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Erinnerungsabzeichen für Marine-Flugzeugführer und Beobachter, a.k.a. Marineflieger-Erinnerungs-Abzeichen

Naval Aviation Pilot and Observer Commemorative Badge

Naval Aviation Pilot and Observer Commemorative Badge was instituted on October 26, 1916 by the King of Prussia and the Emperor of the German Empire Wilhelm II. Official announcement was published in the Paragraph 231 of the Navy Regulations Gazette (Marine-Verordnungsblatt) No.25, issued on November 01, 1916.

Erinnerungsabzeichen für Marine-Flugzeugführer und Beobachter was issued to retired pilots and observers of the Naval aviation who had completed at least three years of air service and no longer conducted active flight duties or had been injured. Above mentioned aviators enjoyed the right to retain their qualification badges, i.e. Naval Aviation Land Pilot’s Badge, Naval Aviation See Pilot’s Badge and Naval Observer’s Badge but were allowed to wear Naval Aviation Pilot and Observer Commemorative Badge only.

Erinnerungsabzeichen für Marine-Flugzeugführer und Beobachter of a cut-out design had a shape of a vertical oval with an outside perimeter surrounded by a wide wreath. Its left side had laurel leaves symbolizing victory and its right side had oak leaves standing for strength and hardiness. Both were joined together with a ribbon bow at the bottom thus signifying combination of those two qualities. Imperial crown topped the badge. The centre of the badge carried an image of an eagle hovering above a rocky island. Depending on manufacturer, Naval Aviation Pilot and Observer Commemorative Badge differed in design dramatically, e.g. in the general shape of an eagle (hovering and outstretched wings styles), position of its head, wings and limbs, etc. Imperial crown was either cut-out or solid. Anti-snag loop soldered to the reverse of the crown cross was characteristic to badges manufactured by the Berlin-based firm of the court jeweler Hugo Schaper (1844-1915).

Dimensions of the badge depended entirely on manufacturer. Thus, slightly smaller and highly popular at the beginning of the XXth century “Prinzengröße” versions of the decoration measured 53-55х33-43 mm and weighed 9,52-17,59 g.

Erinnerungsabzeichen für Marine-Flugzeugführer und Beobachter was made of gilt silver, as it was stipulated in the Order, and was worn on or below the left breast pocket of the tunic. It was attached with a vertical pin and catching hook soldered to its reverse. Quite peculiar non-regulation variant of wearing that decoration on mounted medal bar is known to exist: “Prinzengröße” badge without pin was attached to the silk ribbon of the national German flag, i.e. tricolor made of three vertical stripes, black, white and red.

Contradictory to the official Weimar-era sentiments, Marineflieger-Erinnerungs-Abzeichen in its original design, i.e. with the outlawed Imperial crown was awarded even after the Great War, thus allowing veteran aviators and observers to obtain just reward and collect their long desired commemorative decoration. The badges were produced by several manufacturers until the end of the WWII and were available for private purchase by former aviators upon presentation of an award document.

Naval Aviation Pilot and Observer Commemorative Badge 1