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Медал за участие в Европейската война (1915-1918)

European War Commemorative Medal (1915-1918)

European War Commemorative Medal was instituted in three classes on December 09, 1933 by the Decree No.9 of the Bulgarian Tsar Boris III to commemorate participation of his subjects in the Great War. It was issued to all WWI veterans including military personnel, non-combatants (mainly medics, war journalists and civilians) and relatives of KIAs. Former officers, NCOs and soldiers from Central Powers armies were also eligible for decoration.

An obverse showed crowned Bulgarian coat of arms imposed on crossed swords and flanked by laurel and oak branches. Dates of the Bulgarian participation in the Great War (“1915-1918”) in two lines were situated in the centre of a reverse encircled by a wreath of wheat, laurel, oak and roses that symbolized Macedonia, Thrace and Moesia as historical Bulgarian lands.

Classes of European War Commemorative Medal differed in type of ribbon only. It was made of 39 mm wide silk and followed colors of the Bulgarian flag. Thus, ribbon for military personnel was red with thin white-green-white stripes at its edges. That for non-combatants had an additional central thin white vertical stripe, while that for KIA relatives had central stripe of black color.

Former front-fighters tend to attach gilt crossed swords to the triangular mounted medal bar thus demonstrating combat nature of a decoration.

European War Commemorative Medal was available for purchase by foreign veterans that had to pay duty worth Lev200 for officers (6,00 Marks approximately) and Lev150 for lower ranks.

Circular medal was 32,1 mm in diameter and was made of gilt bronze. Depending on a manufacturer it differed in thickness and minor details. The first three lots comprising of 30,000 pieces were struck in Germany by the Lüdenscheid-based company “Gebrüder Gloerfeld”. 59,000 slightly thicker medals were manufactured by the Swiss company “Huguenin Gebr.&Co.” in 1937. Small number of medals were produced in Bulgaria itself by the Sofia-based manufacturer Бердж Керестеджиев. Another German company from Pforzheim, “Otto Shiсkle” struck 60,000 medals in 1939.

Medals of all classes were presented in a rectangular red envelope of single design. It had an image of the medal, dates “1915-1918.” below and motto “Be proud of this Bulgarian medal and always stand up for dignity of Bulgaria”.

Commemorative Medal for the European War was awarded until December 31, 1939 but certificates dated as late as 1941 are also known to exist. Totally 50,000 pieces approximately were awarded to Bulgarian subjects and roughly 199,000 were issued to foreigners, mainly Germans, Austrians and Hungarians.

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