The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Officer (O.B.E.), Civil, 2nd type, since 1935 issue. Miniature silver-gilt cross patonce on Tudor crown suspension; the face with a circular central medallion imposed with the crowned head and shoulders portraits of King George V and Queen Mary facing left within a ring inscribed ‘FOR GOD AND THE EMPIRE’; the reverse with a circular central medallion with the crowned cipher of King and Emperor George V within a rope border; diameter 19.13mm (0.75 inch).
The Order was instituted by King George V on 4 June 1917 in five grades to acknowledge the service of non-combatants during wartime. In 1918 the Order was divided into Civil and Military divisions. This example is of the second type; prior to 1935, the Order has Britannia rather than King George V and Queen Mary on the face. Today the Order is awarded for distinguished service in any sphere of activity and honorary awards may be made to foreigners.
Order of the Crown of Italy, knight (Ordine della Corono d’Italia, cavaliere). Miniature gold-edged white enamel cross pattée with gold knots between the arms, on laterally-pierced loop for ribbon suspension; the face with a circular central deep blue enamel medallion bearing the crown of Savoy with red, white and green jewels; the reverse with a gold circular central medallion bearing a crowned black enamel eagle, an oval red enamel shield with a white enamel cross on its breast; diameter 16.47mm (0.65 inch); mounted with the reverse outwards.
The Order was established on 20 February 1868 by Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of unified Italy to commemorate unification (though it was only in 1870 that the Papal States and Rome joined the union). It was intended to reward outstanding service to Italy and was open equally to Italian and non-Italian citizens. It became obsolete with the dissolution of the Italian monarchy at the end of World War II and has not been issued since.
Cross for War Merit (Croce al Merito di Guerra), Royal issue. Miniature blackened bronze Greek cross with laterally-pierced ball and inverted triangular bar for ribbon suspension; the face with the crowned cipher of King Vittorio Emanuele III on the upper arm, an upright sword with oak branch on the lower arm, the lateral arms inscribed ‘MERITO DI GUERRA’; the reverse with a central five-pointed star on a rayed background; diameter 22.67mm (0.89 inch).
The Cross was instituted by Royal Decree 205 on 19 January 1918 to be awarded to those whose military conduct deserved public recognition (che hanno tenuto … una condotta militare che li renda degni di pubblico encomio). It was replaced by a Republican version in 1949 following the abolition of the Italian monarchy.
Commemorative Medal for the War of 1915-1918 (Medaglia Commemorativa della Guerra 1915-1918). Miniature circular bronze medal with integral bar for ribbon suspension; the face with the head of King Vittorio Emanuele III in helmet looking left, circumscribed ‘GUERRA PER L’UNITA D’ITALIA 1915 1918’; the reverse with a winged Victory on shields held over the helmeted heads of soldiers and circumscribed ‘CONIATO NEL BRONZO NEMICO’ (Struck from enemy bronze); diameter 17.65mm (0.69 inch).
The Medal was instituted on 29 July 1920 and, since the war, primarily with Austria, of 1915 to 1918 was regarded as a continuation of the Risorgimento (unification of Italy), it shared the same ribbon as that for the War of Independence instituted in 1865.
It was awarded to military and auxiliary services active in the war of 1915 to 1918.
Medal for the Unification of Italy (Medaglia a Ricordo dell’Unità d’Italia) 1848-1918. Miniature circular bronze medal with laterally-pierced loop and ring for suspension; the face with the head of King Vittorio Emanuele III facing left, circumscribed ‘VITTORIO EMANUELE III RE D’ITALIA’; the reverse inscribed ‘UNITÀ D’ITALIA 1848-1918’ within a circular laurel wreath, age-toned; diameter 17.76mm (0.7 inch).
The Medal was instituted on 19 January 1922 and awarded to combatants in the war of 1915 to 1918 since it was regarded as the final phase of the Risorgimento (the unification of Italy) begun in 1848.
Inter-Allied Victory Medal, Italian issue (Medaglia della Vittoria Interalleata), 1914-1918. Miniature circular bronze medal with integral loop for ribbon suspension; the face with a winged Victory on a triumphal chariot drawn by four lions; the reverse with a tazza from which two doves bearing olive branches fly, dated ‘MXMXIV’ ‘MXMXVIII’ (1914 1918), inscribed around the upper rim ‘GRANDE GUERRA PER LA CIVILITA’ (The Great War for Civilization) and inscribed at the base ‘AL COMBATIENTI DELLA NAZIONE ALLEATE ED ASSOCIATE’ (To the combatants of the Allied and Associated countries); diameter 17.45mm (0.68 inch).
The idea of an inter-allied medal to commemorate victory in what was termed ‘The Great War for Civilisation’ is credited to the French Field-Marshal Foch. It was agreed that each of the Allies should issue a medal to their nationals featuring a figure representing ‘Victory’ on the front and have a symmetric double rainbow ribbon with red, the colour of courage and sacrifice at the centre, representing the colours of the allies flags and presenting an allegory of calm after storm. The medal was awarded to Italian participants in World War I.
The Group is on possibly replaced correct ribbons and bar-mounted with pin for wear, maker’s mark ‘Spink & Son Ld., 17.18 Piccadilly, London W.’ to the reverse.