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ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...

Article about: Hello - I'm hoping you can help me identify the ribbons and badges of a Polish family member born in 1900, who (we think) served variously from 1918 until after the end of the Second World W

  1. #1
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    Default ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...

    Hello -

    I'm hoping you can help me identify the ribbons and badges of a Polish family member born in 1900, who (we think) served variously from 1918 until after the end of the Second World War. He was at one point a 'starszy sierżant dowództwo dywizji' (division command sergeant major?) and was deported to Siberia. He fought at Monte Cassino and was also a war artist with numerous works now in the Imperial War Museum in London, UK. He was part of the Polish Resettlement Corps after the War.

    I am neither Polish nor military, so I have little knowledge, but a bit of Googling has got me part of the way and I'm now looking to the experts to help me fill in the gaps - and, indeed, to confirm or correct my preliminary findings!

    These are the ribbons and shoulder badges, from which we've deduced:

    ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...

    Polish soldier (shoulder badges)
    8th (British) Army (crusader shield badge)
    Polish II Corps (Maid of Warsaw badge)
    3rd Carpathian Rifle Division (cedar on Polish flag)
    Infantry (blue/yellow collar gorget)

    NB I'm not sure about the last one, as the infantry gorgets I've found online are almost entirely blue with a yellow line rather than triangle - any clues?

    As for the ribbons, I'm lost as to most of them, but my best guesses so far are (using row and ribbon number):

    11: Wound Decoration (wounded in three actions)

    21: Cross or Medal of Independence? or possibly Great Poland Uprising Cross?
    22: unknown although NB the white ribbon is literally wrapped over the red/white one
    23: unknown
    24: unknown with a line of gold (?) thread down the centre

    31: Italy Star
    32: unknown - looks like Long Service Medal but has white edging and no number on the ribbon
    33: Cross of Merit? Bronze? Appears to have a stitch in the centre of the ribbon but I don't know why

    41: Monte Cassino Commemorative Cross
    42: Commemorative Medal for War 1918-1921
    43: Medal of the 10th Anniversary of Independence?
    44: 1939-1945 Star

    I'm also mystified as to why they're in the order they're in - one would never see the Italy Star before the 1939-1945 Star in the British Order of Wear, so I don't know how they did things in the Polish Army. Grateful for any information!

    Turning to the metal items:

    ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...

    1: Monte Cassino Commemorative Cross, of course, with number matching his division (other ranks)
    2: 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division (breast badge?) with WIARA WYTRWAŁOŚĆ ZWYCIĘSTWO on the reverse (FAITH, PERSEVERANCE, VICTORY) and spinner marked F M LORIOLI // MILANO - ROMA
    3: 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division (shoulder or cap badge?) with Lorioli spinner
    4: Polish Army eagle badge (is this for a beret? There seem to be hundreds of variants so I'm not sure of the significance of the shield between the feet, nor the rakish angle of the crown)

    My family would be so grateful for any help you can give us.

    Thank you!

    Giler.
    Last edited by Giler; 05-26-2024 at 10:32 PM.

  2. #2

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    Hello Giler

    If I am correct the ribbon 24 is the Medal Wojska or Polish Army active service medal.

    If it has a gold stripe it will mean he was awarded this more than once, so very possible he served in North Africa and in Italy.

    Number 32 looks like the Cross of Valour.

    Number 33 you say it has stitching so very possibly it is the Cross of Merit with Swords (Military) very possible the swords have become detached.

    If you can post the number on the back of the Monte Cassino cross I will see if I have any further information

    Regards Kevin

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    Brilliant - thanks. I'll DM you his name and Monte Cassino Cross number...

  4. #4
    TMZ
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    21: Independence Medal
    22: I wonder if this is another ribbon but inexpertly altered to try to look like a 10 years service medal? see below
    23: Is this even supposed to be a medal or just a space for one? There is no all black Polish medal ribbon.
    24: Medal Wojska

    31: Italy Star (but is so discoloured could be something else)
    32: KW (Cross of Valour)
    33: Cross of Merit with Swords (swords missing)

    41: Monte Cassino Commemorative Cross
    42: Commemorative Medal for War 1918-1921
    43: 10th Anniversary of Independence
    44: 1939-1945 Star


    Many Polish soldiers did not wear their medals in the correct or approved order. Not unusual.


    10 and 20 year long service medals
    ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...

  5. #5
    TMZ
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    And what does the blue/yellow collar pennant look like from the other side?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all this.

    Quote by TMZ View Post
    22: I wonder if this is another ribbon but inexpertly altered to try to look like a 10 years service medal?
    23: Is this even supposed to be a medal or just a space for one? There is no all black Polish medal ribbon.

    32: KW (Cross of Valour)
    22: He was a professional artist/creative man, so I don't think he'd have done anything like that inexpertly. I'm baffled.
    23: It's definitely a black ribbon. Perhaps from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (international) or the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (UK).

    32: Are you sure it's the Cross of Valour? Every example I can find online, whether with the usual ribbon or this 'exile' ribbon, has a wider central stripe, but this one appears to have a central stripe equal to the width of the other two. To me it looks much more like a Long Service Medal, except a) no Roman numeral on the ribbon, and b) it has a white edging. Again, I'm baffled.

    Quote by TMZ View Post
    And what does the blue/yellow collar pennant look like from the other side?
    Oh, well done! I feel very foolish - I was looking at it backwards. Thanks for pointing that out.

  7. #7
    TMZ
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    Quote by Giler View Post
    22: He was a professional artist/creative man, so I don't think he'd have done anything like that inexpertly. I'm baffled.
    23: It's definitely a black ribbon. Perhaps from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (international) or the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (UK).

    32: Are you sure it's the Cross of Valour? Every example I can find online, whether with the usual ribbon or this 'exile' ribbon, has a wider central stripe, but this one appears to have a central stripe equal to the width of the other two. To me it looks much more like a Long Service Medal, except a) no Roman numeral on the ribbon, and b) it has a white edging. Again, I'm baffled.

    22: Can you peek carefully under the white material, what's there? It looks like the base ribbon is a Medal Wojska.
    23: All I can add is the observation that the material weave appears vertical rather than horizontal as with other medals. Does there appear any discoloration when viewed under different light (maybe UV)?
    32: Given that the orders are all mixed up I don't know. As a KW it would be correct to the left of the Bronze Cross of Merit with swords. There are examples of the KW ribbon where the difference in width is not so pronounced - there are definitely variations. There is a whole thread on this website about the KW. Cross of Valour (Krzyz Walecznych) - Exile Types

  8. #8
    TMZ
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    23: Well - I have just found this. Described as :

    POLISH BATTLE OF ZADWÓRZE GEN. ABRAHAM COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL

    A Polish medal with an all black ribbon (never heard of this before).

    From the Wikipedia page the medal ribbon was originally blue-black-red-white-red-black-blue but on ebay there is a replica version with an all black ribbon - see attached image from there.

    Battle of Zadworze - Wikipedia

    ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...


    [edit] Of course we have a thread on this here as well.

    Battle of Zadwórze

    So what the correct colour ribbon is for this medal seems unclear. And maybe it was only a posthumous award as well.
    Last edited by TMZ; 06-01-2024 at 07:16 PM.

  9. #9
    TMZ
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    This gets more mysterious.

    The same seller also has a listing for the same medal but with yet another different ribbon - this one being a central wide white band with thin red and black bands at the sides.

    ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...

    Also I have found this document (in Polish)

    https://historiaikultura.pl/wp-conte...t.-low-res.pdf

    This contains some more information about the medal, which suggests that it was a little more than just a posthumous award.

    Here's a translated extract:


    Cross "ZADWÓRZE 1920"
    To honor the heroes, the "Zadwórze" distinction was established in 1920, also known as the Zadwórza Cross. The cross that honored Defenders of the Borderlands, however, was awarded - considering the circumstances of Thermopylae - primarily posthumously.

    The Zadwórz cross was five-pointed, with a skull symbol on the crossbones - the sign of Abraham's volunteers - on the main arm and dates on the side arms: 17 August 1920.

    In the oval in the center of the cross there was an inscription: ZADWÓRZE –DET. ABRAHAMA. A monogram was placed above the cross made of intertwined letters: MAO – Małopolska Volunteer Army.

    Ribbon. The cross had vertical, isosceles stripes: a white stripe was placed in the middle, and on both of its sides red stripes, further - black, and on the edges - blue or gray. Known however, there are Zadwórza Crosses with only red and black ribbons.

    On August 20, 1939, the general meeting of the Participants' Association was held Battle of Zadwórze; Stanisław Dziatkiewicz was elected president, vice-president –Mieczysław Jan Iwanicki, secretary - Stefan Kuderemski (Kudremski), and the treasurer - Franciszek Dietrich (Dittrich). Some were active too in the structures of the Lviv branch of the Association of Former Volunteers of the Polish Army. An Association of courtiers was also established, which undertook to spread the word.

    ID ribbons/badges of Polish soldier active from 1918 to late 1940s...

  10. #10
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    Quote by TMZ View Post
    This gets more mysterious.

    The same seller also has a listing for the same medal but with yet another different ribbon - this one being a central wide white band with thin red and black bands at the sides.
    Thank you so much for this; I really appreciate your help. I'm pretty sure that the ribbons on the replica crosses being sold are incorrect - the correct one is as per the photograph in your Polish image. So we're back to the drawing board on the plain black ribbon.

    Mind you, the Battle of Zadwórze is exactly the sort of thing he might have been caught up in: he lived in Lwów, would have been 20 years old at the time, and we know he was wounded in battle in 1920 (and on two other occasions)...

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