© Hendrik Meersschaert 2017
WORLD WAR II ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES
The Military Medal
Instituted on 30 October 1945 this bronze medal is the highest military decoration awarded in Luxembourg. Exceptionally distinguished military achievements by either Luxemburgers or foreigners are the criteria.
The obverse shows the head of Grand Duchess Charlotte while the reverse bears the crowned coat of arms of Luxembourg and the figures 19 - 40 on each side of the shield. The ribbon is blue with a narrow orange centre stripe and orange edges.
This decoration has been awarded very sparingly and amongst its recipients are Winston Churchill, Field-Marshall Montgomery, General Eisenhower, Prince Charles of Belgium and General de Gaulle. It was also awarded posthumously to the American Unknown Soldier and to U.S. General Cassidy. In 2002 it was also conferred on the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg for his part in the liberation of the country in 1944-45.
A silver gilt palm to be worn on the ribbon of the crosses and medals of this order was created in 1945. It served to distinguish patriotic acts performed by members of the grand ducal household or soldiers who had joined the armed forces before the war.
The Order of Adolph of Nassau with palm
The War Cross
The Luxembourg Croix de Guerre was created on 17 April 1945 as an award to military personnel and members of the resistance or other para-military organisations.
The obverse medallion has a crowned "C" (Charlotte, the Grand Duchess) while the reverse has the year "1940". The ribbon is blue with orange edges and three orange stripes in the centre.
The Medal for Luxembourg Volunteers of the War
This medal, instituted on 12 September 1945, was awarded to Luxembourg volunteers that served with the allied armies or the resistance between 10 May 1940 and 8 May 1945. Its obverse shows the seal of John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia (killed in the battle of Crécy in 1346) with the inscription "LUCEMBURGUM VIRTUTI". The top and bottom arms of the cross are lettered "Crécy" and "1346". The reverse shows a British type helmet over the dates "1940" and "1945" and on the cross arms are mentioned some of the WW2 theatres of war : "ANGLETERRE/NORMANDIE", "AFRIQUE DU NORD/ITALIE", "RHENANIE/EUROPE CENTRAL" and "BELGIQUE/HOLLANDE".
The Emblem for Wounded
A ribbon emblem, consisting of a silver 5 pointed star, was instituted on 24 May 1951 to recognize those wounded in action. It is worn on the above Medal for Luxembourg Volunteers.
The Order of the Resistance
Non-military personnel who rendered distinguished services to the Luxembourg nation were entitled to this order founded by the Grand Duchess Charlotte on 30 March 1946. Two classes were instituted, a cross and a medal, but apparently only the cross seems to have been awarded. Its obverse medallion shows a crowned lion's head with a border inscribed "1940-1944. JE MAINTIENDRAI" (I will maintain). The reverse has a large "R" (Resistance).
The medal serves to reward those that - in the course of the war and risking their lives, their family or their property - helped persecuted Luxemburgers from being arrested by the occupying forces.
The Medal of National Gratitude