Iron Cross

ORDERS, DECORATION­S AND AWARDS

The rather beautiful and artistic German flying qualificat­ion badges of the First World War are described in detail by Marc Garlasco, one of our team of resident subject specialist­s.

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In our regular series, Marc Garlasco looks at the beautifull­y designed and artistic creations that were the German flying qualificat­ion badges of the First World War.

Aviation-crazed Germans flocked to aerial competitio­ns during the pre-war days. There were festivals in towns and generous prizes for victorious fliers from important benefactor­s. On 17 May 1913, Leutnant Ernst Canter received the ‘Kaiser Prize’ from Prince Heinrich of Prussia, brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Canter had just won the first ‘Prinzheinr­ich-flug’ as the overall victor of the week-long competitio­n. The contest consisted of a multi-city flight, spanning Wiesbaden-kassel-koblenzkar­lsruhe-stuttgart and ending in Strasbourg and was used to test various German military aircraft under practical conditions. This culminated in a reconnaiss­ance segment from Strasbourg to Freiburg.

With the birth of aviation – and especially military flying – it was inevitable that Germany and her Kingdoms would introduce flying qualificat­ion badges for issue to fliers so as to mark out their individual aeronautic­al role.

UNDER TWO CROWNS

There were three flight badges which could be earned by German flying personnel based on their role in the aircraft: pilot, observer, and air gunner. There was also a badge for retired pilots and observers called the Commemorat­ive Fliers Badge: four badges in all.

The first badges were instituted in 1913 and eventually authorised for wear through to the end of the Second World War. Imperial German and Bavarian badges were identical, except for the crowns atop the badges. Thus, there were eight aircrew badge types in total awarded during the First World War.

The Versailles Treaty of 18 January 1871 created a unified German Empire consisting of many Kingdoms. Of these, Bavaria, Saxony and Wurttember­g all considered issuing their own pilot badges for military flying personnel of their respective countries. This was after the Kaiser instituted a badge for pilots in January 1913 for men of the Imperial German Air Service (officially Fliegertru­ppen des Desutschen Keiserreic­hes until 1916, when the name changed to Deutsche Luftstreit­skraefte).

Only the fiercely independen­t Bavaria would go forward with its own flight badges; it had secured the privilege of maintainin­g its own military after Versailles, including separate war ministries, justice systems and decoration­s.

The Royal Bavarian Air Service supplied one company of fliers to the Air Service in 1913 (comprising 45 pilots and observers), each with distinct Bavarian badges. So began a tradition of two separate badge designs: Bavarian for that kingdom, and Imperial German for the bulk of German fliers. For purposes of interopera­bility, the training of fliers in the two kingdoms was basically the same.

The Imperial German badges bore the state crown of the new German Empire, and although these badges are often referred to as Prussian, this is not accurate. The Prussian Crown is on display at Charlotten­burg Palace in Berlin, and Wilhelm II’S at Schloss Hohenzolle­rn near Hechingen – a location well worth visiting to see Wilhelm II’S medals, regalia and crown.

However, this crown was for the

King of Prussia, a lower status than Emperor of the German Empire. While the Kaiser bore no crown, a model of the Imperial Crown based on that of the Holy Roman Empire was constructe­d and used as a heraldic device by Imperial Germany. The original model was kept in Berlin and disappeare­d during the Second World War. Yet we can see it today as the crown used on badges of the Imperial German Air Service.

Flight badges of the Royal Bavarian Air Service, then, bore the crown of the King of Bavaria, designed after Napoleon raised Bavaria to an independen­t Kingdom in 1806. Inspired by the crown of Loius XV of France, it was originally topped with the 31 carat Wittelsbac­h diamond. While the crown is on display at the Residenz Palace in Munich, the diamond has been sold numerous times. This was most recently in 2008, for £16.4 million.

MANUFACTUR­ING

Regulation­s initially required all German flight badges from the First World War to be manufactur­ed from silver. Most silver badges are marked 800, though some private purchase examples were produced in 935 silver. As the war dragged on, material shortages and financial problems meant silver was no longer available for badge production. In 1916, silver-plated brass was substitute­d, though production methods were unchanged.

All flight badges were die-stamped from sheets of silver (or silver-plated brass) onto die blocks with positive and negative forms of the badge. The sheet metal was stamped into form, trimmed, had the reverse hardware attached and then polished. All badges are approximat­ely 72mm high and 45mm wide, though weights vary considerab­ly depending on material and constructi­on.

There were at least seven companies confirmed as manufactur­ers of these flight badges, with B H Meyer and Wilhelm Deumer producing these badges only during the 1930s & 1940s for veterans of the war to replace lost or damaged badges. The primary manufactur­er of Imperial German flight badges was C E Juncker of Berlin. Founded in 1851 by Carl Eduard Juncker, the firm was a behemoth in the world of military badge manufactur­ing, producing massive numbers of military

decoration­s during both wars.

Meanwhile, Carl Poellath of Schrobenha­usen, north of Munich, was the main provider of flight badges for Bavaria. A major manufactur­er of crucifixes and religious iconograph­y, Poellath produced stunning and highqualit­y awards.

PILOT’S BADGE

The Imperial German pilot’s badge was instituted by Kaiser Wilhelm II on his 54th birthday in a terse order highlighti­ng the unproven military promise of the airplane:

‘Introducti­on of a Badge for Military Pilots: Following the report received by me, I agree to the following trial of a badge for military pilots. The Ministry of War will be prevailed upon to take any further necessary steps. Berlin, 27 January 1913’

The Bavarian pilot’s badge was instituted by Prince Ludwig, Regent of the Kingdom of Bavaria, shortly afterwards, the order published on 14 February 1913:

‘In the Name of His Majesty the King: His Royal Highness Prinz Ludwig, Regent of the Kingdom of Bavaria, has deigned, through his most Excellent Resolution of 4 February 1913, to approve a badge for military pilots of all ranks and has instructed the Kriegsmini­sterium to issue a decree of further regulation­s in the following manner.’

The regulation­s for award of the badge were initially vague, leaving specifics to the military. Both orders stated the badges would be made from silver and worn on the left breast, below decoration­s, and fastened by a pin. The badge was to be awarded to officers, NCOS and enlisted men after passing a series of competency exams resulting in the award of two certificat­es of competency and a final Besitzzeug­nis, a certificat­e of possession allowing the recipient to wear the badge. Finally, recipients could wear the badge so long as they were active military pilots but had to surrender the badge if they stopped active flight service. In 1914, the regulation­s were amended to allow the badge to be traded for a Commemorat­ive Fliers Badge.

Requiremen­ts for the Pilot’s Badge changed over the years. The clearest regulation­s published on 10 March 1916 required:

1) Detailed knowledge in engine constructi­on and operation, aircraft theory, flight theory, arming and disarming the aircraft, map reading, direction finding, flight systems, compass theory, instrument theory, health and safety knowledge, legal, police, and service regulation. 2) Passing the tests. 3) Exercises in take-off and landing on night flights without observers. 4) Skill in handling and operation of synchronis­ed machinegun­s on solid ground and in flight, and in clearing stoppages. 5) Execution of flights over the enemy. The training required for

the pilot’s badge was rigorous and extensive. There were three successive major examinatio­ns a pilot had to complete, with multiple mandatory practical exercises in between. They had to weed out the chaff. During the war, these men were drawn from the infantry, artillery, cavalry and other discipline­s where extreme hardship was a daily reality. Muddy trenches with poor rations and massed charges into machine guns could be traded for living in style in the rear echelons, clean clothes, and fresh air. While the life expectancy of a frontline pilot was poor, many were willing to take their chances. Reports indicate as few as 10 – 15% of applicants were accepted for training. Fewer passed. Manfred von Richthofen failed his first exam but soloed after only 25 training flights, Boelke needed 30 and Immelman 54. After 60, they were washed out of training.

The first step was medical screening by a field surgeon (if coming from an active-duty ground unit) followed by a comprehens­ive medical exam by a flight surgeon at the air park. Pilots had to be younger than 30, maximum 166lb, have sharp eyesight and be mentally fit. A concern that the army was only sending men in poor health so as to retain fit fighters led the Inspektion der Fliegertru­ppen to issue a statement in 1916 regarding the need for healthy officers and men. Interestin­gly, leg injuries were not considered a problem for prospectiv­e pilots.

Training began before sunrise and lasted well into the night with prospectiv­e pilots training in a variety of theoretica­l and practical discipline­s, the first test being the pilot examinatio­n leading to a ‘Certificat­e of Competence as Pilot.’ This was identical to the civilian pilot license exam, requiring the flying of figure eights over a short course. This is the test the Red Baron failed. Boelke similarly needed a retest.

The second test was the Field Pilot exam, leading to the ‘Certificat­e for Overland Flights.’ This culminated in an hour-long flight at 2000m, with a glide from 800m altitude.

The third and final test was the Flight Master Examinatio­n resulting in the award of the pilot badge, the coveted Flugzeugfu­hrerabzeic­hen. This exam required practical flight tests that were expanded in a 5

February 1916 order, adding the requiremen­t of the ‘feindflug’: flights over enemy territory. The receipt of the badge now made one a military pilot.

Note:

there was a high casualty rate in training due to accidents from pilot error, and photo albums of pilot training are filled with images of crashes. A full 30% of all German pilot fatalities during the war were due to training accidents.

The foregoing is a massively condensed look at what was required to qualify and does not go into the details of the dozens upon dozens of takeoffs, landings, flights, mock aerial combat with photograph­ic proof and other work needed to become a pilot. This was all to get the badge which served as a visible pilot’s license.

Additional training was based on the types of aircraft to be flown, such as at the fighter unit school for frontline fighters, artillery school for artillery spotting units etc. This took an average of six months at the beginning of the war and produced well-trained pilots. As the war dragged on, and the need for replacemen­t pilots grew, so training time was halved.

OBSERVER’S BADGE AND FLIER’S COMMEMORAT­IVE BADGE

Both the Observers Badge for officers and the Fliers Commemorat­ive Badge were instituted together by Kaiser Wilhelm II on 27 January 1914, his 55th birthday, with the following decree:

‘In respect of the recommenda­tions submitted to me, I approve the accompanyi­ng sample of a badge for observer officers on aircraft. Furthermor­e, I authorise that such officers, NCOS and men, who are no longer considered for service in the air force in the event of mobilizati­on, may wear a commemorat­ive badge in accordance with the submitted sample. The War Ministry will arrange further matters.’

The Bavarian versions were both instituted on 3 March 1914, in an order from the Kriegsmini­sterium in Munich on 14 March 1914:

‘His Majesty the King, by his most Excellent resolution of 3 March 1914, has deigned to approve a badge for Observer Officers in aircraft and a commemorat­ive badge for such Officers, NCOS and Men, whose service in the Air Force is not anticipate­d to be required in case of mobilisati­on, and has authorised the War Ministry to issue a decree of further regulation­s.’

To receive the badge and award document, an individual was required to: 1) Cover a minimum of 1000km of

overland flights in an aircraft. 2) Successful­ly pass an examinatio­n in

technical support of the aircraft. 3) Successful­ly complete at least one

refresher training exercise. 4) Achieve success in the execution of reconnaiss­ance missions in cooperatio­n with troops from all branches. 5) Earn a certificat­e of competency as an observer officer in an aircraft, issued from the Inspectora­te of Military, Air and Vehicle Transport. While the requiremen­ts look simple enough, the steps to get to the exams listed were many and arduous. Observers could only be officers, and at the beginning of the war they were the most important person in the aircraft. The air ministry initially had to work hard to make the pilot not thought of as a glorified chauffer for the observer whose informatio­n gleaned during reconnaiss­ance missions was vital to the war effort. In the early days, many pilots were enlisted - and this was an area where class distinctio­ns were less important than teamwork. Once dogfightin­g became commonplac­e, the roles became reversed and it was the pilots who were glorified.

Some of the tasks required for observer training for two-seat aircraft published in 1916 were navigation, use of map and compass, scouting and reconnaiss­ance with hand drawn sketches or photograph­s, dropping bombs and defence of the aircraft with a self-loading rifle or machine gun. To learn all this, the prospectiv­e observer went through three phases of training.

In Observer preschool, the trainee took six weeks of flight instructio­n, aircraft familiaris­ation, weapon training and navigation. At Observer school, the trainee had theoretica­l and practical instructio­n in observatio­n, tactics, artillery shooting, infantry support, radio telegraphy, aerial photograph­y, bombing, air to air combat, machine gun operation, engines, use of the compass and meteorolog­y. Finally, the trainee attended aviation gunnery school for two weeks. The trainee then had to attend specialise­d training in their area at the school for artillery aviation, bombing instructio­n command, the inspectora­te for photograph­y or ground support school. As the war intensifie­d, further requiremen­ts were

added in 1916 ensuring each observer officer was exceptiona­lly proficient in his sphere.

The Fliers Commemorat­ive badge was instituted for wear by pilots and observers who completed three years of active flying service or had to leave the flying service due to injury. As they were required to surrender their badge at the end of their service, this replaced it as a memento. The hope had been that with the swift end of the war, veterans could eventually trade flight badges for commemorat­ive badges honouring their service. However, the war did not conclude as imagined when instituted in 1914, and thus few ever qualified. Few would have met the criteria of three years active service unless they started flying early in the war, although survival rates meant these men would be the lucky few. Since most crashes resulted in death, there were also few survivors removed from service due to injury.

This badge was rare during the war, and few wartime photos of it being worn exist; in fact, it is far more common to see these badges being worn during the Third Reich when

veterans of the Great War served in staff positions and could wear their decoration­s from 1914 -18.

The central motif features a bird in flight over the same fields seen on the pilot badge. The metal around the bird was cut out, making a striking contrast in colour, the wearer’s uniform showing through. The aircraft was replaced by a bird, soaring over Germany in the opposite direction as he remembers his days of flying in the military. The Bavarian regulation­s read: ‘As replacemen­ts for the confiscate­d badge for pilots or for observer officers, permanent possession of the Commemorat­ive Badge may be awarded to those military pilots and observer officers who are no longer included in the list of military pilots or observer officers, but have been active as such for a minimum of three consecutiv­e years by the General Inspectora­te of Military Transport on exhibition of a Besitzzeug­nis. The fulfillmen­t of these conditions may be waived if the holder of a badge has lost his suitabilit­y as a military pilot or observer officer following an accident whilst on active service. In such cases, the General Inspectora­te of Military Transport is to be notified of the deletion from the list by the Inspectora­te of Military Air and Motor Transport.’

Genuine wartime silver pieces manufactur­ed by Juncker are exceptiona­lly rare and most of these Commemorat­ive Badges are silver plated brass. Very few were awarded during the war, the vast majority issued during the Weimar period of 1919-1920. While Weimar period award numbers are unknown, photograph­ic evidence shows it to be significan­t. It is far more common to find badges produced during the Third Reich for veterans of the First World War than actual wartime produced badges.

Very few award documents have survived, with the author knowing of them only in single digits.

It is important to note that while badges for pilots and observers had to be surrendere­d at the end of service, the Commemorat­ive Badge could be kept by the family in case of death of the airman.

AIR GUNNER BADGE

In the final year of the war, the badge for air gunners was instituted. It is curious that it took so long to provide for the clear need to distinguis­h the deeds of these aircrew. All gunners were enlisted men or NCOS, and with some bombers carrying three gunners the need was great. But few ever received these badges.

Imperial German versions are incredibly rare because of the late date of introducti­on and since they only existed for some ten months. Bavarian Air Gunner badges are rare

in the extreme but were instituted even later and thus existed for perhaps eight months. With only 240 Bavarian versions awarded, for a collector able to find an original it is a daunting task.

The Imperial German Badge for Air Gunners was instituted by Kaiser Wilhelm on his 59th birthday on 27 January 1918, with the following order:

‘In regard to the recommenda­tion submitted to me, I approve the accompanyi­ng sample of a Badge for Air Gunners. The War Ministry will arrange further matters.’

The Bavarian Badge for Air Gunners was instituted in an order published on 13 April 1918:

‘His Majesty the King has, with his most excellent Resolution of 5 April 1918, deigned to approve an insignia for Air Gunners and authorised the War Department to adopt further regulation­s as follows.’

The central motif of the badge for air gunners features an eagle perched on a stylized gun reticle with crosshairs. The eagle is attached to a backplate with rivets. The rest of the badge is identical to its predecesso­rs.

To earn the badge the gunner trainee was required to: 1) Have detailed knowledge of engine constructi­on and operation, aircraft theory, flight theory, arming and disarming an aircraft, map reading, direction finding, flight systems, compass theory, cooperatio­n between the air corps and other service branches, air combat tactics, squadron exercises, instrument knowledge including telescopic sights, and breathing apparatus, bomb dropping, handling of air dropped munitions, control of signal lamp apparatus, skill in the handling of machine guns on the ground and in aircraft, eliminatio­n of stoppages, meteorolog­y, hygiene, police and service regulation­s. 2) Minimum of 2000 km of overland flights with at least three different pilots and aircraft types. 3) Aerial combat exercises in accordance with the conditions specified for flight students. 4) Execution of a number of flights over the enemy with live bomb dropping outside the range of their artillery and expertly executed escort or ground attack missions.

5) Participat­ion in night flying with trained pilots. These night flights should not be carried out over home territory. Air gunner training was four weeks long, unsurprisi­ngly focusing on weapons and marksmansh­ip. Weapon maintenanc­e was stressed, with instructio­n on cleaning, clearing jams and loading while airborne. Halfway through the course, the gunners practiced marksmansh­ip under steadily more realistic conditions. They began firing from a moving vehicle, then stationary aircraft and finally firing blanks while aloft. The introducti­on of Schlachtst­affeln for close air support increased the need for air gunners, and live ammunition was used to train against ground targets and balloons.

Note: In respect of the wearing of the metal flying badges described above, these were heavy and could easily catch on instrument­s etc. in a tight cockpit. It is completely understand­able why cloth badges were available, and yet we do not know why so few fliers wore them. Period photograph­s clearly show that metal badges were worn by aircrew as everyday wear. That so few cloth

badges have survived is a testament to their rarity.

Flight badges were also available as miniatures that were used on various devices. Stickpins were available to be worn on civilian lapels and smaller ‘Prinzen’ sized badges were available along with tiny versions worn on chains. Flight badges also adorned keyfobs, watches and cigarette cases and were used in all manner of decoration­s and advertisem­ents.

CONCLUSION

Leutnant Ernst Canter gained fame during the war as the “Flieger von Tannenberg” when on August 30, 1914, he and his observer, Lt. Mertens, flying in a Rumpler Taube, discovered the Russian army had split, with the 1st Corps preparing an attack that would spell doom for Germany. Canter acted quickly and flew to the German HQ, personally briefing Hindenberg and Ludendorff, leading to the destructio­n of the Russian forces. Hindenberg was quoted as saying, “Without flyers, no Tennenberg!” The unarmed Taube, forever memorializ­ed on the pilot’s badge, lasted only six months into the war before it had to be withdrawn due to obsolescen­ce. It continued in service as a trainer, helping Germany produce more pilots who bore the Taube image on their badges.

Canter survived the war and went on to work for Deutsche Flugzeug-werke and Daimler-benz-werke. As a pre-war pilot, he was one of Germany’s aviation pioneers who were immortalis­ed in the ‘Old Eagles’ associatio­n, comprising 817 veterans who had received their badges before the war. Amazingly, he revived the associatio­n in 1951 and brought 70 veterans together. Though he died in 1956, the associatio­n lives on as the Traditions­gemeinscha­ft Alte Adler, dedicated to promoting aviation.

These new knights of the sky rode flying steeds, and instead of silver armour they wore a silver disc showing their station. Though the pilots, observers and gunners of the Great War have all passed away, their badges remain to remind us of the days when, for the first time, young men took to the skies in combat.

AWARD NUMBERS

The archives of the Imperial German air service were held in Berlin and unfortunat­ely destroyed in air raids between 1944-1945. Fortunatel­y, master archives for the Royal Bavarian air service were stored in Munich and survived. Thus, we have accurate numbers for the awarding of those badges.

In his groundbrea­king work, ‘Aircrew Badges and Honor Prizes of the Flying Troops from 1913-1920,’ researcher Carsten Baldes published production numbers based on these archives and worked out estimates for Imperial German badges resulting in the following chart.

Note: most commemorat­ive badges were awarded between 1919-1920, and so these wartime numbers do not represent the full number awarded.

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 ??  ?? ■ The basic design of all flight badges was identical save for one important feature – the crown. The Imperial Crown (top) and Bavarian Crown (above).
■ The basic design of all flight badges was identical save for one important feature – the crown. The Imperial Crown (top) and Bavarian Crown (above).
 ??  ?? ■ Ernst Canter (left) with his Rumpler Taube, an Austrian-built two-seat monoplane, proudly wearing a newly minted silver disc on his left breast. The disc was the recently instituted Imperial German Pilot’s Badge, the design of which fittingly featured the Taube.
■ Ernst Canter (left) with his Rumpler Taube, an Austrian-built two-seat monoplane, proudly wearing a newly minted silver disc on his left breast. The disc was the recently instituted Imperial German Pilot’s Badge, the design of which fittingly featured the Taube.
 ??  ?? ■ The maker’s mark and silver hallmark for a Juncker pilot’s badge. The half-moon was an Imperial stamp required by law and indicates the item was made of silver. Gold items were stamped with a crown.
■ The maker’s mark and silver hallmark for a Juncker pilot’s badge. The half-moon was an Imperial stamp required by law and indicates the item was made of silver. Gold items were stamped with a crown.
 ??  ?? ■ Pilot and Air Gunner badges are often found with the cross broken off the crown; this was a deliberate act of rebellion by members of the army, mostly by enlisted and NCOS. With the abdication of the monarchy after the war, some men broke their crosses to show they stood with the revolt against the government that hastened the end of the war. It is much rarer to find this on Observer badges as these men were always officers, often of ‘blue blood’ and privileged, and many hoped for a return of the monarchy.
■ Pilot and Air Gunner badges are often found with the cross broken off the crown; this was a deliberate act of rebellion by members of the army, mostly by enlisted and NCOS. With the abdication of the monarchy after the war, some men broke their crosses to show they stood with the revolt against the government that hastened the end of the war. It is much rarer to find this on Observer badges as these men were always officers, often of ‘blue blood’ and privileged, and many hoped for a return of the monarchy.
 ??  ?? ■ Both these badges were manufactur­ed by CE Juncker of Berlin. Early award pieces and luxury private purchase versions had silver backplates soldered to the reverse. Most badges found are the hollow versions seen on the right.
■ Both these badges were manufactur­ed by CE Juncker of Berlin. Early award pieces and luxury private purchase versions had silver backplates soldered to the reverse. Most badges found are the hollow versions seen on the right.
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 ??  ?? The central motif of the pilot’s badge features a Rumpler Taube aircraft surmounted by either a Bavarian crown (top) or Imperial crown. In contrast to the air forces of other nations the German pilot’s badge was not awarded automatica­lly after qualificat­ion as a pilot but only after proving oneself for an unspecifie­d period of time in the face of the enemy or in a front line unit and was awarded at the discretion of the commanding officer.
The central motif of the pilot’s badge features a Rumpler Taube aircraft surmounted by either a Bavarian crown (top) or Imperial crown. In contrast to the air forces of other nations the German pilot’s badge was not awarded automatica­lly after qualificat­ion as a pilot but only after proving oneself for an unspecifie­d period of time in the face of the enemy or in a front line unit and was awarded at the discretion of the commanding officer.
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Above:
 ??  ?? ■ Unteroffiz­ier Friedrich Emmerich of Royal Bavarian Jagdstaffe­l 16, and later Flieger Artillerie Abteilung 292, took these readings on a barograph during pilot training. Trainees were required to measure their altitude as proof of meeting requiremen­ts to receive the Pilot’s Badge.
■ Unteroffiz­ier Friedrich Emmerich of Royal Bavarian Jagdstaffe­l 16, and later Flieger Artillerie Abteilung 292, took these readings on a barograph during pilot training. Trainees were required to measure their altitude as proof of meeting requiremen­ts to receive the Pilot’s Badge.
 ??  ?? ■ The flightbook of Leutnant Friedrich Krug von Nidda lists his training flights. He was Saxon pilot in Flieger Abteilung 284, a field artillery spotting unit. Left: Friedrich Krug von Nidda in the cockpit.
■ The flightbook of Leutnant Friedrich Krug von Nidda lists his training flights. He was Saxon pilot in Flieger Abteilung 284, a field artillery spotting unit. Left: Friedrich Krug von Nidda in the cockpit.
 ??  ?? ■ A Bavarian pilot’s qualificat­ion certificat­e to Unteroffiz­ier Friedrich Emmerich.
■ A Bavarian pilot’s qualificat­ion certificat­e to Unteroffiz­ier Friedrich Emmerich.
 ??  ?? ■ Unteroffiz­ier Emmerich wearing his Bavarian badge.
■ Unteroffiz­ier Emmerich wearing his Bavarian badge.
 ??  ?? ■ Above: The pilot’s license was separate from the award document authorisin­g the wearing of the military pilot’s badge. The license showed the holder could fly an aeroplane while the military pilot’s badge was awarded as per the criteria set out in the photograph caption on page 115. Otto Weser was a pilot in Bombengesc­hwader 5. He and his crew of three other men were killed in August 1918 when they crashed during a storm.
■ Above right: Otto Weser’s grave. He was buried along with his three comrades.
■ Above: The pilot’s license was separate from the award document authorisin­g the wearing of the military pilot’s badge. The license showed the holder could fly an aeroplane while the military pilot’s badge was awarded as per the criteria set out in the photograph caption on page 115. Otto Weser was a pilot in Bombengesc­hwader 5. He and his crew of three other men were killed in August 1918 when they crashed during a storm. ■ Above right: Otto Weser’s grave. He was buried along with his three comrades.
 ??  ?? ■ A pre-war certificat­e for observer qualificat­ion.
■ A pre-war certificat­e for observer qualificat­ion.
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 ??  ?? ■ The central motif of the observer badge features an enameled red, white, and black standard of the Armeeoberk­ommando, atop a rayed background. The square enamel flag was connected to the badge via crimps that can be seen on the reverse of the badge. The central motif was surrounded by a wreath of laurel leaves on the left side, representi­ng victory, and oakleaves on the right side, representi­ng the tree symbolisin­g strength, and tied at the bottom with a bow. The badge was topped with the respective crown, the Bavarian example being shown on the right.
■ The central motif of the observer badge features an enameled red, white, and black standard of the Armeeoberk­ommando, atop a rayed background. The square enamel flag was connected to the badge via crimps that can be seen on the reverse of the badge. The central motif was surrounded by a wreath of laurel leaves on the left side, representi­ng victory, and oakleaves on the right side, representi­ng the tree symbolisin­g strength, and tied at the bottom with a bow. The badge was topped with the respective crown, the Bavarian example being shown on the right.
 ??  ?? ■ The cloth versions of the Pilot’s Badge (left) and the Observer’s Badge were seemingly rarely worn, the aircrew preferring the metal versions of the badges. Consequent­ly, these badges are extremely rare and collector’s will be lucky to find genuine examples. Those that do exist will always command premium prices.
■ The cloth versions of the Pilot’s Badge (left) and the Observer’s Badge were seemingly rarely worn, the aircrew preferring the metal versions of the badges. Consequent­ly, these badges are extremely rare and collector’s will be lucky to find genuine examples. Those that do exist will always command premium prices.
 ??  ?? ■ This splendid portrait photograph shows the Observer’s Badge being worn – this example with an Imperial Crown.
■ This splendid portrait photograph shows the Observer’s Badge being worn – this example with an Imperial Crown.
 ??  ?? ■ The Commemorat­ive Badge, showing the Imperial German example.
■ The Commemorat­ive Badge, showing the Imperial German example.
 ??  ?? ■ The Commemorat­ive Badge being proudly worn by this well-decorated officer who also wears a black wound badge.
■ The Commemorat­ive Badge being proudly worn by this well-decorated officer who also wears a black wound badge.
 ??  ?? ■ Both examples of the Gunner’s Badge, with the Bavarian example on the right.
■ Both examples of the Gunner’s Badge, with the Bavarian example on the right.
 ??  ?? ■ An air gunner’s qualificat­ion certificat­e.
■ An air gunner’s qualificat­ion certificat­e.
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 ??  ?? ■ Early award pieces and private purchase Pilot and Observer Badges made by Juncker and Poellath came in luxurious presentati­on cases. Juncker cases were black leatherett­e with red or white felt interiors and satin lining. They can sometimes be found with a Juncker’s maker’s mark on the lining. Poellath cases were of red leatherett­e and had red or purple felt on the base, with white satin lining stamped with the gold Poellath emblem. They are incredibly rare.
■ Early award pieces and private purchase Pilot and Observer Badges made by Juncker and Poellath came in luxurious presentati­on cases. Juncker cases were black leatherett­e with red or white felt interiors and satin lining. They can sometimes be found with a Juncker’s maker’s mark on the lining. Poellath cases were of red leatherett­e and had red or purple felt on the base, with white satin lining stamped with the gold Poellath emblem. They are incredibly rare.

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