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a '14 ek1 with a small mystery

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over the course of collecting and studying the iron cross (particularly 1914 ek1s) i have noticed crosses with a small hole drilled in the upper frame, but have never really been able to establish why or when or for what specific reason this was done. we probably will never know for sure why this was done, but i have seen enough examples to start a thread for discussion

i'll start it with this cross, which i would like like a little bit of help with... i don't have access to ranklists or rolls, and would like to know a bit more about the recipient--any help would be greatly appreciated!

core shows quite a bit of wear, upper frame with hole

reverse is engraved with catch snipped, engraving seems to have been completed over three separate occasions


the person i obtained this from stated that cross was attached to a bracelet that also had two bavarian thalers or tokens with protective saints on the reverse dating from 1767 and 1866; unfortunately i was unable to acquire it.

the 2nd royal bavarian heavy cavalry regiment "ferdinand archduke of austria-este" was a prestigious regiment that had an interesting history during the first world war, in that it was one of the few divisions that remained mounted through the end of the war and also during the conflicts with the bolsheviks of 1919! it fought on both the western and eastern fronts and remained very loyal to the crown right up to feb. 1919.

the date on the cross coincides with general of cavalry otto von stettin's takeover of the regiment , and with a recruitment drive, as the regiment had suffered heavy losses.

ok, back to the question of the hole. here are a few other examples of crosses that share this peculiar attribute:


and here


and here is another example (catch is also snipped off)


any interest or observations for this subject? was it a fad or short-lived tradition, and for who?

Edited by Eric Stahlhut
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Wilhelm Weber, born 1883

Leutnant 08.03.05

Oberleutnant 28.10.12

Rittmeister 14.01.16

charakterisiert major aD, alive 1926

In April 1916 he had: BMV4X, EK2, and 1905 Luitpold Jubilee mEdal. I have an ancient pencilled note that he was on the staff of Heeresgruppe Kronprinz Rupprecht in 1916... but seems to have never even gotten a crown to his BMV4X.

I understand that ancestrydotcom sells access to Bavarian army records these days.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Weber has more than a dozen different Kriegsrangliste entries as he kept changing units. Here is a summary to add to what Rick previously provided:

- born 14.10.1883 in Augsburg, son of OTLaD Wilhelm Weber and Maria née Zell

2.4.03 3-Jähr.-Frw. u. Fahnenjunker beim 2.schw. Reit.-Rgt.
1.7.03 Uffz.
28.10.03 Fähnrich
You have his other prewar promotions from Rick
2.8.14-1.4.15 Ordonnanz-Offizer bei d. 1. bayer. Kav.-Brig.
1.4.15-7.4.15 wegen chronisch Magenkatarrh im Feldlazarett Wieballen
7.4.15-15.4.15 Reserve-Lazarett Kolzin
18.4.15-1.7.15 in ambulante Behandlung im Res.-Laz. A München
1.7.15-1.8.15 zu Kurzwecken nach Bad Kissingen beurlaubt
1.8.15 z. Ers.Esk. 2.schw. Reit.-Rgt.
15.11.15 als Ordonnanz-Offizer z. Division v. Hartz
1.1.16 z. Ers.Esk. 2.schw. Reit.-Rgt.
14.1.16 Rittm.
15.1.16 z. 2. bayer. Ldw.-Esk.
12.3.16 z. bayer. Res.-Kav.-Rgt. Nr. 5
10.8.16 Ordonnanz-Offizer beim Armeeoberkommando 6
19.9.16 z. Rgt. zurück
10.10.16 z. bayer. Res.-Kav.-Schützen-Rgt. Nr. 5
14.10.17-15.11.17 z. Gkdo.z.b.V. 64 kdrt.
3.12.17-1.1.18 z. Art.-Kdr. 23 kdrt.
24.12.17 z. 15. bayer. Inf.Div. versetzt u. als Gen.St. Anwärter überplanmäßig zugeteilt
9.1.18 wegen Gefechtsneuralgie in das Res.-Laz. A München im ambulante Behandlung aufgenommen
10.1.18-8.2.18 zum 6.Gen.-St.-Kursus Sedan kdrt., Kdo. infolge Erkrankung aufgehoben
4.5.18 Luxation d. r. Gr. Zehe (Fraktur) durch Sturz mit Pferde
30.6.18 Lazarettbehandlung wegen Bandagierung am Fuß
6.7.18 bei 15. bayer. Inf.Div. wieder eingetroffen
7.7.18 4-wöchige Urlaub z. Wiederherstellung der Krankheit
4.8.18 im Urlaub krank gemeldet (Bandagierung am Fuß)
9.7.18 in ambulante Behandlung im Res.-Laz. D
11.9.18 Zuteilung z 15. bayer. Inf.Div. aufgehoben
18.10.18 unter Versetzung z. 5./1.schw. Reit.-Rgt. zur Dienstl. zum Kriegsministerium kdrt. u. beim Kriegsamt zugeteilt
The date in his file for the EK1 is 5.2.17. Bavarians typically have up to three different award dates for EKs: the date it was actually awarded, the date officially awarded by the King of Prussia (or his delegated subordinates), and the date the King of Bavaria granted permission to accept the award.
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mr. danner,

thank you for the time and effort involved in forwarding information regarding this chap. hopefully i can return the favor at some point in the future!

he seems to have had a busy time as an ordnance officer, and a rough time of it as well, based on the notes regarding his various ailments.

best regards, eric

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a thought... a wild guess....

as the cavalry trot around on their Jolly Jumpers, I am sure an iron cross or two was bounced out of its loops and lost on the parade ground, along the road or wherever. However, with the small hole you could theoretically sew a security thread to the tunic, and stop it slipping out of the loops when the horse was trotting?

Just a thought...

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hiya chris,

that's a decent wild guess, and i follow your logic--but if you take a peek at glenn r's example (shown above in last link of first post), you will notice that his guy was in the infantry.

i have a feeling that these holes were done after the owner was obligated to wear the award on a daily basis--hence the altered reverses.

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