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Mystery white enamelled Cross to FM Alexander- What is it ?


lilo
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Hello All,

I'm new of this forum and I would like to know if some of you can help me in correctly identify an Order weared by the future british Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George ALEXANDER, when He was the commander of THE LANDWEHR in Latvia in 1919.

Below I have attached a photo (taken from a biographical book of Field Marshal H.R.L.G. ALEXANDER) that show the young Alexander wearing an uniform that seems to be Russian or German [??]. Below this photo there is an inscription that is almost illegible but that make as following :

'COMMANDER OF THE LANDWEHR in Latvia 1919'

As you can easily note, in the same photo Alexander clearly wear a 'White Enamelled Cross' on his left breast.

Moreover, a kind member of another forum gave me the following information taken from the 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography':-

Quote:

"Not wishing to go back to barracks or to the army of occupation in Germany, Alexander applied in 1919 for an appointment to one of the many military missions in eastern Europe. He was first posted as a member of the allied relief commission in Poland under Stephen Tallents and later went with Tallents to Latvia, which was in danger of falling either to Russia or to Germany. The allies had no troops in the Baltic and only a small naval detachment under Sir Walter Cowan. Tallents placed the Landwehr, composed of Baltic Germans, under Alexander's command. At the age of twenty-seven he found himself at the head of a brigade-sized formation with mainly German officers. He was good at languages and had taught himself German and Russian; his authority derived from his charm and sincerity and his obvious professionalism. He kept his men steady and resistant to the attractions of the German expeditionary force under von der Goltz and led them to victory in the campaign which drove the Red Army from Latvia..

Alexander retained all his life a keen interest in Russia. During the First World War he designed a new uniform cap for himself with a high visor and flat peak, on the model of one he had seen a Russian officer wearing. He always wore the order of St Anne with swords which Yudenich awarded him in 1919; when he met Rokossovsky in 1945 the Russian general muttered to him in an aside that he had once had it too. In the Second World War, like Churchill, he admired Stalin and was enthusiastic about the Soviet army."

Unquote :

Having NOT clear the exact nationality of the 'Landwehr' and, in consequence, of the relative uniform weared by Alexander in the photo, I tried to compare some photo of 'Russian' and 'German' Orders I have in my database but any match with the Cross in the photo. Someone also suggested me to check any of the White Russian Orders but what I found still didn't match.

My Question :

Any idea about what is the Order He is wearing in the photo ?

Awaiting to hear from you

Best Regards

Lilo

P.S. for obvious reasons I repost this thread in the 'Imperial Germany' section of this splendid forum.

Edited by lilo
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Hi George,

Yes I think you got the answer, got a chance to look him up and it states that ALEXANDER in 1919 participated in military operations in Latvia against Red units in the region, so the timeline fits and I think he would have been rewarded for his effects I can't really see him awarded with a Order of St George so late in the timeframe.

Good to hear from you George you always come up with a winner.

Cheers

Alex

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Hello Gents,

Thanks All very much for the help !

George,

I don't know from which book you took the B/W photo (with the relative description) you posted but, following your important input, I continued my search and found the following ?very interesting ?link :

<a href="http://home.comcast.net/~markconrad/1917-20.html" target="_blank"><a href="http://home.comcast.net/~markconrad/1917-20.html" target="_blank">http://home.comcast.net/~markconrad/1917-20.html</a></a>

In this website are described 2 similar crosses to that you posted.

What I noted is that the description you took from your book is, for some particular, a mixed up in respect of the descriptions of the 2 similar crosses discussed in the above link.

In other words, if you compare the description of the cross, as written in your book, with the 2 descriptions present in the above link, you also surely will note that the description of your book is a mix of those reported in the link I found (see for example the ribbon colours).

Following I'm reporting what, I think, is relevant to our discussion from the above link :

Quote:

(From Russkaya Armiya 1917-1920; Obmundirovanie, Znaki Razlichiya, Nagrady i Nagrudnye Znaki, by O. V. Kharitonov and V. V. Gorshkov.)

THE RUSSIAN ARMY 1917-1920

UNIFORMS, DISTINCTIVE INSIGNIA, DECORATIONS, AND BREAST PINS

"KARAVELLA" PUBLISHING HOUSE, Saint-Petersburg, 1991

(Pages 56-62)

UNIFORMS, ORDERS, AND INSIGNIA OF THE WHITE GUARDS ARMIES

WEST AND NORTHWEST RUSSIA

1) Ataman Bulak-Bulakhovich's "Order of the Brave" Star

Appears as a gilt eight-pointed star, on which is laid a white metal cross in the St.-George style, covered with white enamel, and measuring 64 x 64 mm with crossed swords with handles downward. In the center of the cross is a round, stamped medallion which is covered in black enamel, above which are depicted: above a crossed sword and torch ? a death's head. The medallion is surrounded by a laurel wreath, intertwined below with a ribbon with the motto "For Our and Your Freedom" ["Za nashu i vashu svobodu"]. The reverse side has a screw for wearing it. The ribbon is black with two gold edges along the sides of the ribbon.

2) Ataman Bulak-Bulakhovich's Cross of the Brave.

Appears as a white metal cross in the St.-George style, covered with white or black enamel (also encountered without enamel). Dimensions 35 x 35 mm. In the middle of the cross is a stamped, round medallion of oxidized silver, on which are depicted: above a crossed sword and torch ? a death's head. The medallion is surrounded by a laurel wreath, intertwined below with a ribbon. The reverse is smooth. It was worn on a black 38mm ribbon with two green edges along the sides of the ribbon, each being 55 mm.

Unquote

Comparing the 'White enamelled cross' weared by Alexander in the photo I posted with the descriptions of the 2 above Crosses ? BOTH ST. GEORGE STYLE CROSS, COVERED WITH WHITE ENAMEL - we can find that it (Alexander's) match for some particulars to both and, on the same time, differ for some particular to both.

The cross worn by Alexander, for what appears to be its dimension, match with the "Order of the Brave" Star (measuring 64 x 64 mm) but completely differ for the fact that this last has 'crossed swords with handles downward' (that worn by Alexander hasn't at all 'crossed swords').

Always taking in mind the proportions of the cross worn by Alexander in the photo, it doesn't match with the 'Cross of the Brave' because of the dimension of this last (35 x 35 mm) that seems to me too little. In my opinion in fact, the dimension of the cross in the Alexander photo appears to be lager than 35 x 35 mm of the 'Cross of the Brave' (that, on the contrary, match with that of Alexander because haven't 'crossed swords').

At this point, before to go ahead with my search on this argument, I would kindly ask you 2 important questions :

1) First of all (as it is still not clear to me) I would like to know if the crosses we are discussing above belongs to the category of "Medal/Decorations/Order" or if they belongs the so called 'Unit badge' category (and so aren't equipared to what we normanly consider 'medals')?

2) Are the ribbons (mentioned in each of the above descriptions of the 2 crosses) used in the same manner as we usually find to suspend the medals or are more similar, for example, to the ribbons used for US veterans badge for civil/Indian wars ?

Awaiting with the outmost interest in hearing the answer to my 2 questions

Best Regards

Lilo

Edited by lilo
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Hello Lilo and George,

I think the words Star and Cross says it all.

StaroftheBrave.jpg

Star

CrossfortheBrave.jpg

Cross

As for the question 'Medal/Decorations/Order' or 'Unit badge' as I understand it these were awarded so i would say that they were not Unit Badges

As for the robbons the Star would have been more of a Sash while the Cross would have been a ribbon

Kind regards

Alex

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Lilo,

Would it be possible to get a scan of that page from the book so we can get a better look at the item in question.

My eyes aren't as good as they use to be, I think that the "Ehrenkreuz der Baltischen Landeswehr" had a sword over the top of the shield which I cannot see.

Kind regards to ALL.

Alex

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Dear Alex,

I haven't the book from which I took the photo I posted on this thread (really I took it from ebay so the poor quality) but I'll do my best to obtain a more clear photo asking in other forums although it could take some time.

Alex, you are also rigth regarding the 'sword' over the shield of "Ehrenkreuz der Baltischen Landeswehr". Below attached is a photo of the cross in question (2nd class) that was posted by our member Kev in Deva in the 'Imperial Germany' section of this forum (see : http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=23465 )

Best Regards

Lilo

Lilo,

Would it be possible to get a scan of that page from the book so we can get a better look at the item in question.

My eyes aren't as good as they use to be, I think that the "Ehrenkreuz der Baltischen Landeswehr" had a sword over the top of the shield which I cannot see.

Kind regards to ALL.

Alex

Edited by lilo
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For what Regards the Cross ALexanders wears it was confirmed that it is the :

Badge of the Landwehr

Intended to distinguish members of the Landwehr. It appears as a straight-sided, white metal cross, covered with white enamel with a narrow sky-blue edging along the sides of the cross. On the cross is laid sword with its handle upwards, over which is a shield with a cross of black enamel. The reverse side is smooth with a pin for wearing.

So our member Saschaw was rigth !

A precisation : We cannot see the 'swords' under the shield (with the black enamelled cross) because in the exemplar worn by Alexander this sword was part of the enamell and not in relief as in the photo our member Kev in Deva have furnished.

Best Regards

Lilo

Edited by lilo
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