Sunday, 15 July 2012

Prussian Fire Brigade Decoration

Prussian Fire Brigade Decoration.      
Instituted on. 21 December 1933
Rarity – Rare.

This award consists of an oval medal which has a raised edge line with, inset by 4 mm, a further similar one producing a tramline effect.  On to the flat field produced is positioned the inscription which is started and stopped by a single stylised swastika that is placed at 6 o'clock.  The inscription, running clockwise in rustic capitals is, FÜR VERDIENSTE UM DAS FEUERLÖSCHWESEN, which translates to, For Service in the Fire Brigade.  The central field is broken just below the centre by a ground line, twice as thick as the tramlines.  On to the ground line is positioned the torso of an old fashioned fireman.  On his head he wears a fire helmet with neck cloth and is clad in a jerkin with a waist belt.  On to his chest is placed the eagle of Prussia.  To his lips is held a fire horn, while is right hand is employed in holding a fire hose that folds behind his body, to re-emerge in a curl.  In the field beneath the ground line, positioned on to another finer ground line, is placed a high roofed house.  This has six windows on the long side arranged in two rows, while the gable has a door at ground floor level and flanked at second by two windows, with a smaller one positioned at the apex of the roof.  The tiles are represented by lines.  From the right-hand side of the roof darts two tongues of flames while, from the other, billows three columns of smoke.  On the inner tramline, just above the swastika, is a stylised capital R.  The badge measures 42 mm high and 29 mm wide and was struck in silver which has a smoked effect and is artificially patinated.

The reverse is slightly convexed and smooth, with a needle pin similar to that employed to hold the ribbons on to a uniform.  On the edge of the medal, slightly inset on either side is, in raised capital letters, the maker's name, PREUSS.STAATSMÜNZE, on the viewer's left and the silver content, SILBER 900 FEIN, on the right.

The medal was instituted on 21 December 1933 by the Prussian Minister of the Interior who awarded it on the recommendation of the Prussian Chief of Police.  It was awarded for;
a) Any special act of bravery or merit.
b) 25 years continuous service in the fire brigade.

The award was discontinued on 22 December 1936 with the introduction of the Fire Brigade Decoration - First Class, and the Fire Brigade Decoration - Second Class, medal.

The presentation case is a two-piece hinged, rigid box with simulated black leather covering.  The interior of the upper portion is padded white satin, while the base is covered by light blue velvet.  Round the edge of the base and the lid is a ring of silver pellets and the two halves are fastened by a push button stud.  It was accompanied by a citation, the design of which is unknown.

Prussian Fire Brigade Decoration in wear.      

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hanover Fire Brigade Medal of Merit

Hanover Fire Brigade Medal of Merit   
Instituted on. 26 April 1934
Rarity – Rare.
Known Makers – Lehmann and Wunnenberg

The Medal of Merit of the Fire Brigade for the Province of Hanover is 28 mm in diameter with a raised edge line.  At the base of the medal is a pair of crossed oak leaves that serve to start and stop the inscription that runs round the edge of the medal and is inset by 1 mm.  The inscription is produced in raised rustic capitals and reads, FÜR VERDIENSTE UM DAS FEUERLÖSWESEN, which translates to, For Merit in the Fire Brigade.  On to the flat central field of the medal is superimposed a fireman's helmet which is similar in style to that of the standard German M35 steel helmet, with the addition of a metal crest and rubber neck shield.  The chinstrap showing the buckle hangs vertically.  The helmet has two rivets to hold the inner liner, and midway between them is a 3 mm by 2 mm decal with raised edge line that has a small inner circle surrounding a mobile swastika.  The reverse has a similar raised edge line with an inscription in raised capital letters, which is punctuated at the base by a small five pointed star.  The inscription reads, FEUERWEHR - VERBAND FÜR DIE PROVINZ HANNOVER.GERG.26.7.1868, which translates to, Fire Brigade Association for the Province of Hanover Founded 26.7.1868.  On to the flat central field is superimposed the well known prancing white horse of Hanover.  At the top of the medal is positioned a round eyelet, through which runs the ribbon ring.  The medal is produced in zinc, has a silver wash and is 3.5 mm thick.  This, with age, can turn the medal an unattractive matt black.  The ribbon is 20 mm wide and made up of yellow and white stripes in equal proportion, yellow being on the left.  The ribbon is shaped in a V over a metal plate that measures 36 mm at its broadest part.  The reverse of the plate has a pin for attachment to the uniform and a piece of copper wire that runs from the bottom of the V upwards until it passes under the suspension pin.  The medal ribbon ring is put over the pin to allow for its suspension.  This construction also enables the medal to be removed to allow for the ribbon to be worn alone.  The medal was manufactured by the firm of Lehmann and Wunnenberg of Hanover.

The medal was introduced on 26 April 1934 to reward the members of the fire brigade for meritorious service in the organisation.  It was also awarded for 25 years continuous service.  The award was discontinued on 22 December 1936 with the introduction of the Fire Brigade Decoration - First Class, and Fire Brigade Decoration - Second Class,  which replaced the medal.

The medal was accompanied by an elaborate citation that had a border comprising of dots in fours in a tramline, with a row of pellets on the inner one.  At the head of the citation was a torch in black with red tongues of flame and, on either side in Gothic letters, BESITZ - ZEUGNIS.  Beneath this in smaller, similar letters, was the recipient's name and his town followed by, in four lines, IST FÜR TREUE 25 JÄHRIGE FEUERWEHR - DIENSTZEIT, DAS VOM FEUERWEHRVERBAND DER, PROVINZ HANNOVER GESTIFTETE.  Beneath this is a facsimile of the medal without the ribbon or ring, in silver with, on either side, in red outlined in black, EHREN ZEICHEN.  Beneath this in corresponding letters in two lines, FšR VERDIENSTE UM DAS FEUERLÖSCHWESEN, VERLIEHEN WORDEN.  Beneath this, in two lines, is the city of award and the date with, FEUERWEHRVERBAND DER PROVINZ HANNOVER and the signature and title,
Provinzial – Feuerwehrführer.  The overall colour of the citation is off-yellow.  The medal presentation box is unknown.