Commemorative Cross for the War of Liberation and Union, 1914-1918. Bronze cross pattée alisée with ball finials and with crossed swords between the arms, on laterally pierced ball suspension; the face with the head of King Petar I facing right circumscribed in Cyrillic characters ‘PETAR I KRAJ SRBIJE’ (Petar I King of Serbia) within a circular laurel wreath, the dates ‘1914’ and ‘1918’ on the upper and lower arms of the cross; the reverse with the crowned Serbian arms and the dates ‘1915’, ‘1916’ and ‘1917’ on the lower, left and right arms respectively; on original trifold ribbon.
The Cross was instituted on 1 December 1920 to be awarded to Serbian and Montenegrin military who had participated in World War I and to Allied military who had contributed to the liberation of Serbia.
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 led to the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia on 28 July 1914. Serbian forces resisted Austrian attacks until the end of November when, short of munitions, the Serbs withdrew and the Austrians entered Belgrade on 2 December. On 3 December, the entire Serb army launched a ferocious counter-attack and retook Belgrade on 15 December. The situation was transformed by the entry of Bulgaria into the war in October 1915 and the Serb army was forced to make its terrible winter retreat through the mountains of Albania. These troops were later transferred to Salonika and on 15 September 1918 began an attack that retook Serbia and, by 10 November, had crossed the Danube. During the war Serbia suffered more than one and a quarter million casualties from a total population of four and a half million, representing more than half its adult male population.
The Cross was made by Arthus Bertrand of Paris and by Huguenin Frères of Le Locle, Switzerland. This example is by Huguenin Frères.
With an envelope inscribed ‘No 29 D. Anne Ladbrook’. Sister Deborah Anne Ladbrook served in the Territorial Force Nursing Service and was also entitled to the British War Medal 1914-1920 and the Inter-Allied Victory Medal, 1914-1919. Sold with a copy of the T.F.N.S. Roll showing entitlement to the British awards.
She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (London Gazette, 1 January 1919) for services in Salonika. The R.R.C. sent to the Nursing Institute, The Tything, Worcester, on 22 September 1920.