Great War Trio: PRUSSIA Iron Cross, II class, 1914 issue; MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN. Military Merit Cross, II class, on combatant’s ribbon and GERMANY. Somme Cross, 1914-1918 by Fleck & Sohn of Hamburg, bar-mounted for wear
Great War Trio: *** PRUSSIA. Iron Cross, II class (PREUSSEN. Eiserne Kreuz, II. Klasse), 1914 issue. White metal cross pattée with magnetic core, with a blackened cross pattée within a hatched border imposed, with loop and ring for ribbon suspension; the face with a central ‘W’ (for Wilhelm), a crown above, the date ‘1914’ below; the reverse with a central oak branch, the crowned cipher ‘FW’ (for Friedrich Wilhelm) above, the date ‘1813’ below; small paint blisters, one noticeable on the right arm of the face. The Iron Cross was instituted on 10 March 1813 by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia during the War of Liberation against the Napoleonic French forces. It was reinstated in 1870-1871 for the Franco-Prussian War and again in 1914 for World War I. It is awarded for bravery. In spite of its iconic image and fame, it has always been made of modest materials and issued in relatively large numbers. It was designed by the neo-classical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and reflects the cross of the Teutonic Knights in the late Middle Ages which was also the emblem of Frederick the Great. *** MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN. Military Merit Cross, II class, on combatant’s ribbon (Militärverdienstkreuz, II. Klasse, am Kämpferband), 1914. Gilt gunmetal cross pattée, the arms with ribbed edges and stippled fields, with loop for ribbon suspension; the face with the cipher of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz (‘FF’) centrally, the Mecklenburg-Schwerin crown on the upper arm, the date ‘1914’ on the lower arm; the reverse inscribed ‘FÜR’, ‘AUSZEICHNUNG IM’, ‘KRIEGE’ (for Distinction in War) on the upper, lateral and lower arms respectively; on original tired ribbon. The Military Merit Cross was instituted by Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II on 5 August 1848 and bore that year on its lower arm. Subsequent issues were awarded in 1864, 1866 and 1870, each bearing the year of award. On 28 February 1915 Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV renewed the Cross with the date ‘1914’, to be awarded retroactively from 2 August 1914. The second class of the award could be awarded to combatants and also to non-combatants ‘for especial merit in the field of war-related charity’ (‘für besondere Verdienste auf dem Gebiete der Nächstenliebe während des Krieges’). The Cross continued to be awarded until the end of May 1929. It is becoming hard to find. *** WEIMAR REPUBLIC. Somme Cross (WEIMARER REPUBLIK. Somme-Kreuz), 1914-1918 by Fleck & Sohn of Hamburg. Light alloy Maltese cross with eyelet for ribbon suspension; the face with gilt-edged black enamel arms with gilt-edged stippled orange enamel panels, a circular central gilt-edged black enamel medallion imposed, inscribed in gilt characters ‘SOMME / 1914 / 1918’; the reverse plain with maker’s mark ‘FLECK&SOHN / HAMBURG 3’ and inscribed ‘GES. GESCH.’ (for gesetzlich geschützt = legally protected, i.e. a registered design); a minute crack to the black enamel of the upper point of the left arm, a dark line in the orange enamel of the right-hand arm from the time of manufacture, the surface being unaffected, also from the time of manufacture a small pinhole to the black enamel of the upper right arm.. The Cross was created by the Ehrenbund der Somme- und Champagnekämpfer veterans association in 1920 to be awarded to those who had served on the Somme and was awarded until 1933. The Cross is rarely found. *** The awards are on replaced correct ribbons on a relatively recent bar mounting.