1914-1916 – BOXED – AVIATION UNIT GROUP .
I was quite taken with this group when it was offered to me. It is not splashy or significant, but does have great personality. It starts with an interesting box, measuring 1 ½” x 4 ½” x 6 ½,” that holds the group’s other items. A red, black, and white (Imperial Germany’s national colors) silk ribbon is placed diagonally across the box’s upper left top corner. The top also features the word Kriegserinnerungen (War Memories), as well as a small 1914 Iron Cross, and the dates 1914-1916, all embossed on it in silver.
The box has a small snap that REMAINS intact, despite the passage of more than one-hundred-years and much handling by an unknown number of individuals. Two compartments are available within the box. The compartment on the right measures 3” x 4.” Fitted neatly into it is a 2 ¾” x 3 ¾” cardboard box (covered by a slipcase) that contains a bronze or brass table medal/plaque. It is engraved near its top with the words “Die/Jungflieger/Staffel” (The/Young Fliers’/Echelon). Below that a flight of five biplanes is shown sailing across the sky above a crowd of spectators. The various spectators are standing beside a fence, with a pennant on a flagpole flying above them. The table medal/plaque’s quality and sharpness are both first-rate, and the entire arrangement slips neatly into its section.
The left fitted section measures 2 ¼” x 4,” and contains a pedestal designed to display a 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class, which is in place with its original ribbon. Its jump ring sports the Wilm hallmark for one of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s house jewelers, indicating it was probably privately-purchased. Both the Iron Cross and the original ribbon are in spectacular condition. They are the finest that I have seen in quite awhile!
The group’s final piece is an NCO’s original photograph. It appears that he may be standing in a cemetery. The photograph’s top features the following printed in black ink. Zur Erinnerung an den Feldzug 1914/? (In Memory of the Campaign) 1914/?)/Rußland, Kurland, Kliwenhof den 15.IV.17 (Russia, Courland, from 15.4.17). [Following Russia’s Great Retreat of 1915, Courland (the western part of Latvia) came under control of the Imperial German Army’s Easter Front commander, Paul von Hindenburg].
It is a fascinating, attractive group.