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The Saviour Of Neuve Chapelle: Sorting Out Presenter vs Recipient from "s/l"


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(I was finally able to make it out into the Zone Of Devastation from the anecdotal 11 December 2008 Great Ice Storm-- through all the anecdotal miles of downed trees lining streets to the height of house roofs. Here is 2 of 3 swords done today from a local collection deep in the center of all that anecdotal "global warming.")

One of the most annoying troubling aspects of figuring out who was who on German presentation swords is that horrobly imprecise abbreviation between the names-- "s/l." That COULD be EITHER "to/his dear" OR "from/his dear."

When we are lucky-- as is the case here--

the sword was presented during War School cadet training-- and the two young men involved went on to distinctively different arms of service.

This maidenhair pattern Damascus lionhead artillery saber bears the cipher of Saxon King Albert (ruled 1873-1902):

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On the other side, we get to the who gave what to whom--

"Keyser s/l Ledig."

Here fortune smiles upon our local collector--

1) it is a Saxon artillery officer's saber

2) both names are odd

3) there was only ONE point at which a Saxon Keyser and a Saxon Ledig were contemporaries-- and only one of the pair was commissioned as an artilleryman:

Karl Fritz Ledig:

Born in Leipzig 16 October 1875

Saxon army?retired 31 March 1920

Leutnant 22 January 1897 A7 in Field Artillery Regiment 77

Oberleutnant 9 December 1904 B

Hauptmann 18 August 1911 B

Major 21 May 1917 A

In 1901 attending the Artillery & Engineer School in Berlin

When the war started, Adjutant of the Saxon 24th Field Artillery Brigade

Ended the war as a battalion commander in Saxon Field Artillery Regiment 32

Saint Henry Order-Knight on 10 August 1916 for directing the fire of the 6 cannon and 1 howitzer batteries under his command (Saxon Reserve Field Artillery Regiment 54, Saxon 54th Reserve Division) against English attackers who had overrun and occupied the German line at Neuve Chapelle on 30 June 1916. Creeping box fire and flank fire forced the British back as German infantry counterattacked, with ?bloody losses for the enemy.? The British were forced back and the German line held.

Crown to the Saxon Albert Order Knight 1st Class with Swords (SA3aXKr) 30 June 1917 as Major in Saxon Field Artillery Regiment 279

Saxon Albert Order-Knight 1st Class with Swords (SA3aX) 10 February 1915 as Hauptmann and Adjutant of the Saxon 24th Field Artillery Brigade

Ledig would also have received both classes of the Prussian Iron Cross 1914 and the Saxon XXV Years Service Cross.

Max Eduard Keyser was also commissioned in 1897, making this a cadet school graduation piece--

Leutnant 21.07.97

Oberleutnant 23.09.05

Rittmeister 18.11.11

Major 02.08.17

In 1914 in Saxon Hussar Regiment 19.

Known awards?

Saxon Albert Order Knight 1st Class with Swords (SA3aX) 20.07.15 and

Crown to that (SA3aXKr) 26.07.16

Survived the war.

Despite the indefinite pronouns in the ?s/l? dedication abbreviation, in this case since the two then-officer cadets went to different branches and this sword bears an artillery device, we can be certain that Keyser gave it to Ledig.

Sources: Saxon Rank Lists, 1964 reprint of 1936 book of citations of WW1 Saint Henry Order knights, Honor Rank List 1914/18, and the self-published research of the late Erhard Roth.

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Citation for Ledig's Knight's Cross of the Order of Saint Henry (StH-R):

Another Happy Ending to this saga-- at least for him!

One final thought: since swords were made to measure--against their wearer's height, in order to dangle at the right level--while we may not know the color of Major Ledig's hair and eyes or whether he was mustachio'd or clean shaven-- he was a very short fellow. Try figuring THAT out from a medal bar! :cheeky: :cheers:

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  • 2 weeks later...

...

One of the most annoying troubling aspects of figuring out who was who on German presentation swords is that horrobly imprecise abbreviation between the names-- "s/l." That COULD be EITHER "to/his dear" OR "from/his dear."

Hello Rick,

a really nice sword !

But I can't see the problem with the dedication "s./l." wich reads "seinem lieben" - this means only "to his dear" !

Regards

jaeger7-de

(German speaking since about 42 years)

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