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Ribbon bar of Generalleutnant Alfred von Besser


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Gentlemen,

Recently, I was fortunate to acquire this bar, which was discussed more than three years ago on another :rolleyes: forum by some of you (remember it?):

besser1.png.e58f9e483ae1b5d594533981f638eba9.png

This piece was actually lying in a small box under a lot of crap, but I thought it must be special. Now here's the backside:

besser2.png.0af4051ad62f13529602e1a74fdc9a5e.png

It became clear that, while the last ribbons were added at some point, the bar had to be REAL. And it had to belong to someone who held only commander grades of his more important awards and crammed all others onto his bar.

Edited by webr55
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The ribbons are:

EK2 1870 (with missing 25 yr oakleaves), XXV, KDM 1870 with (only 1!) clasp "Paris", 1897 Cent., Anhalt FriedrichX, Lippe War MeritX, Hessian Bravery, Schaumburg-Lippe War MeritX, Hamburg Hanseaten

- and something that still completely escapes me in last place

RAO and KO moved up to the neck, so must have been a general before 1914. The style of the bar is weird, mostly seen on Austrian bars - but this was not an Austrian. Why he chose this style still remains a mystery.

It was clear that he could only be ID'd through a photo. And here's where Daniel came in: He and I were both going through the ranklists and had several dozens of suspects left.

BUT - however improbable it may seem - Daniel found a photo.

A photo with a ribbon bar.

No, not just some bar - but THIS VERY bar:

Besser_Closeup.jpg

Edited by webr55
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:beer:

And here's what the bar does not show:

RAO2mEmX, KO2, Johanniter Rechtsritter, BMV2X with star, Hessian Philipp (Cdr), Mecklenburg Griffin (Honor Cross), Italian Crown Order (Cdr), Dutch Oranien Nassau (Cdr), Austrian FJ (Cdr), Persian Sun and Lion (Cdr)

So - thanks to Daniel - may I introduce to you:

Generalleutnant Alfred von Besser (1854-1919)

besser3.png.21f70aa6b112e10b54aa9141ccf36d77.png

:jumping::jumping:

Edited by webr55
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Obviously, this being a wartime pic, he is wearing only a reduced set of his awards.

So here's some info on him:

Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Alfred von Besser

Born 1854

Sekonde-Lt ?.?.1871 (probably just reached Paris before the war was over)

Premier-Lt ca. 1880

Hauptmann ca. 1886

Major 27.1.1894 Uu

Oberstleutnant 18.8.1900 F

Oberst 27.1.1903 P

Generalmajor 14.4.1907 H

z.D. 1910 as char. Generalleutnant

recalled with Patent als Generalleutnant 1914

last cdr of the 205. Infanterie-Division

Died 16.5.1919 in Berlin

He spent most of the earlier part of his career in the Garde-Schützen-Bataillon (GSB). In 1889, he even published a history of this unit. And during the 1870s, one of his officer colleagues in the GSB was a then still unknown Hauptmann named Paul v. Beneckendorff und v. Hindenburg...

In 1900, he can be found as cdr of the Garde-Jäger-Bataillon, later cdr of IR115 before his final peacetime position as cdr of the 42. Inf-Brigade in 1907.

Edited by webr55
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Again, I could never have found him without Daniel! :beer::beer:

The photo dates ca. 1916-1919: He was awarded the BMV2 with star and X on 3.3.1916.

Some questions remain, however:

1) What is the last ribbon???

2) Has anyone got more pics of him? Or more info?

3) The pic shows loops for two more breast stars, but which ones could these be?

4) Finally, what do you think: Should I replace the 25yr oakleaves?

Regards

Chris

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:jumping::cheers::jumping::cheers::jumping:

[attachmentid=13927]

God alone knows what that last ribbon is-- since he is not wearing anything else foreign (and nothing comes to mind there, either) I can only assume that having decided to wear such an UGLY :shame::cheeky: ribbon bar it may be some sort of regimnetal jubilee "watch fob" type ribbon.

Hurrah! Hurrah! HURRAH!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!! I have exactly TWO "in photo" ribbon bars myself, so this was a spectacular match! Those wretched photo process spectrum shifts are the devil to interpret this way, yellow darker than dark blue and so on.

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Thanks for your comments!

When posting this, I did NOT know about the recent thread by Deruelle asking for a photo ID. What a coincidence! BTW, I would guess that - the postcard being from 1916 - this pic was taken when he was awarded the BMV2X star.

Rick, I agree, this is really a good example for showing the spectrum shifts!

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God alone knows what that last ribbon is--

Rick,

I am probably the last person in the entire universe that should be responding to this because I know absolutely nothing about ribbon bars (and I'm probably going to prove that right now!!!), but........go to this ribbon chart at http://s115255626.alturo-host.de/adl/bander.htm, scroll down to the Preussen section and look at ribbon # 14. With a little fading it looks awfully close. Since I know nothing about the medals themselves it may have been impossible for him to have had that medal. :rolleyes:

Edited by Mike Dwyer
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Interestingly, the General wears the uniform of the Garde-Sch?tzen-Bataillon which honour was granted to him on the 25th of May 1914. One might have thought he would have preferred the Garde-J?ger-Bataillon's uniform having commanded that unit.

Regards

Glenn

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I'm reluctant to try unknown links given my computer limitations. can you do an "F11 print screen" on whatever it is?

Scary Thought For The Day:

there appear to be TWO sets of holes in the 1870 EK2 ribbon--

what if the General himself removed those jubilee oaks...

to wear the 1870/1914 Spange later on????

That is one of those problems for restoration: "restore" to As In Photo orrrrrrr.... discover years from now him still wearing this strange literally unique ribbon bar in 1917 with the Spange on it then? I'd leave it as is...

and look for BOTH devices with prongs that match! :speechless1:

I have a WW2 Knight's Cross with...Swords winner's ribbon bar:

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?s=&showtopic=2...indpost&p=20935

deNazified (in POW camp? Or by some politically correct imbecile 3 years ago?) by removal of his 1914/39 Spange and Wehrmacht long service eagles. I can not find a photo of him wearing a ribbon bar after the Weimar Republic, so would not dream of "fixing" that bar with 'correct" devices... that might not have been the correct shape/style.

Sometimes all we can do is tend the wounded (ribbon bar).

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The idea about the 1914 clasp also occurred to me... however shouldn't that be on the 1916+ pic?

Well, the General MIGHT have removed the oaks himself, but this thing has definitely been messed with or mishandled: The Paris bar is missing a prong, for example.

Also, I think there is only one set of holes.

Really nice, your Obstfelder!!

Edited by webr55
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I don't know if I can do that or not, it may be technilogically too advanced for me! :speechless:

[attachmentid=13993]

Thanks Mike,

but it's not the Life Saving Medal. The center looks the same, but mine has additional yellow and red stripes on the border.

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Glenn,

You say the honor of wearing the Garde Sch?tzen uniform was granted to him? Would he not have had the preogative to wear the uniform of any of his former units? Was there some sort of formal bestowing of the uniform? What was the process?

Chip

Edited by Chip
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Chip,

The granting of the permission to wear regimental uniform was normally conferred on retirement after 15 years of honourable service for active officers. A General Officer would of course be automatically granted the privilege of continued wear of the General' pattern uniform with the necessary addition of non - active status insignia. On application the retiring General officer could also be granted the permission to wear a regimental uniform. This was not an automatic dispensation and the General Officer concerned could not just decide to wear the uniform of a previous unit in which he had served; He had to apply and the permission was then published in the Milit?r-Wochenblatt.

It appears that the practice of granting regimental uniforms to retired general officers greatly increased in the period just prior to WW1 with dozens of such permissions being granted in the period from 1907-1914. The honour was similar to that of being granted ? la suite status although unlike the latter the wearer of just a regimental uniform was no longer listed in the Army list.

Here is a example from 1895 when the retiring General-Lieutenant Rudolf Graf von Kanitz was granted permission to wear the regimental uniform of the 2. G.R.z.F. As a former commander of this unit he obviously decided to apply for this regimental uniform. Many officers, including those who did not achieve generals' rank often chose to apply for the uniform of the regiment in which they were first commissioned and not necessarily that unit in which they were serving at the time of retirement.

Regards

Glenn

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Hi Rick,

here are some perfect examples from the 17th of January 1907. Of the five field officers here who retired with the permission to wear a regimental uniform, three requested the wear of uniforms at variance with their last assignments.

Oberstleutnant Eduard von Tettenborn for example, who is shown as an officer on the regimental staff of the 3. G.R.z.F requested the uniform of the Garde-F?silier-Regiment, the regiment in which he originally entered as a Fahnenjunker over thirty years earlier and into which he was first commissioned on the 14th of December 1875.

Regards

Glenn

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Guest Brian von Etzel

Hi Rick,

here are some perfect examples from the 17th of January 1907. Of the five field officers here who retired with the permission to wear a regimental uniform, three requested the wear of uniforms at variance with their last assignments.

Regards

Glenn

Oh my, I have a relative here! Thanks again Glenn!!!

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  • 11 months later...

Obviously, this being a wartime pic, he is wearing only a reduced set of his awards.

So here's some info on him:

Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Alfred von Besser

Born 1854

Sekonde-Lt ?.?.1871 (probably just reached Paris before the war was over)

Premier-Lt ca. 1880

Hauptmann ca. 1886

Major 27.1.1894 Uu

Oberstleutnant 18.8.1900 F

Oberst 27.1.1903 P

Generalmajor 14.4.1907 H

z.D. 1910 as char. Generalleutnant

recalled with Patent als Generalleutnant 1914

last cdr of the 205. Infanterie-Division

Died 16.5.1919 in Berlin

He spent most of the earlier part of his career in the Garde-Sch?tzen-Bataillon (GSB). In 1889, he even published a history of this unit. And during the 1870s, one of his officer colleagues in the GSB was a then still unknown Hauptmann named Paul v. Beneckendorff und v. Hindenburg...

In 1900, he can be found as cdr of the Garde-J?ger-Bataillon, later cdr of IR115 before his final peacetime position as cdr of the 42. Inf-Brigade in 1907.

apropos of this - http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=1178...pid=113592& - thread, which Daniel took the fun out of by giving the name already, but added another layer of "it's a small world" fun by bringing to light this thread: Besides the 205. Infanterie-Division, Genlt. v. Besser also commanded the 47. Reserve-Division.

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