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Cut To The Bone: The Master Speaks from the Beyond...

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From Rick on the island of no internet access......and lost toys

Cut To The Bone...

"This one came to the house in October to visit.

There are a number of reasons why one sometimes encounters stripped medal bars. The GOOD reason would have been that the original recipients' next of kin dutifully returned all the awards that were required to be legally sent back and....kept whatever was left. One BAD reason is that the bar was neglected and fell victim to damp...or the nibbling of small rodents and was "harvested". Another VERY BAD reason all too often involves "collectors" (actually jackals) ripping things apart because they want either single pieces or to sell items for a higher price.

There is no way to tell which THIS medal bar was ...until researching it.

The ribbons are in decent condition.

1. Some grade of Brunswick House Order. From the position of the 'ghost' ring, probably a merit cross in either gold or silver...either of which could have had swords from 1870 or 1866.

2. A Brunswick long service award. From the rest of the bar- almost certainly an officers' 25 year cross, rather than the NCO's version.

3. Prussian EK2 (1870) on non-combatant ribbon. THIS one bears a "nub" on top of the upper arms ' edge which my late guru (George Seymour) always associated mainly with the Brunswick groups. For some reason this one does not have the jump ring sodered to that "Brunswick nub". the small ring , instead, is fore-and-aft through a hole (which appears made that way) through the flat rim of the upper arm.

4. Prussian Crown order ribbon.....or other things? Note the "ghost ring".

5. A dark green ribbon. Hmmmmmmmm.......In another bar with other awards any number of interesting things could have been possible. BUT, on a Brunswick medal bar, the insanely RARE Brunswick Lifesaving Medal (always found in such precedence=sigh=) is not only logical...but the original suspension and "bar" are still there! The medal was twisted off like a coin! ARGHHH!!!!!!

6. The 1870/71 war medal. Ribbon for combatants and (illogically) regular stay-at-homes. The medal present, which is nickled brass- NOT the original steel, would indicate a stay-at-home who never crossed the frontier.

So we have a non-combatant Brunswicker, vet. of 1870/71. That narrows it down phenominally...once every holder of the noncom. EK2 is reviewed and checked (twice) from the 1877 orders list supplement. There were only 4,097 awarded."

(stay tuned-next installment tonight-please refrain from comments until I finish the next 3 pages-Ta!)

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"For some reason, there seems to have been a definite prejudice against Brunswickers receiving the 1870 EK. In the case of the "white-black" ribboned ones.......after a long, slow, tedious verifying of less than a dozen potential recipients...REALLY a prejudice against brunswickers. There were far more awarded to the more recently occupied Hanovarians and hessen-Nassauers.

The NEXT step in this process, of course, was to compare the EK2w suspects with recipients of the prussian Crown Order-for that is what ribbon 5 was. Hurs and hours and hours were spent hunched over Gothic typeface, flipping slowly and carefully through old Ordenslisten.

Bingo! ONE suspect with an EK2w, KO4 and a Brunswick service...ONE! But ..alas, Brunswicks' forces were 'independent' until the Military Convention of 1886-even under Prussian occupation and 'regency'. I do not have ANY Brunswick sources before World War One. The only available list of Brunswick Lifesaving Medal holders I have ever seen dates from 1915...in that years' Court and Staat Handbook. But 'my' suspect wasn't in it.

He was dead.

This is a post-mortem bar."

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...." For some reason I can only be thankful for, over more than 100 years this bar AS IT IS was kept decently after all returnable decorations had been dispatched to the Orders chanceries.

This is what the medal bar would have looked like, insofar as I can recreate it, in late 1885-90.

The Brunswick Lifesaving medal here is a fake-nicely 'hallmarked' on the rim too. Remember, these are INSANELY rare . It rides a little high because it has to be slipped OVER the original's suspension clip and ring.

The recipient was (drum roll here)........

Hussar Regiment 17's Regiment's Pferdarzt and Ober-Rossarzt....Heinrich Theodor Gottlieb Daubenkropf.

He attended the Prussian School of Veterinary Medicine in 1850-1854. The Berlin Frei Universiaet maintains an on-line album and there, miracle of miracles, Daubenkorpf's portrait photo in uniform from 1860 can be found.

Draubenkropf served as regimental veterinarian from 1857 until retiring in April of 1885.

This is where the tale gets really interesting......."

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continued (4)......

......"Daubenkropf is NOT listed in Brunswicks' 1902 Court and Staat Handbook, so he was dead before then. The absence of the 1897 Wilhelm 1 Centenary medal suggests either he was dead before that date, OR he had the awards he did not want to reuse (but saved) remounted.

In 1905 however, the prussians' Orders List (newest edition for all living award holders since 1895) STILL listed him as "Stabsveternaer aD in Braunschweig. Apparently Prussian Orders Chancery had not ...yet..heard of his death. In my transcription of German award rolls, marginal notes often reveal returns made many years after a recipient's death.

In 1877 Ober-Rossarzt Daubenkropf held only the EK2w and the BrRm (did I mention only 79 were awarded between 1869 and 1913?) . He would have earned his Brunswick 25 year Service cross in 1882, just before the medal was abolished. His KO was bestowed on January 18, 1884.

Hussar regiment 17 is of course the famous "Death's Head" Hussars- or the 'Black Hussars", which were the inspiration-some say- of the Allgemeine SS's unforms.

(Note by Ulsterman): I suspect cousin Rick may be wrong about the good Rossarzts' not ever being in France in 1870-71. The 17th Hussars were in a number of battles -notably Mars le Tour. I suspect if I can locate the Geschcihte of Husar Regt 17, we will find he was there. Finis

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A great story of this bar, the research into the discovery of the medals and the recipient. I hardly know where to start with my questions and comments because I'm not sure if there is more to come in this installment.

Please keep updates and developments coming!

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