The Imperial Austrian Franz Joseph Order 1914-1918

The Franz Joseph Order was founded by the Kaiser of that name on the 2nd December 1849 on the first anniversary of his assumption of the Crown . The order was originally in three classes: Grand Cross, Commander and Knight. Further grades of a Commander's Star was introduced in 1869 which ranked immediately after the Grand Cross and an Officers' Cross which ranked between the Commander and the Knight was introduced on the 1st February 1901. The Grand Cross, Commanders Star and officers' Cross were breast decorations whereas the Commanders' Cross was worn at the the throat. The Knight wore his award suspended from a triangular ribbon on the left breast. Both the Commanders' and Knights' Crosses were originally suspended from a red ribbon. On the 14th September and 31st December it was further ordered that non-combatants, Military Justice Officers, Medical Officers, Veterinary Officers and Officials etc. could in future be awarded the decoration with the ribbon of the Military Merit Cross. A "Kleine Dekoration" was introduced for the Grand Cross on the 23rd March 1908 followed on 27 October 1917 for the remaining high awards of the Order. Although in common with the other Austro-Hungarian awards of the period, the Franz Joseph Order was further distinguished with the addition of the War decoration and Swords, the actual award was usually presented for distinguished service as opposed to gallantry in the face of the enemy.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of Jrg C. Steiner. Click to enlarge Picture courtesy of Jrg C. Steiner. Click to enlarge
Knights' Cross in Silver - Obverse Knights' Cross in Silver - Reverse
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Officers' Cross with War Decoration - Obverse Officers' Cross with War Decoration - Reverse
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Officers' Cross with War Decoration and Swords Kleine Dekoration - Obverse Officers' Cross with War Decoration and Swords Kleine Dekoration - Reverse
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Commanders' Cross   Star of the Grand Cross with War Decoration

 

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Officer's Cross with War Decorations and Swords. From the Enzo Calabresi Collection.

 

In the document below which is reproduced from the Verordnungsblatt fr das k.u.k Heer Number 75 dated the 1st of May 1918, several Officers and Officials have their awards of a Knights' Cross of the Franz Joseph Order promulgated. The general citation is for outstanding service achievements in the face of the enemy.

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