Dienstauszeichnungen Modell 1849

Long Service Awards of 1849 issue

Long Service Awards of the second and last type were instituted on March 16, 1849 by Friedrich Wilhelm I (20.08.1802-06.01.1875), the last Prince-elector of the Electorate of Hesse-Cassel, who reigned from 1847 until 1866, up to the annexation of the state by Prussia and its incorporation into the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau with Cassel as its capital city on October 03, 1866. Long Service Awards of 1849 issue replaced previous decorations in shape of crosses instituted on August 19, 1835 and presented for 10, 15 and 20 years of impeccable service, viz. Dienstauszeichnungs-Kreuz für Unterofficiere und Soldaten. Friedrich Wilhelm I instituted Long Service Cross (Dienstauszeichnungskreuz) by the same decree as well. The latter was presented to officers who served 25 years in the army of Hesse-Cassel. It’s not hard to see that  Long Service Awards of the Electorate were designed after similar awards of the Kingdom of Prussia instituted in 1825 by Friedrich Wilhelm III.

Dienstauszeichnung für Unterofficiere

Long Service Award for Non-Commissioned Officers

Dienstauszeichnung für Unterofficiere introduced in 1849 in three classes were awarded upon recommendations issued by commanding officers to NCOs on military active duty only who have served 21, 15 and 9 years. Unlike Long Service Crosses for NCOs and Enlisted Personnel of 1835 issue mentioned above, new awards were not presented to such categories as garrison troops, gendarmerie personnel and veterans assigned to the Invalid House. However, Long Service Awards received prior to 1849 were allowed to be worn.

Decorations with Dienstauszeichnung für Unterofficiere were held annually on August 20, being timed to the birthday of the Prince-elector Friedrich Wilhelm I.

According to statute of the decoration, only one Long Service Award for NCOs could be worn, so holder of the badge had to replace his Dienstauszeichnung 3.Klasse with that of the 2nd class for fifteen years of military service, and finally Award of the 2nd class with that of the highest class. Simultaneous wearing of two Long Service Awards for NCOs was prohibited. The badge had to be returned to regimental headquarters after the demise of its holder. As for the award certificate, it was kept by the family of the deceased veteran.

Long Service Award for NCOs had a shape of a stiffened metal plate measuring 40x40 mm approximately covered with a silk woven ribbon. A horizontal rectangular clasp ca. 11,5х42,5-42,6 mm with a double border and pebbled surface was attached to an obverse. That clasp bore centered cipher of Friedrich Wilhelm I, “F.W.” in capital Gothic letters and Roman numeral “I.”. Badges weighed 4-5,1 g approximately.    

A ribbon was made of crimson silk with thin vertical stripes at its edges, yellow for the Dienstauszeichnung für Unterofficiere 1.Klasse, white for the 2nd class and black for the 3rd class. Depending on a class of the decoration, clasps were manufactured of gilt silver (1st class), silver (2nd class) or blackened magnetic iron with silver polished border (3rd class).

Reverses of horizontal clasps bore rectangular mintmark of award designer, medalist and sculptor Gustav Kaupert (04.04.1819-04.12.1897) – “Kaupert”, executed in capital letters.

Long Service Award for NCOs was worn on the left side of the tunic below medals and was attached to uniform with horizontal pin and catching hook soldered to reverse of horizontal clasp.


Long Service Cross

Long Service Cross for officers who served 25 years in the Hesse-Cassel army was instituted by the Prince-elector Friedrich Wilhelm I on March 16, 1849. Its design was obviously based on that of the Prussian Dienstauszeichnung für Offiziere instituted by the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm III on June 18, 1825.

Dienstauszeichnungskreuz had a shape of an equilateral cross pattée with pebbled surface and raised polished borders. Circular medallion with double raised border was superimposed on a centre of the cross. Its obverse bore cipher of Friedrich Wilhelm I in two lines (“F.W.” in capital Gothic letters and Roman “I”) topped with the crown of the Electorate of Hesse-Cassel. Reverse of medallion had Roman numeral “XXV.” standing for twenty five years of active military service.

Long Service Cross was manufactured of gilt bronze, gilt silver and even pure gold. It was worn on the left side of the tunic suspended from a silk crimson ribbon with two thin yellow stripes at edges.

Long Service Awards 1849 1