be "easy," especially since the WW1 Baden award rolls have been published-- and only 23 NAVAL recipients got this cross.

But no, alas. I can immediately exclude 13 of them, based on their Deckoffizier rank list entries, howing that they joined the navy AFTER 1898, or had other awards. So

Minen-Maschninist August Dietrich (joined navy 1902)

Torpedo-Maschinist August Ernst (joined navy 1901)

Obermaschinist Friedrich Henn (joined navy 1896-- so 1897 Centenary Medal)

Oberst?ckmeister Michael Masler (joined navy 1893--so 1897 Centenary Medal)

Torpedo-Maschinist Johannes Nikolaus (joined 1890-- so 1897 Centenary Medal)

Oberfeuerweker Hermann Rohweder (joined navy 1894--so 1897 Centenary Medal)

Minen-Steuermann Karl Schr?tel (joined navy 1901)

V?lker-- see below ***

Obermaschinist Artur Weber (joined navy 1895-- so 1897 Centenary Medal)

and the 4 Reserve, Seewehr, and Landsturm (!) recipients

can all be EXCLUDED for 1897+ XXV Years Service regular navy careers

Of the remaining 10

"Schiffs-Maschinist" Ocker can be excluded-- either as a Vertrags merchant marine engineer, or if this screwy title is meant for Maschinist Ocker--who joined the navy in 1900.

Down to 9

Flugmeister Ludwig Becher is not in the 1914 Marine Rangliste (MRL)

Torpedomaschinist Eduard Gross is not in the 1914 MRL

Bootsmann Ernst Heitzmann is not in the 1914 MRL

St?ckmeister Philipp Pressler is not in the 1914 MRL

Torpedomaschinist Gustav Schubert is not in the 1914 MRL


Torpedo-Maschinist Eugen Wacker is not in the 1914 MRL--

these six Deckoffiziere obviously made Warrant Officer ranks DURING the war, so were presumably long serving Petty Officers promoted during the war. They can NOT be excluded--indeed, I suspect it will turn out to BE one of them-- but there is NO "List" of Petty Officers showing awards.

Of the 3 recipients who were listed as Deckoffiziere, and who entered the navy by 1898, NONE show any awards as of May 1914 except the XV Years Service Cross-- so the fact that this man had a Red Eagle Order Medal makes it more likely that he was one of the 6 Petty Officers than one of these--

Artilleriemechaniker Paul Grossmann (joined 13.4.98)

Torpedo-Steuermann Albert Leonhardt (joined 7.4.97)


Obermaschinist Otto Schifferer (joined 1.4.98 but served on SMS Goeben in Turkey during the war, which does not match "Skagerrak" etc)

BUT these three can still NOT be completely excluded!!!!!

What if the Red Eagle Order Medal is NOT correct???? What if that was originally the more usual Allgemeine Ehrenzeichen in Silver?

The "closest" match and the ONLY one of these men to have the Prussian Red Eagle Order Medal

was Obermaschinist Johann V?lker*** , who joined the navy 1.10.97 BUT he had a pre-war Turkish Liakat Medal in Silver shown with that and his XV Cross in 1914! speechless.gif And he got his Baden cross 25.4.16 while on SMS Goeben-- so service in Turkey again during the war doesn't match "Skagerrak."

That is why, after listing ALL possible recipients, I have gone through the reasons for and against each one--

and think it was one of the "invisible" Petty Officers in bold print who made Deckoffizier during the war.

The Hindenburg Cross has been "swapped off" the medal bar, and it is entirely possible that the Red Eagle Order Medal has also been "swapped" when it might have been an Allgemeine Ehrenzeichen Medal in Silver, from the height of the hooks. I would NOT count on the Red Eagle Order Medal being correct to try making the identification.

Of 23, I'd say only 9 are likely "suspects" but there is no printed period source that can help with ANY of them. NO campaign medals and the Jerusalem Cross were EVER listed in Prussian or Navy Rank Lists-- THAT would have made our task here soooooooo easy! speechless.gif


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Hi Rick,

thank you very very much for your great answer on my question!!!!

I am very happy with the information you have given me because one day ago I did know not very much and now I am down to a hand full of possible owners ? great job!!!!

Now I have something very important for further search: NAMES

Maybe someday I will find a photo of some of these men and one of them weares a very fine well known medal bar? ;-) in germany we say: Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt ( hope dies finally? ?!)

I have some more nice bars with no owner, from time to time I will post one here on the forum and maybe you will be there to put your unbelievable knowledge in the ring.

For the moment again a very big ?thank you?

Best wishes


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I wonder if the INTACT German Imperial navy archives might have all personnel records for these Deck Officers, as they do for every single "real" officer?

They were NOTORIOUSLY UNCOOPERATIVE about releasing ANY ancient service records whatsoever, or even answering yes and no questions, when I gave up on them in the 1980s.

All you would need to know is which of these Warrant Officers served in China AND Venezuela...

and all THEY would have to do is look up the names and say "ja" for what I am sure would be the single man with the Baden cross who served at both places. THAT would hardly violate the Sacred "Privacy" Regulations of 1991+. rolleyes.gif

But I don't expect those lock-themselves-in every day "civil servants" have gotten any more speechless.gif cooperative in the last 20 years.

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