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Order of the White Elephant


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Hy Dean,

interesting to see this piece on a german bar of a WW1 fighter!

As already said its the 5th class of the 4th Modell which was introduced in 1941.

So you should definately check the bar of beeing able to carry such a "late" award decoration.

Prices range from early 4th Modell ones to the current ones due to the used material, craftsmanship and makermarks - but in all cases below 100.- Euro for sure!

All the best Christian

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  • 3 months later...

hey kapten,

I believe there is a similar bar running around on the net to a u-boat commander. I do believe he had the same medal but at the end of the bar.

But yes, I would like to know the answer too!!!

I was just thinking today that it would be a fun project to make up some bars of people who have won thai awards along with their other medals (more a excuse to collect different medals whilst presenting my thai collection ;-) )

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  • 4 years later...

Old topic, but in the upcoming Morton & Eden auction of 15 Dec, there is a Ist WW set to a British officer (lot nr 893) with the same type of White Elephant as in the German Ist WW set displayed here. According to the description the officer must have received his White Elephant in the early twenties. He died in 1939, and as the set looks like it is in its original state, it shows that the current type of White Elephant was awarded well before 1941, as is often asserted. Regards,


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I see that the auction proposed a potential Thai award of 1919-1921.  However, this is not concrete evidence that we can confirm that this specific medal type was used then. 

1. The date of 1941 comes from official Thai medals department documentation. We presume that their own documentation is correct. The Thai medals and document department has been well established since at least the late 1800's and would cover this time before 1941. However, as probably none of us has read the documentation perfectly well in the original Thai, so it could be different.  This is worth investigating further.  However, first presumption would be that there is another legitimate explanation.

2. In all my discussions and research, I've seen only two cases which potential evidence of this type before 1941 (the case on this forum and another case on an old photo in Thailand presumed to be earlier than than 1941).  I would presume that we would have more evidence if it was substantially before then.  So as far back as 1920 seems less likely.  However, probably we have not seen a large sample of such photos.  It is worth looking for more early photos.  This case is a good flag to look for earlier photos of him and hopefully show us something.

3.  Just because we find a late model medal in a group does not mean it actually belongs to that group - could be fabricated group or for some other reason was added or replaced at a later time. We are presuming that the group is a good group because it is with a respected auction house, but it might not be for various reasons.  There is a lot of fabricated stuff out there - In fact there are a lot of fabricated early Thai medals out there - like 99% of the Rama V material - but I don't see a financial reason to add this particular medal in this case (it wouldn't add any special value to this group by adding it).

4.  It could be added later simply because it was not available at the time.  The medal itself would typically not been provided - just a certificate.  So the owner could have added the actual medal later - thus not a period medal even though the award was period. Or for example the original medal could have been damaged or lost, so as to need replacing.  It would be unlikely that we could discern from the group itself if it was assembled in 1920 or in 1939 or later.  (The ribbon appears to be more modern, not an early watered ribbon.)

5.  It could have been added afterwards by another person.  It is not uncommon for a relative to put together a group later, or for a  relative (think grandfather or father).  I have had several requests for medals and ribbons for obsolete Indochinese medals by people who have lost them or relatives assembling such groups. 

6.  (or another legitimate reason I didn't think of off-hand)

I'm not saying that the Thai official documentation we think says 1941 could not be wrong or misunderstood.  It is worth investigating further.

A first step would be to confirm the manufacturing date of the particular medal example.  Often they are marked with this date, particularly the early ones.  I sent a question to M&E to check this.  Or someone who has a chance to handle it could look - check the back of the crown, or back of the medal (top or bottom), or inside (if brave enough to disassemble).

We may also contact the Thai medals document department to find if there really was an award to him at this time also (but this is hard to do).  I have confirmed some awards from the early Thai gazettes in this way - but it is better if we have a specific expected date to confirm.  This might help to confirm the award date.

I do notice that the manufacturing is quite nice - it seems to be a type made by Benson, which is very uncommon for this model.  It does look a little large - perhaps it is actually a 3rd class model.


P/S  Some further info about him is here:  http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=160510

Photo of him in 1917 shows only 3 ribbons and not this one: http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitLarge/mw94593/Astle-Scott-Littlejohns?LinkID=mp75456&role=sit&rNo=0

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Thanks for your comment it is difficult to know the status of the award as it is impossible to find information relating to its award. What I do know is the group was as is no later than 1960s  as all the nice naval groups in the sale were purchased in the 1950s or 60's, the Belgian Military Decoration also poses questions as it was not awarded to allied servicemen until much later. Whatever and why there are these enigmas it is still a very nice armoured trains group, certainly given the period that the group appeared for sale it is unlikely that these were added for fraudulent purposes. Possibly a member of the family mounted  the group as they assumed be correct after his death.







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