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DRK long service awards

Article about: In this thread, we will a look at the long service awards of the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz [German Red Cross] or DRK for short. First, a bit of history: Rather than awarding medals, long service

  1. #11

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    We have seen that the nationwide federal DRK organisation [i.e. the Bundesverband] honors veteran Red Cross members with special badges after 50+ years of service.

    However, in addition to this so-called "Große Ehrennadel" [large honor pin] shown in my last post there is also a so-called "Kleine Ehrennadel" [small honor pin] that is generally awarded in silver after 25 and in gold after 40 years of service. This award is in the responsibility of the various Landesverbände [state associations].

    The Landesverbände have some degree of independence. Because of this, DRK service dress as such is standardized throughout the country, but there are some differences in badges and insignia between the various states. Likewise, some awards apply to the entire DRK organisation, but there are additional ones specific to every state.

    Thus, there are also some differences when it comes to this award. For example, the LV Westfalen-Lippe actually awards this pin in four grades (for 25 years with silver lettering and a silver wreath, 40 years with silver lettering and a gold wreath, 50 years with gold lettering and a gold wreath, 60 years with gold lettering and a gold wreath and the number "60") whereas the LV Saarland decided to go for something completely different and awards a pinback cross instead of the honor pin (bronze for 20, silver for 30 and gold for 40 years).

    Here is the "standard" Ehrennadel:

    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards

    Pictured, left to right:
    • silver (stickpin)
    • silver (pinback)
    • gold (pinback)
    • gold (stickpin)


    (Note the differences depending on the various manufacturers)


    The Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz [Bavarian Red Cross] (or BRK for short) awards a slightly different version of the Ehrennadel in silver for 25 and in gold for 40 years:

    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards

    Top row, left to right:
    • 40 years (full size)
    • 40 years (miniature)
    • 40 years (ribbon bar)

    Bottom row:
    • 25 years (ribbon bar)


    (I don't have the full-size version and miniature for the 25-year grade (yet). Note that the text on the badge specifically identifies this as an award of the BRK rather than the DRK.)

    To avoid confusion, it should be noted that the BRK awards the silver and gold Ehrennadel both as a Zeitauszeichnung [long service award] and as a Verdienstauszeichnung [award for merit]. The Verdienstauszeichnung differs from the Zeitauszeichnung in that is does (obviously) not have the numbers "25" and "40" and that the ribbon bar has a blue rather than black ribbon:

    DRK long service awards

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  3. #12

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    Just this week, I found myself some specimens of the post-war sleeve stripes for sale, so I can now present those as well.

    Here they are, obverse and reverse view and a closer look at the material:

    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards

  4. #13

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    Just in is this nice ribbon bar from a WW2 veteran who also had a long and highly distinguished service history as a volunteer in the Bavarian Red Cross:


    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards


    The ribbons are:

    • Verdienstmedaille des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Medal for Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany]
    • Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse [Iron Cross 1st Class]
    • Verwundetenabzeichen in Silber [Wound Badge in Silver]
    • Ehrenzeichen des DRK [Decoration of the German Red Cross]
    • Ehrenzeichen des Freistaats Bayern für Verdienste um das BRK, Klasse 1 [Decoration of the Free State of Bavaria for Merit in the Interest of the Bavarian Red Cross, Class 1 (i.e. for 40 years of service)]
    • Ehrennadel des BRK (Verdienstauszeichnung) [Honor Pin of the Bavarian Red Cross (Award for Merit)]
    • Verdienstmedaille der Sanitätskolonne des Bayerischen Roten Kreuzes in Bronze [Medal of Merit of the Medical Units of the Bavarian Red Cross]
    • BRK-Leistungsabzeichen in Gold [Bavarian Red Cross Proficiency Badge in Gold]
    • Auszeichnungsspange für 40 Jahre [Award Bar for 40 years]


    Note that the first ribbon is "homemade". This is actually the small-size ribbon bar intended for civilian wear that was attached to the neutral black underlay normally used for 1957er pinback awards.
    Last edited by HPL2008; 01-04-2019 at 09:04 PM.

  5. #14

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    I usually don't collect uniforms, but I made an exception for this post-war BRK service tunic which I found on German eBay, as I managed to get it for a very cheap price.

    Unfortunately, it has been stripped of its collar patches. I bought it mostly for the rare "München" [Munich] cuff title but wanted to present it here as it shows the longevity stripes (in this case for 20 years) in situ:


    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards

    DRK long service awards

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