Friday, 24 September 2010

Decoration for Important War Service, with the clasp Guinea 1869-1870

Apart from the Medal for Bravery and Loyalty Guinea 1869-1870, about which I wrote before, there was one other military decoration with a special variant issued for service in the Dutch Gold Coast. This was the Decoration for Important War Service, with the clasp Guinea 1869-1870 ("Ereteken voor Belangrijke Krijgsbedrijven, met de gesp Guinea 1869-1870").

This decoration was commonly also known as the Expedition Cross or the Cross for War Service. It is a Dutch military decoration, instituted 19 February 1869 by King Willem III, and issued to all officers, non-commissioned officers and men who took part in certain important military expeditions. The decoration was issued for participation, rather than merit, although two crossed swords or a silver crown, attached to the ribbon, would indicate ownership of an honorary sabre or a mention in despatches respectively.

The cross itself was produced from a cheap silver-coloured metal named Nickel silver, also known as German silver or alpaca, an alloy of copper with nickel and zinc. On the front it bears the portrait of King Willem III of the Netherlands (reigned 1849-1890), framed by a garter and the text "VOOR BELANGRIJKE KRIJGSVERRIGTINGEN". The four arms of the cross bear the monogram of the founder, a "W". The ribbon is divided in three vertical bars, namely two narrow ones in yellow on the sides and a wide one in green in the middle.

On the ribbon one or more metal clasps could be attached with the name(s) of the expedition(s) the bearer participated in. Thirty-two clasps referred to various expeditions in the Netherlands East Indies, held between 1846 and 1942. Only one clasp, "Guinea 1869-1870", was issued for service on the Dutch Gold Coast, in the same expedition for which the Medal for Bravery and Loyalty Guinea 1869-1870 was instituted (go there for details). The decoration was issued both to the European expeditionary troops that fought in this war, and the local African troops in Dutch service.

Ereteken voor Belangrijke Krijgsbedrijven, Wikipedia NL.

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