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Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918

Provincial Commemorative Medal 1914-1918

Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918, also known as “Errinnerungsmedaille für die Landesverteidigung von Tirol 1914-1918” in Germany, was instituted on February 07, 1928 by the Provincial Law of Tyrol (Tiroler Landesgesetz) promulgated by the Landtag, or Provincial parliament of Tyrol. Statutory provisions were published in the 28th Bulletin of laws and decrees of Tyrol published on June 23, 1928 (Landes-Gesetz- und Verordnungsblatt für Tirol, IX. Stück, 23. Juni 1928, Nr. 28). All Great War participants being Tyrol residents as of November 01, 1918 as well as those who participated in defending of Tyrol area between 1915 and 1918 were made eligible for decoration with that medal. Institution of Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918 was intended to stress succession of traditions of frontline Tyrol soldiers who fought during the wars of 1796-97, 1848, 1859 and 1866. Pretenders to obtain the medal had to pay duty worth 2 Schillings that were transferred to the Provincial War Victims Fund (Landes-Kriegsopferfond).

List of veterans eligible for decoration was subsequently extended time and again. Thus, Decree of May 05, 1930 stipulated that female population of Tyrol that suffered from the hostilities as well as women who served in the infectious diseases hospitals and with the Railways office could also be decorated with the Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918. On August 28, 1930 statute was changed once again to allow decoration of veterans from the Western Austrian province Vorarlberg, and on November 21, 1931 it was stated that officers from the former k.u.k. Kaiserjäger and k.u.k. Standschützen units as well as officers from Tiroler und Vorarlberger Gebiergsartillerie Regiment “Kaiser” Nr.14 who hadn’t participated in the defense of the Tyrol area because of internment as POWs were made eligible for decoration with the Provincial Commemorative Medal 1914-1918. According to the Decree of February 27, 1932, decoration was extended to civilians who fought during the Great War and were holders of Imperial awards. The last change of the statute occurred on May 30, 1935, when a Decree of November 21, 1931 had been changed to embrace not only officers, but enlisted ranks from the units mentioned above who were stationed in the military district of Tyrol and fought in the bloody Battles of the Isonzo on Italian Front.     

Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918 was awarded until March 1940, and 120,000 veterans approximately were issued with the medal by that date.

Those eligible for decoration were issued with the award certificate that bore facsimile of the Landeshauptmann, i.e. head of the Tyrol government, viz. Franz Stumpf (07.06.1921-28.02.1935) and Josef Schumacher (21.03.1935-12.03.1938). Award certificates printed after the Anschluss bore facsimile of Franz Hofer who filled posts of Landeshauptmann and NSDAP-Gauleiter of Tirol-Vorarlberg.

Provincial Commemorative Medal 1914 1918 photoDesign of the medal was elaborated by Dr.Gotthard Freiherr von An der Lan (17.06.1872-16.03.1934), Major and former commander of the k.u.k. Standschützen Bataillon Innsbruck I, later Landesoberschützenmeister of Tyrol. Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918 was engraved by the Vienna-based medalist Josef Tautenhayn der Jüngere (10.09.1868-08.02.1962).

An obverse showed coat of arms of Tyrol, an eagle with outstretched wings topped with a crown and facing left. Open-ended at the bottom laurel wreath was situated above the head of a Tyrolean eagle. An image described above is encircled with an ornamental design made of short dashes.

A reverse bore an inscription in capital letters running in seven horizontal lines: “The Tyrol Province to Defenders of the Homeland 1914-1918” (“Das Land Tirol den Verteidigern des Vaterlandes 1914-1918”). Hallmark of the engraver, initials “TJ”, was placed at the bottom of an inscription in much smaller script. The legend was encircled with the wide oak wreath tied at the base by a ribbon tie and an ornamental design made of raised dots.

Circular medal measuring 34 mm in diameter and weighing 18,2 g was made of Tombac (an alloy made of 85% copper and 15% zinc) and had a laterally-pierced cylinder for ribbon suspension.

Miniatures of the Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918 measuring 16 mm in diameter were manufactured of bronze and had the same design, save engraver’s hallmark.

The major batch of medals were produced at the Vienna State Mint, while the remaining were minted in Germany and the Sudetenland. 

Landesdenkmünze 1914-1918 was worn suspended from a traditional Austrian triangular medal bar on the left part of the tunic. The ribbon of Tyrolean colors was made of the 40 mm wide white silk with the wide central red stripe and two thin green stripes at its edges.

Unofficial “combat device” in the shape of two gilt crossed swords pointing upwards was sometimes attached to the ribbon by former frontline soldiers to distinguish themselves from other recipients of the decoration.   

Provincial Commemorative Medal 1914 1918