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Carl Eduard-Kriegskreuz

Carl Eduard War Cross

Carl Eduard-Kriegskreuz was instituted on July 19, 1916 in one class only by the last reigning ruler of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Carl Eduard Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (Leopold Charles Edward George Albert, 19.07.1884-06.03.1954) who reigned from July 30, 1900 until November 14, 1918. Carl Eduard War Cross was issued to the subjects of the Duchy regardless of their descent, social status, military rank and position. Holders of decoration were mainly officers, NCOs and lower ranks of the 6.Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.95 recognized for their military merits and bravery in battles of the Great War. However, besides citizenship of the Duchy, each recipient had to be the holder of the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class. Non-subjects were also eligible for decoration but such exceptions were to be personally approved by Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha.

After demise of the holder of Carl Eduard-Kriegskreuz decoration was kept by the closest relatives of the deceased as a token of remembrance and was not to be returned to issuing authorities.

Award had a shape of the wide Maltese cross with polished edges and pebbled surface. Round medallion with double raised polished border and pebbled surface was superimposed on the centre. Its obverse bore cipher of Carl Eduard, capital Gothic letters “CE” topped with the Ducal crown. Saxon coat of arms was situated on reverse of a medallion, encircled with a wide rim bearing a Latin motto in capital letters: “Faithfully and Firmly” (“Fideliter et Constanter”) and hexagram at the bottom. Thin green enameled laurel wreath closed at the top was superimposed on the cross. No hallmarks were found on decorations.

Pin-backed Carl Eduard-Kriegskreuz was worn at the lower left part of the tunic next to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class and was attached with a wide vertical pin and catching hook soldered to reverse of upper and lower arms of the cross.

The very first official consignment of silver crosses measuring 42x42 mm and weighing 28,4 g was manufactured by the court jeweler firm “Bury & Leonhard, Hanau”. In the Weimar-era Germany decorations were minted of  silvered bronze by the Berlin-based “Paul Meybauer Militär-Effekten und Orden-Fabrik”. Post-war crosses  measuring 42x42 mm and weighing 20,8 g were purchased by veterans from their own expenses as duplicates upon presentation of award documents.

Two unique pieces manufactured by the court jeweler Willy Ganssen were presented to the Duke Carl Eduard himself and commander of the 6.Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.95, Oberst Fritz Karl von Selle (15.10.1868-25.05.1947), since August 27, 1939 honorary Lieutenant General. Those silver crosses, also measuring 42x42 mm, had gold medallion and were incrusted with 83 diamonds each. The latter were fixed into medallion border, cipher, ducal crown, laurel wreath and Saxon coat of arms.

Carl Eduard-Kriegskreuz was awarded from July 19, 1916 until 1918. As only 97 decorations were presented during the WWI and its prestige was never diminished, Carl Eduard War Cross is considered to be one of the scarcest awards of the Great War. 

Carl Eduard War Cross 01