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While going through various Bavarian records, I came across this entry:

The awards are:

a) Bavarian

Landwehr DA I & II

Prinz-Regent-Luitpold-Medaille

Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class with Swords (BMV4X)

b) Non-Bavarian

Prussian Red Eagle Order IV. Class

Knight II. Class of the Oldenburg House and Merit Order with Swords [with an erroneous IV. Class in there]

Iron Cross II. Class

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Another Kriegsrangliste entry to the same person, only whoever wrote it made the same mistake as in the previous record and called the OV3bX both a "Knight 2nd Class" and a "4th Class", but added to the mistake by splitting the award into two sections.

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Finally, another Kriegsrangliste entry, showing the RAO4, LD1, PRLM and the Oldenburg order, only this time with swords. As you can see, the wartime BMV4X and EK2 aren't there, as this rank list entry was created before those awards were made.

The awards are to Rittmeister der Reserve Robert Ludwig von Ranke of the 2. Schw. Reiter Regiment. I called this a "mini-mystery" because I don't think there's any doubt that his Oldenburg House Order was without swords. Among other things, he doesn't have the Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross. He also has no Oldenburg connection. The von Rankes to which he belonged were Bavarians and he only became "von Ranke" in 1893 when his father's personal nobility was made hereditary. And Rittm. von Ranke served with Bavarian units during the war.

The mini-mystery is that his 1914 ranklist doesn't show the OV3b, and Ferry W. von Péter's list of non-Bavarian awards to Bavarians in World War I doesn't list it. My guess is that it was gazetted in 1914 after the ranklist was published, but not included in the Bavarian volume because v. Péter missed it. This may be because v. Péter's book was on awards to Bavarian military personnel, and Robert von Ranke probably received the award right around the time the war broke out for his civilian job. Until August 1914, he was a German consul and deputy general consul in London, and had to leave England pretty quickly.

The second part of the mini-mystery is why someone added swords at some point and no one caught or corrected the error. Makes me wonder whether there are other similar errors.

Also one bit of trivia: through his sister's marriage to an Englishman, Robert von Ranke is the uncle of Robert von Ranke Graves, also known as just Robert Graves, the author of I, Claudius.

Regards,

Dave

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