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    Two KGL MGS Medals and the Astronomical Odds of Immortality 1898 2010

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    For all the monuments of tyrants and monarchs grasping at fame beyond the span of their mortal years, there is no more enduring testament to memory than paper, silk, and little disks of silver. This is the story of two “forgotten” soldiers, a 19th century retired officer/courtier/pioneer of the scientific study of awards and decorations/author of many works on the same and… people of the 21st century keeping faith with those born in the 18th century.

    I have begun keeping a “complete” record of all SURVIVING British Military General Service Medals (and Waterloo Medals to later recipients of the MGS) for the King’s German Legion. Once again I ask—please keep me posted on ALL auction catalog and online sales now or back decades, of these medals. The story below illustrates WHY.

    Our member FireMedals passed along many 1990s issues of the O.M.R.S.’s “Journal” to my cousin Ulsterman who has lent them to me for reading. Perusing the Spring 1993 issue,

    I came across this article by Jörg C. Steiner, prolific author and partner with our Glenn J of an internet website devoted to Austro-Hungarian army research.

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    The 1898 auction was from the renowned collection (more below) of then-Major zD Hermann von Heyden, on of the Chamberlains to the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen—here described in his 1908/09 Orders Almanach entry:.

    TWO King’s German Legion MGS Medals from the von Heyden collection were sold: Neither of these medals was “accounted for” after being issued, as listed in A. L. T. Mullen’s 1990 encyclopaedic “The Military General Service Roll 1793-1814.”

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    But as it happens, BOTH the “von Heyden” medals of 1898 do still exist in 2010 and—almost miraculously—are in the SAME American collection. And here they are, Magically Epsonized:

    Oberstleutnant aD Hermann von Heyden was the owner of an extensive collection of decorations and medals. In his off hours from the demands of his palace duties, he began writing what remains to this day the standard method of describing these awards we collect, down to sizes and weights.

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    The number of these KGL Military General Service Medals surviving is a mere fraction of those issued 160 years ago. The few that DO remain have been traded—and preserved—from one generation of collector to the next. From von Heyden—two generations removed from the old warriors whose MGSs he acquired—to most of us is another 5 or 6 generations. There is every expectation that the owners of these medals 8 generations from NOW will still protect and preserve them.

    Despite all odd, Friedrich Bode and Heinrich Rendorff stand with the pharaohs and emperors: STILL remembered across the centuries. (Note actual spelling on his medal as “Friedrick” Bode) If THAT does not bring home the lesson that all of us are simply temporary stewards of history, dunno what will. WE aren’t going to be around in 112 years, after all!!!!

    MY thanks to the Traveling Museum for bringing these by and allowing these medals to be shared

    and to Paul for posting this for me since I have no internet connection any more. Rick Research

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    Thanks to Rick and Paul for showing these items and tracking them down. Especially for this reader who is from what was once part of the United Kingdom as the Electorate of Hanover then the Kingdom of Hanover. It is probable that fewer and fewer people feel any connection with those of my countrymen who during dark times kept the faith and braved odds and even death to join a formation such as the King's German Legion. Rick's and others' work will keep records alive and ensure that these brave men are not entirely forgotten.

    Bernhard H. Holst

    native of the now State of Lower Saxony and previously called the Province of Hanover

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