published in: "The Journal
of the Orders and Medals Society of America", volume 52,
number 3, pages 16,17
The Prussian Red Eagle Order is the
German order that has the most variations in its
decorations. It has not only differences in its models
and attachments, but in its ribbons for special awards,
too. There is besides the statute ribbon, a white one
with two orange stripes, the ribbon for war merit in
black with two white stripes, but also the two times
black- and three times white striped ribbon.
What is so special about it ?
Basically it is the same like
the bow for the third and the oak leaf for the 2nd,
1st and grand cross class. It is a sign for an
already awarded lower grade of the order. Someone
who was awarded the 2nd class with oak leaf, has
been awarded with the 3rd class, someone who was
awarded the 3rd class with bow has been awarded with
a 4th class.
The special ribbon (two times
black- and three times white striped) has been
awarded only in combination with swords. It shows
additionally to the bow, that the bearer has also
been awarded with swords in a lower class. Somebody
who was decorated twice for outstanding bravery in
Let's look at the
following example, to see how this could have happened:
During the Colonial Wars
Rittmeister Richard Franz Joseph Haegele was Commander
in the East Asian field bakery. Therefore he has been
awarded with the Red Eagle Order 4th class on October
24, 1901. This is the lowest grade and was, in this
case, worn on the statute ribbon.
Proofed in Asia, he went to
South West Africa (today Namibia). Still a
Rittmeister he had service in the (1. Fuhrpark)
Kolonnenabteilung der Schutztruppe for South West
Africa. Getting somehow involved in the fights
there, he was awarded the swords for his Red Eagle
Order 4th class for outstanding bravery in war
service. The ribbon was now the black one with two
During the wars Haegele became
a Major. He was awarded with a Prussian officer long
service cross (25 years of outstanding service) and
on September 13, 1912, he received a knights cross
first class of the Order of Albert (Saxony Kingdom).
He was then Commander of the Pommerschen Train
Bataillon No. 2.
The outbreak of the First
World War gave him an Iron Cross, that came with the
black ribbon with the two white stripes.
On December 14, 1916, it
happened ! Oberst a.D. Haegele was awarded the Red
Eagle Order third class with bow and swords on the
two times black- and three times white striped
Special ?! Of course, he
belonged to the few (the weekly military newspaper,
Militärwochenblatt, lists only 3 recipients) who
have been awarded with this decoration. The 3rd
class was not often awarded during the First World
War and almost never with swords. There was the Iron
Cross and also the Pour le Mérite that has been less
expensive and more popular.
The other listed recipients of the
rare decoration of the Red Eagle Order were: Oberst z.D.
Schmidt, on December 22, 1917, and Oberst a.D. Klehmet
on May 25, 1918.
© A. Schulze Ising, II/99