Gilt bronze cross pattée with stippled arms, with crossed swords between the arms, on scroll and laterally-pierced ball suspension; the face with a circular central medallion bearing a female head facing right representing the French Republic within a ring inscribed ‘REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE’ and decorated with laurel leaves below; the reverse with a circular central medallion dated ‘1939 / 1945’; on original ribbon with American brooch bar for wear; with a ribbon bar, the studs marked ‘MADE IN U.S.A.’.
The award was created on 26 September 1939, 23 days after the outbreak of World War II, and attributed to military personnel who received an individual citation for feats of arms. After the fall of France in the summer of 1940, Free French forces no longer had access to official supplies of the Cross (which bears the date ‘1939’ on the reverse). The French Vichy government produced versions dated ‘1939 1940’ and some examples were made locally in London but without the date on the reverse.
After the war, others, such as this example, were made unofficially and dated ‘1939 1945’ on the reverse.
This example is of American manufacture.