Due to my interest in the Hungarian vitéz order I bought this document. It is a diploma for participating in a course for land management that was given to members of the order – who also would receive a gift of land as part of the order.
With it came another document. The certifacte for participation in the (re)annexation of Transylvania in 1941. By that time he was a reserve sergeant and aged 51!
Researching him in the 1939 vitéz yearbook gives an overview of his medal entitlement. The second document is key for confirming it is as the name is extremely common in Hungary but it gives his year of birth, 1890, and his domicile, Gyoma.
A short translation of the info: Sergeant-Major in the 48th KuK Infantry Regiment with the following medal entitlement: Silver Bravery Medal 1st class (O1) with 3 bars, Silver Bravery Medal 2nd class (O2) with 2 bars and Bronze Bravery Medal, Karltroop Cross and Wound Medal with 3 stripes.
So 4 times (1 award and 3 bars) of the Silver Bravery Medal 1st class. The highest amount of these in the entire Honvéd part of the Austro-Hungarian army was 3 times and that only once!
Example of a Silver Bravery Medal 1st class (Emperor Karl version) with a device for 3 repeated awards! A repeat of 3 in silver is extremely rare if original!
And 3 times (1 award and 2 bars) of the Silver Bravery Medal 2nd class. In the entire Honvéd part of the Austro-Hungarian army there were only 189 such men!
The numbers of such entitlements for the entire Austro-Hungarian army are not known. The info above comes from this excellent website! But it can be guessed that this combination of 8 Bravery Medals is probably extremely rare and might be unique and certainly much rarer than a Golden Bravery Medal!
It is an honour to have these nice documents to a NCO with an absolutely unique entitlement!
A painting of a WW1 Hungarian Airforce 1st Lt. with a high level of decorations. The painting is dated 1938 and by the Hungarian artist Csermely János.
He wears the uniform of a Hussar with the additions of the flying balloon insignia. He looks in that respect very much like flying ace Szepessy Sokoll. He is often depicted in the same Hussar uniform but the medals do not fully match. The silver bravery medal first class is missing and the German cross that is visible on the painting left. The other medals are correct for him including the Iron Crown order he received posthumously also the rank is correct!
I think the officer probably died in WW1 and this painting is based on a photo and the medals are added with the info available to the painter. So it might be Szepessy-Sokoll only the medals are not complete?!
The level of decorations on the painting suggest that the officer is a very succesfull pilot, maybe even an ace. The Iron Crown order 3rd class was very rarely given to low ranking officers. Normally Lt-Col or above although in war cricumstances the actual acts of bravery or merit were leading. So in all likelyhood it is him with a misstake in the medals.
The name of this decoration tells exactly what it is, a cross for civilians that showed merit during war time assisting the Austro-Hungarian empire. The cross existed in four classes and could be awarded both to foreigners and citizens.
The third class was in silver, 2nd class gilded and 4th class bronze. The document are related to the 3rd class so a silver one as pictured above (photo from internet).
The documents in this blog are made out to a German police commisioner (Polizeirat) from Leipzig named Theodor Dix. And as it often happens with researching civilians that is where it more or less stops…
With the development of online research possibilities more and more sources are available. So maybe in the future I hope to extend this short blog.
So far only this showed up:
It states that Dix held a presentation for a society regarding “Use and succes of our Medical dogs on the battlefields. So my working hypothesis is that he was in his role of police commisioner involved in these sanitary dogs that were used by many armies at that time including the German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Photo’s below from the internet, not my collection.
Although Machine Guns were not new in the beginning of WW1 they were still quite rare in the Austro-Hungarian army with only 2.700 pieces in the entire army.
During the war the importance of the machinegun became clear and many new machineguns were produced and deliverd to the infantry but also to cavalry units (that often became dismounted) during the war and of course the mountain troops. By the end of the war more than 40.500 machineguns would be in use!
Machine gun units could be recognized by the specific collar badge as can be seen above (not my collection) and sometimes also by the clothing in the case of cavalry units as can be seen in the photo’s furher below.
Rare photo of a summer uniform in use including the machine gun unit insignia
Cavalry: KuK Dragoons and Honved Hussars
The cavalry units that became dismounted during the war and most often acted as regular infantry. They also had machinegun detachments in their regiments. The collar badge was the same as can be seen with the Huszar in the photo above. But the clothing could be different, specifically the jackets had some different versions.
Honved Cavalry Machinegun detachments Field Grey Fur Jacket being worn in the photo above and next to it a photo from the book The Emperor’s Coat describing this type of coat.
Dragoon officer of a Machinegun detachment with the regular Dragoon’s fur coat with white lambskin and not the black version.
Cavalry Machine Gun unit with a nice variation of all of the coats shown and discussed above! Both the Honvéd and the regular KuK cavalry versions
KUK IR 48 – Machinegun Instruction detachment
And as last picture from my collection the Belobende Anerkennung (Bronze Signum Laudis medal equivalent) or honorable acknowledgment for the Commander of a Machinegun Instruction unit of KuK Infantry Regiment 48, received when he left this command.
Sources: The Emperor’s Coat by Dr. Ortner
All period pictures and the paperwork are part of my collection