Eugen Freiherr von Albori

Eugen Albori was born on the 27th of December 1838 at Cattaro in Dalmatia. His father, from an old Venetian family from Trieste, was employed there as the president of the regional court. After attending the Theresian Military Academy at Wiener Neustadt he was transferred in September 1857 as an Unterleutnant to the Tiroler Kaiser Jäger Regiment where he was commissioned as a Leutnant on the 28th of May 1859. With this regiment he took part in the campaign in northern Italy where he was able to distinguish himself as a Battalion Adjutant on several occasions, especially during the battle of Magenta, which lead to the award of the Military Merit Cross with war decoration on the 3rd of July 1859. After attending the Kriegsschule he was transferred as an Oberleutnant to the 18th Feldjäger-Bataillon and simultaneously permanently attached to the general staff. On the 23rd of August 1864 he was promoted to Hauptmann 2nd class and on the 4th May 1866 to Hauptmann 1st class. During the war of 1866 he was employed as a general staff officer at Knin in Dalmatia and received a commendation from his commanding general Feldmarschall-Leutnant Philippovic. On the 10th of October 1868 he was transferred to the Theresian Military Academy as an instructor in tactics and the history of leadership and wrote instructional manuals in both topics. In November 1872 he received accelerated promotion to Major in the general staff and was attached to the general staff of the 4th infantry division at Brünn. In May 1873 he assumed command of the 32nd Feldjäger-Bataillon at Mauer near Vienna (today the 23rd district of the city). This unit was often used for parades during the Weltausstellung (world exhibition) of the same year and so Albori as the commanding officer received a many foreign decorations including the Commanders crosses of the Russian Order of Saint Stanislaus and of the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, and the Officer's Cross of the Persian Order of the Sun and the Lion and the Italian Order of Mauritius and Lazarus. In May 1876 he was promoted to Oberstleutnant and appointed to be the chief of the general staff to the commanding general at Trieste. In September of the same year he was the leader of the Austro-Hungarian delegation to observe the large Prussian/Saxon manouvres and in November he was sent to the international border commission which was to regulate the borders between Montenegro and the Ottoman Empire. During these troublesome conferences he was able to distinguish himself as a diplomat and he was honored by the award of the Serbian Takowo Order 2nd class and the Commanders Cross of the Order of Danilo from Montenegro.

Oberstleutnant AlboriDuring the occupation of Bosnia and the Herzegovina in 1878 he was the chief of the general staff of the 7th infantry division of General Herzog von Württemberg and took part in the battle near Rogelje (Varcar Vakuf) on the 5th of August 1878. For this and his outstanding performance during the nine hours battle of Jaice he was honored with the award of the knight's cross of the Order of Leopold with war decoration. In September 1878 he was appointed to be chief of the general staff of the 13th corps and took part in the 3 days long fighting around Kljuc and the encirclement and bombardment of Livno. After the capitulation of Livno he received accelerated promotion to Oberst in the general staff on the 1st of November 1878. When the mutiny came to its end, Oberst Albori was attached to the Herzog von Württemberg and alongside him managed the very troublesome conferences and actions during the occupation of the Lim area. Albori was attached to the conference between the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire which lead to the agreement of the 21st of April 1879 followed by the occupation of parts of the Sandschak and Novipazar. For his efforts he was awarded the 2nd class of the Order of the Iron Crown which lead to his immediate ennobling with the title "Freiherr von" on the 29th of March 1880 and the city of Sarajevo made him an honorary citizen.

In 1881 he was a member of the Austro-Hungarian delegation from the general staff for observing the large manouvres in France where he was decorated with the officer's badge of the French Legion of Honour. After his return he was appointed as Chef des Büros für operative und besondere Generalstabsarbeiten (chief of Bureau for operational and special general staff work) which made him the "right hand" of the Chief of General staff - Feldzeugmeister Beck and gave him the possibility to influence the large reformation of the army in the 1880's. He remained in this post, only interrupted by his visit to the large German manouvres at Dresden and Breslau which lead to his award of the Commanders Cross 2nd class of the Saxon Order of Albrecht on the 6th of January 1883, until October 1884 when he took over command of the 72nd infantry brigade at Agram. For his efforts at the general staff he received a commendation from the Kaiser which allowed him to wear the bronze Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis) when it was introduced in 1890. In March 1887, meanwhile promoted to Generalmajor, he took over command of the 60th infantry brigade. In August 1889 heassumed command of the 15th infantry division at Miskolcz shortly followed by his promotion to Feldmarschall-Leutnant on the 1st of November of the same year. On the 12th of May 1893 he took over command of the 28th infantry division at Laibach and commanded it successfully during the large manouvres near Güns. He was however soon relieved and appointed as "Ehren-Cavalier" to escort the King of Romania during his extended visit to Austria-Hungary. After this visit he received the Grand cross of the Order of the Crown of Romania and was appointed as deputy commander of the 2nd corps and deputy to the commanding general at Vienna. It took some time to find a new active command for this excellent officer but in September 1894 he was appointed as commander of the 1st corps and commanding general at Krakow.

During the following nine years at Krakow he received his promotion to Feldzeugmeister (25th of October 1897), was awarded the 1st class of the Order of the Iron Crown (1st November 1898) and the Grand cross of the Order of Leopold with war decoration for the knight's cross (13th October 1903) and honored with the title of Oberstinhaber of infantry regiment number 89 (June 1895) and Geheimer Rat or Privy Councillor (1894). The foreign monarchs honored him by the award of the Grand crosses of the Order of Friedrich of Württemberg (13th April 1897), the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle (19th January 1902), the Order of the Crown of Württemberg (18th April 1903) and finally the Brilliants to the Grand cross of the Red Eagle (24th October 1903). On the 3rd of December 1903 Eugen Freiherr von Albori took over the command of the 15th corps at Sarajevo which made him automatically the head of government in Bosnia and the Herzegovina - probably the most important and political post in the Austro-Hungarian Army.

On the 8th of April 1905 Albori received the 1st class of the Ottoman Osmanie Order. In 1906 Feldzeugmeister Freiherr von Albori, who had no children of his own, conferred his title of "Freiherr von" and his Coat of Arms on his brother Johann, who lived as a businessman and estate owner at Trieste and his family. Johann Albori, who had himself been ennobled in 1893 was now also able to carry the title of Freiherr. His son Eduard, who was an active officer, became an Oberst during World War 1 and commanded infantry regiment number 59 from March 1915 to July 1916 and the 5th infantry brigade between September 1916 and August 1917.

In June 1907 Eugen Freiherr von Albori was appointed, with a switch in rank title to General der Infanterie, as General-Truppen-Inspektor (Inpspector General of the Troops). He had now reached the highest possible rank in peacetime. During the crisis in 1908 it was agreed that he, and not one of the Archdukes, would be the superior commander of the whole army in the case of war. On the 1st of September 1907 Albori completed his 50th year on active duty as an officer! On this occasion the Kaiser honored him with the award of the Military Merit Cross with Brilliants. These decorations with brilliants and rubies were personally bestowed by the Emperor on deserving recipients at the Kaiser's own expense. These were not in fact an higher grade of the order but a token of esteem from the Emperor to honour those already possessing the Award. The original intention was to honour individuals close to Kaiser at the time of Jubilees and similar occasions and the practice continued thereafter. Between 1848 and 1918 only 23 pieces with stones were given, 13 with and 10 without the war decoration - this depends on which award the recipient originally held. The greater number of all these decorations are today in different museums in Vienna and Budapest but the particular piece given to General Albori was auctioned in 1993 by the Dorotheum at Vienna. (My special thanks go to their expert Dr. Georg Ludwigstorff who allowed me to examine and photograph the cross before it was sold.) It was surprising that this piece was more unique than one had thought! As an additional honor of the Kaiser it has the Initials "FJI" and the dates "1857" and "1907" inlayed in Gold on the reverse side.

On the 18th of April 1910 Freiherr von Albori, who was then 72 years old, asked for permission to retire, but this was refused. He was relieved from his post but did not receive his retirement. He was sent on extended leave. He settled in Vienna and during the following years his only efforts were for the society of the White Cross. This society "Weißes Kreuz" was founded in 1882 to support the members of the Austro-Hungarian Army who were wounded during wartime. It took care of their recuperation and the support of the widows and orphans of officers. Albori became their elected President in 1913. General der Infanterie Eugen Freiherr von Albori died in Vienna on the 5th of September 1915.

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