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The Dutch WW2 Commemorative Cross


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This interesting bronze cross was created on 16 March 1944. Its central obverse medallion shows Queen Wilhelmina surrounded by the text "VOOR KRIJGSVERRICHTINGEN" (For war operations). The design stems from the earlier 1869 Expedition Cross and the reverse is plain but for the manufacturer's data (F.S.Inv Kon. Begeer Voorschoten). It was awarded for participation in general war operations and/or specific war actions which were recognized by small-lettered bars on the ribbon. In total 12 such bars were instituted, five for general operations and seven for specific actions. Several of the latter can be worn on one medal but only one bar for general operations is allowed per recipient. The general operations bars are : KRIJG TER ZEE 1940-1945 (War at Sea) OORLOGSVLUCHTEN 1940-1945 (War Flights) OORLOGSDIENST KOOPVAARDIJ / 1940-1945 (War Service, Merchant Navy) OORLOGSDIENST VISSERIJ / 1940-1945 (War Service, Fishery) KRIJG TE LAND 1940-1945 (War on Land) The special actions bars are : NEDERLAND MEI 1940 NEDERLANDSCH INDI? / 1941-1942 (Dutch East-India, now Indonesia), also found as NEDERLANDS-INDI? / 1941-1942 JAVAZEE 1941-1942 NOORD AFRIKA - ITALI? 1941-1942, changed on 6 January 1948 to MIDDELANDSE ZEE / 1940-1945 ARNHEM - NIJMEGEN / WALCHEREN 1944 NORMANDI? 1944 OOST-AZI? - ZUID-PACIFIC / 1942-1945

Does anyone have a picture of the NEDERLANDS-INDI? / 1941-1942 or the NOORD AFRIKA - ITALI? 1941-1942 bars to post here ?

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Hendrik,

The NOORD AFRIKA - ITALI? 1941-1942 bar was never actually made. The first crosses were awarded mid 1948 and recipients of the 1944 "temporary award" only received their temporary brevet and a ribbon bar (the dark orange with dark green side edges I gave you a while back).

Cheers,

Erik

PS I tried to upload some pictures of different award documents for the OHK, but although the smallest was only 80 Kb I get: The total filespace required to upload all the attached files is greater than your per post or global limit. Please reduce the number of attachments or the size of the attachments. What's wrong?

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The limit per post for new people is 50K, that's why your 80s won't fit.

This is a good place, based on the scans above, for a couple of questions I've always had:

Why are modern Dutch awards SEWN to the front of ribbons, without any suspension ring? This seems a guarantee for awards to pull off and get lost! And what is with the bizarre inward facing "popsicle stick" prongs for miraculously attaching individual (???) medals to clothing by giant German style loops? This "squueeze and wrinkle" attachment system doesn't seem very logical-- especially if a ROW of awards are hanging together all mounted individually (???).

I once had quite a few of the old Expedition Crosses with pre-1914 bars (marvelous, evocative place names from the Netherlands Indies) and they hung on the ribbons in the way every other country's awards do, and had (as I recall, yes, it WAS that long ago) safety pin type fasteners on back.

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The limit per post for new people is 50K, that's why your 80s won't fit.

This is a good place, based on the scans above, for a couple of questions I've always had:

Why are modern Dutch awards SEWN to the front of ribbons, without any suspension ring? This seems a guarantee for awards to pull off and get lost! And what is with the bizarre inward facing "popsicle stick" prongs for miraculously attaching individual (???) medals to clothing by giant German style loops? This "squueeze and wrinkle" attachment system doesn't seem very logical-- especially if a ROW of awards are hanging together all mounted individually (???).

I once had quite a few of the old Expedition Crosses with pre-1914 bars (marvelous, evocative place names from the Netherlands Indies) and they hung on the ribbons in the way every other country's awards do, and had (as I recall, yes, it WAS that long ago) safety pin type fasteners on back.

Dear Rick,

The Prussian mounting style is in use since 1913. It protects the medals from rubbing against each other and also prevents from sticking all kinds of medals on a military uniform (you are only allowed to wear one row only, with a maximum of 16 medals). The 'old style' hanging from the ribbon is only used for civil uniforms and miniatures nowadays. Medals are by the way never mounted individually, but always as a group.

The only two medals which don't have a suspension ring are the War Commemorative Cross and the Decoration for Order and Peace and because they are sewn onto the ribbon, they are actually the only two medals which don't get lost easily. Suspension rings have a nasty habbit of breaking!

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The temporary ribbon, which was originally awarded till 1948. All crosses were actually only awarded after 1948!

The ribbon was, I think, probably manufactured by Spinks. The ribbon's colours are a lot darker than the final Dutch design.

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Hendrik's award document was awarded by the DE MINISTER VAN VERKEER EN WATERSTAAT (Secretary of State for Traffic and Water Control). There are also documents by the DE MINISTER OF OORLOG (State Secretary for War), DE MINISTER VAN OVERZEESE GEBIEDSDELEN (State Secretary for the Colonies) and the DE MINISTER VAN MARINE (State Secretary for the Navy).

Also there's a strange difference amongst documents awarded. Hendrik's award document has the place and date of birth of the recipient. While I found documents - from other dates - which only state the name and service number of the recipient.

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An interesting medal!

A question as to value. Does the amount of people who got a specific bar effect the value?

I assume there are many more Europe bars than Java ones... but maybe it is just as easy to order a Java bar than a Europe bar, giving them the same value?

All the best

Chris

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An interesting medal!

A question as to value. Does the amount of people who got a specific bar effect the value?

I assume there are many more Europe bars than Java ones... but maybe it is just as easy to order a Java bar than a Europe bar, giving them the same value?

All the best

Chris

Dear Chris,

Whatever you pay for a War Commemorative Cross these days is to much anyways. When I started collecting 15 years ago you could buy them for like 10/20 guilders (5-10 euro's). Nowadays you easily pay 40-75 euro's. But that aside...

The rarest clasp to the War Commemorative Cross is the "OORLOGSDIENST-VISSERIJ" (War Fishing Service) since only a handfull of Dutch fishing boats served at Allied side to keep the stumaches of the Allied Forces filled. And yes, that is generally a more expensive clasp to buy.

Other clasps that can be expensive are the "OORLOGSVLUCHTEN 1940-1945" (because its 'hot') and the "NORMANDI? 1944" and "ARNHEM-NIJMEGEN-WALCHEREN 1944" clasp. Also because they're wanted, not because they are so rare. The first clasp was awared to Dutch airmen serving with either the R.A.F., R.A.A.F. or F.A.A., but also to Dutch civil air line airmen who flew during the war. The last two clasps were merely awarded to the Dutch Prinsess Irene Brigade.

One particular clasp of interest: "KRIJG TE LAND 1940-1945", was also awarded to the members of the French S.A.S. unit (the 2nd and 3rd Regiment Chasseurs Parachutistes). They received a total of 467 of these crosses. Those who were decorated with a Dutch gallantry award did not receive the War Commemorative Cross.

This is also one of the most found clasps, since it was awarded to all who endured ground combat during the years 1940-1945, including to members of the underground resistance.

The story that the War Commemorative Cross (with clasp "NIJMEGEN, etc.") also was awarded to U.S. forces for the liberation of the Netherlands is total bullshit. It never was. The U.S. Units that helped liberating the Netherlands were awarded the so-called Orange Lanyard (which was awarded to the standards of the units and to all individual members of those units) and in one case (the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division) the standard (and the standard only!) was decorated with the 4th class knights cross of the Military Order of William.

Some individual members, most of the S.O.E. were awarded the Resistance Commemorative Cross in the early 1980's because of their involvement in covert operations in the Netherlands during the war and for training Dutch agents.

Actually, to get back on your question, it seems that it's easier to get your hands on naval clasps (like the one for the Java Sea) than on European mainland clasps. Don't forget: The Dutch navy was mainly stationed in the Indian Archipel! And the clasp "JAVAZEE 1941-1942" is not only for the famous battle, which occured there in the night of 27/28 February, 1942. But also for the period in front of that. It was thus awarded to a lot of merchant navy personnel. The only European mainland clasp found often is the clasp "NEDERLAND MEI 1940". The most frequently found clasp is "OORLOGSDIENST KOOPVAARDIJ 1940-1945" (Merchant Navy War Service 1940-1945)

Cheers,

Erik

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Are there certificate collectors? for me the documents with the clasps on them would be the more interessting thing to collect (I am a "paper guy" :-)

I know of only one certificate collector in the Netherlands, but of course most of us "metal" collectors won't leave a nice certificate in a merchants hand when it happens to cross our pad.

I have several OHK-documents myself, but all of them (except the temporary certificate shown above) are to merchant navy personnel.

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Hello Erik,

Welcome ! Great to see you joined up here !!! :beer:

Not even a specimen or drawing of it ever made ?

Cheers,

Hendrik

Not that I know of anyways! The record on the design of the War Commemorative Cross is placed in the Merchant Navy archive at the National Archive at The Hague. It only contains the sketch of the Cross itself and none of the clasps.

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Nice info for all of this guys.

My grandfather had been mobilised in february of 1940...

But never, never,never received the "Oorlogsherrinneringskruis" with Clasp "Nederland Mei 1940" (War Memorial Cross with clasp netherlands, may 1940.)

When I discovered this, I contacted the RIOP and a veterans organisation, applied for the Mobilisation WarCross. He deserved it certainly, but never received one.

I suppose this was due to the fact that one had to apply himself for it??

It's strange to see that our main decorations for WorldWar II, the Mobilisation WarCross and the ResistanceCommemorative Cross, were decorated to those who applied for it or were put forward by their family or aquintances.

Maybe could Erik shed a light on this topic?

P.s Still waiting for an answer of the MoD, section decorations.

My Grandfather has died already 20 years ago, but granny died a few months ago. Sadly that I will never be able to show her what her husband should have received!!!

But I will keep them in memorial of my grandfather.

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Jacky,

Your grandfather would only be eligble for the award of the OHK when he was serving with a unit that actually saw combat. Otherwise he would have been able to receive the Mobilisation War Cross. Minimum requirement (not in the Royal Decree) was a number of months that hat to be served.

From 1952 (1954?) till 1994 the awards of WW2-commemorative medals was closed. After 1994 it was possible to put in requests again. But one has to prove himself worthy of the award. The Department of Defence, nore the Chancellery will do any research into the ex-serviceman's records.

Cheers,

Erik

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