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WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

Article about: Here is an interesting group of medals that I stumbled across a few nights ago during my usual late night web surfing. BTW...I have already secured the group, so if you find it on the web, i

  1. #1

    Arrow WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    Here is an interesting group of medals that I stumbled across a few nights ago during my usual late night web surfing. BTW...I have already secured the group, so if you find it on the web, it is too late...

    What is most interesting about the group is the presence of what is known as the 'First pattern' or French version of the DSC, which is heavily adorned with oak leaves on the arms. There is much controversy amongst some collectors, and some feel that they are either fake or were mass produced for the AEF service members for purchase.

    My opinion is that they are NOT fake, they may have perhaps been available for purchase, but definitely of the period. I say this because I have observed this type of cross in two or tree other grouping that were either obtained directly from the family or were found at the residence of the recipient at estate sales after they passed away. In addition, a friend whom is very knowledgeable told me that the 82nd Abn. Museum had one of these in the display for Sgt York back in the 1960's. So for me, the case is closed on the legitimacy of this design; sometimes common sense and evidence at hand is a better judge of legitimacy than speculation.

    In this case, these medals were obtained at a house sale in Springfield, Mass. Through a little checking, I confirmed that while there were other DSC recipients from Springfield, only one was made to an officer from Springfield. That officer was Julius W. Toelken of 140 Union Street, Springfield, MA. Lt. Toelken is confirmed as being a 2nd. Lt., 104th Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Div., having the above address listed as his residence prior to entry into the AEF.


    Included in the group are the following:

    DSC Award case (which I believe is French made)

    DSC ribbon bar (**appears to be French version)

    French made DSC

    Croix de Guerre ribbon bar W/star (** as above)

    Croix de Guerre W/Star

    US Victory Medal W/5 sector clasps - all of which are attributed (authorized) for the 26th.

    American Legion lapel pin

    "US" officer collar insignia


    All items show exactly the same amount of wear and there are no inconsistencies in the presence of any of the items.

    An interesting note concerning the DSC...it was created on July 9, 1918. Lt. Toelkens date of action for award is listed as July 20, 1918. What I am getting at here is that one would not expect US versions of the award to be readily available to the AEF 11 days after creation. So, the need for the authorized medal was filled by the local establishments as in the case of wings, insignia and uniforms as well during that time...why should the DSC be any different? As a side note, there is also a French version of the US Victory Medal that has been found in other groupings as well.


    Lt. Toelken's official citation for award of the DSC:


    TOELKEN, JULIUS W.
    Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
    104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division, A.E.F.
    Date of Action: July 20, 1918

    Citation:
    The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Julius W. Toelken, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Bouresches, France, July 20, 1918. When the advance of his platoon was checked by enemy machine-gun fire Second Lieutenant Toelken crawled forward alone to a position from which he could fire and killed three of the machine-gun crew, after which, with his platoon, he captured the gun and turned it on the foe.
    General Orders No. No. 125, W.D., 1918
    Home Town: Springfield, MA





    I have some other information as well, but will withhold until I actually get the set in my hands.

    I am posting two photos from the site from which I obtained it. I will of course post detailed individual shots of each piece when it arrives.

    Thoughts, opinions, accolades, and criticisms welcomed...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    I'm sorry Steve, but as it is not aviation related, you can not add it to your collection!

    Very nice group and I agree with you on the French DSCs. While Tolken's US issued DSC may still be out there, I believe that this is just as a legimate wartime piece. Why he (or any else who earned one) bought it will remain a mystery. Preferred to wear this one for a parade? Who knows? One thing is for certain, it is a very nice grouping!

  3. #3

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    Quote by BEAST View Post
    I'm sorry Steve, but as it is not aviation related, you can not add it to your collection!

    Very nice group and I agree with you on the French DSCs. While Tolken's US issued DSC may still be out there, I believe that this is just as a legimate wartime piece. Why he (or any else who earned one) bought it will remain a mystery. Preferred to wear this one for a parade? Who knows? One thing is for certain, it is a very nice grouping!
    Hi Erick...I know..."focus"

    As far as why these exist, I think because of what I stated above. There have been cases that I personally know of where families have passed on a French DSC to collectors and kept the US made version. The unit may have purchased the cross... He may very well have had a US version as well, only it came later.

    In my mind, this makes sense...

    An interesting note concerning the DSC...it was created on July 9, 1918. Lt. Toelkens date of action for award is listed as July 20, 1918. What I am getting at here is that one would not expect US versions of the award to be readily available to the AEF 11 days after creation. So, the need for the authorized medal was filled by the local establishments as in the case of wings, insignia and uniforms as well during that time...why should the DSC be any different?
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  4. #4

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    I forgot to add that the Croix de Guerre is dated 1914-1918, which is also correct given the date of action for the DSC...
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  5. #5

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    I found this last night through the "Find A Grave" website (which I have as a research link in the Aviation section). I am going to request a photo of the grave to add to the group.

    Birth: unknown
    Death: Dec., 1957

    Inscription:
    Cremains

    Burial:
    Springfield Cemetery
    Springfield
    Hampden County
    Massachusetts, USA
    Plot: Strawberry Path West Side Lot # 2149


    Next stop...Ancestry.com, hopefully, I can find his birth date in the census records and pass it along to the cemetery.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  6. #6

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    It is possible that the above may be his father, however a photo of the grave should establish whether it is he or not. I suspect it may be his father, as there is a Minnie Page Toelken buried in the same cemetery lot section. Her date of birth is unknown as well, and this is common for those born during the middle part of 19th century in rural areas or those who moved from their birth city when they were very young.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  7. #7

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    Steve,
    I agree with Erick, it is not aviation related and will NOT fit into your collection, therefore I will send my address and you can go ahead and ship it out to me.

    A note not mentioned previously. 100 of the 1st design of the DSC were struck and numbered. These 100 were issued immediately and when the 2nd design was struck they replaced the 1st design issued previously. The soldier was suppose to turn in the 1st design when issued the 2nd. In 1919 an inventory was taken and 29 of the 1st design had been returned leaving 71 still out there floating around. As for the French copies I have no idea how many were struck but I have no doubt the local commands bought and awarded some before receiving the US strikes through the supply system. And I have no doubt that some soldiers that were awarded the US version also purchased the French strike just to have a second medal or perhaps they misplaced the issued piece etc.

    I have all my issued awards that are officially named in a trunk to be passed on to my son. I also have a second set that I have mounted in a frame for display that hangs on the wall in the den. I have found in talking with other soldiers that this is pretty much a common practice, keeping your issue medals packed away and displaying replacement medals. Can't see why a WW1 Vet wouldn't do the same and where else to get a like award except off the French economy. We do know that the French struck the US Victory medal and all the bars in addition to both versions of the DSC.

    Steve I will be watching my mail box for the DSC group, and don't give me that it's been sent must have been lost in the mail junk!!!!!

    Wonderful group, one to be very proud of.

    Terry

  8. #8

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    Major,

    Thanks for adding that bit of valuable information. Soldiers having multiple insignia and medals falls into the "common sense " area in my opinion and is a fact that simply cannot be disputed.

    On shipping them to you...that sounded like a direct order. I already have your mailing information, so I guess I have to comply immediately...
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  9. #9

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    Quote by Steven M View Post
    Major,

    Thanks for adding that bit of valuable information. Soldiers having multiple insignia and medals falls into the "common sense " area in my opinion and is a fact that simply cannot be disputed.

    On shipping them to you...that sounded like a direct order. I already have your mailing information, so I guess I have to comply immediately...
    Steve,
    I hate to see a grown man weep, so you keep them. Just make sure you treat them with tender loving care and tuck them in at night.
    Terry

  10. #10

    Default Re: WWI Cased French DSC, Croix de Guerre, Victory Medal Group

    Thanks for letting me keep them Major. Normally when I go to the P.O., the place has a coma-inducing effect. This morning at 0600, I was more alert while waiting on the sorting clerk that I had ever been before...wonder why?

    BTW...you guys probably don't want to see any more photos...right?
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

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