The Red Cross Award was instituted by Emperor Franz Josef on 17 August 1914 to coincide with the 50th jubilee of the adoption of the Geneva Convention. It was awarded to persons who in peace time had carried out voluntary work for the Austrian Red Cross or who in war time had distinguished themselves through their services. It was issued according to six grades:
– Merit cross
– 1st class cross
– Officer’s decoration
– 2nd class cross
– Silver medal
– Bronze medal
The first four grades took the form of the cross of St. Rupert, a cross pattée with a longer lower arm, made of enamelled silver, red in the centre and bordered with white. The white enamelled centrefield showed the Red Cross on the obverse, ringed by the inscription PATRIAE AC HUMANITATI (country and humanity), and the years 1864 and 1914 on the reverse for the 1st and 2nd classes. The war decoration was represented by a green enamel wreath of oak and laurel leaves placed over the left and right sides of the cross.
Captain Josef Kolbe received the Red Cross Award, 2nd class, with the war decoration, in 1915 while serving with the German Army of the Bug. It is pictured below on his left breast suspended on a white tri-fold with two red outer stripes.
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