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Háborús Emlékérem

Commemorative War Medal

Instituted on May 26, 1929 by the Hungarian regent Admiral Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya to commemorate Hungarian subjects who participated and fell during the Great Wart. Medal’s statute was finalized only on November 14, 1929 and gazetted two days later in the official publication of the Hungarian Ministry of Defence, “Honvédségi Közlöny” (“Military Bulletin”). Awards presentation started early next year.

Commemorative War Medal was awarded to military personnel regardless of rank and status, frontline soldiers and non-combatants, wounded and disabled war veterans, medical personnel and awardees of the Red Cross badges, ex-POWs, relatives of KIA. Civilians who worked at homefront and those participated in Hungarian Soviet Republic defeat in summer and fall 1919 were also eligible for this medal.

Documents verifying participation in the Great War had to be presented to military authorities and in case of their absence one had to enlist support of two reliable witnesses.

Central Powers military personnel who fought alongside Hungarians during the Great War had to apply for the medal. Foreigners received award in envelope that also contained certificate and miniature after verification and reimbursement worth 15 pengő.

Medal had to be purchased privately in licensed outlets upon presentation of approval letter. Reimbursement fees depended on status of the awardee – officer had to pay 6 pengő, other ranks – 3 pengő, next-of-kin – 2 pengő. Nevertheless levy could have been lifted by a decree of the Minister of defence due to exceptional circumstances.

Outlets distributed medals wrapped in filigree exactly as they came from the mint. No boxes or envelopes were provided.

Commemeorative War medal was instituted in two classes – for frontline soldiers and war participants, i.e. non-combatants. These variants different in obverse and reverse design as well as in ribbon colors.

In case an applicant was eligible for both classes he received Commemorative War medal for frontline soldiers.

Medal was designed by famous Hungarian sculptor Kisfaludi Strobl Zsigmond (01.07.1884 – 14.08.1975) who was Great War participant himself.

Circular 37 mm medal with laterally-pierced loop for ribbon suspension was made of bronze with silver finish and was 3 mm thick. It was worn on the left breast suspended by the traditional Austrian triangular ribbon while women wore it on a bow.

1. Commemorative War medal for frontline soldiers (Haborús Emlékérem kardokkal és sisakkal).

Obverse had crowned arms of Hungary imposed on crossed swords within a wreath of laurel and oak.

Reverse had an image of German M16 steel helmet facing left above the dates “1914-1918”. Latin inscription “Pro Deo Et Patria” (“For God and Fatherland”) was on the upper part while two laurel leaves at the bottom tied at the base by a ribbon tie.

40 mm wide ribbon of a Commemorative War medal for frontline soldiers was white with two wide vertical red stripes close to edges and thin horizontal green stripes placed between red ones.

Special combat clasp in form of two silvered crossed swords could be applied to the ribbon bar.

2. Commemorative War medal for noncombatants (Haborús Emlékérem kardok és sisak nélkül).

Obverse had crowned arms of Hungary within a wreath of laurel and oak. Crossed swords were missing.

Reverse had the dates “1914-1918” in the centre, Latin inscription “Pro Deo Et Patria” (“For God and Fatherland”) on its upper part and two laurel leaves at the bottom tied at the base by a ribbon tie. Steel helmet image was missing.

40 mm wide ribbon of a Commemorative War medal for noncombatants was white with two wide red stripes close to edges and two wide green stripes between them.

Miniatures of this medal with a wide clip on reverse were also issued, their design followed obverse of the respective class.

Disabled Great War veterans were decorated with a special badge.

Disabled War Veteran Badge (Háborús Emlékérmek Hadirokkant jelvénnyel) was instituted in 1931 and was attached to the central part of the ribbon of Commemorative War medal of both classes.

Circular 22 mm badge made of gilt copper was topped with a Holy Crown of Hungary (Magyar Szent Korona). Its central medallion had two letters “HR” (standing for “Háború Rokkantság”, i.e. “Disabled War Veteran”) within a laurel wreath  tied at the base by a ribbon tie.

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Commemorative war medal 1

 

Commemorative war medal 2