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 war service.

Let's look at the following example, to see how this could have happened:

 Ribbon Bar Oberst a.D. Haegele

 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 white stripes.

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 ribbon.

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.

Haegele Group

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