Tunic of a German Officer who served on the Bagdad Railway in the First World War
Photos © A Private US Collector

The photographs on this page show a privately tailored tunic made for Oberleutnant Kloevekorn while serving on the Berlin-Bagdad Railway. The tunic is similar in cut to those worn by Train officers of the Prussian army serving in Europe except that it is made of brown corduroy. Further below are shown Oberleutnant Kloevekorn's medals certificates.

  Wilhelm Kloevekorn was made Leutnant der Reserve in the 18th Prussian Samland Pioneer Battalion ("Samländisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 18") on 18th October 1902. This unit was based at Königsberg and suggests he was from East Prussia. In civilian life he was a railway construction and operating inspector and in 1911 he worked on the Tsingtao Railway. In the 1914 Prussian Army List he is noted as a Leutnant der Landwehr Pioniere in Landwehrbezirk I Bremen. During the First  World War he was promoted to Oberleutnant der Landwehr on 8th March 1916 and served as commander of Bauabteilung IV on the Bagdad Railway. Although not fully completed in 1914, the Berlin-Bagdad Railway was an essential link between the German and Ottoman Empires, especially after Bulgaria joined the war on the side of the Central Powers and Rumania surrender, leaving a clear route between the two allies. After the war Kloevekorn returned to working on German railways and continued to do so in the Second World War.  

The tunic is made from heavy duty khaki corduroy in the same cut as that of a Prussian army officers 1910 field grey uniform, note the scalloped rear skirts and the Swedish style cuffs of a train officer. It has an officer's quality silk lining and standing collar. The shoulder straps are those of  Prussian Train Oberleutnant (as displayed by the Prussian black and white threads, the stylised E for "Eisenbahn" or Railway and the single rank pip of an "Oberleutnant" or First Lieutenant).

The main differences between this tunic and one used by a Prussian Train officer on other fronts (apart from the use of corduroy instead of field grey cloth), are the lack of piping and the use of plain buttons. Prussian army buttons would usually have had the royal crown on them but these are plain. They are German made (with "EXTRA FEIN" on the rear) but are similar to those used from 1876 by the Ottoman army, which were also German made. This opens the possibility that this tunic was made by a Turkish rather than a German tailor.

A Prussian Iron Cross, first class is worn on the left breast and an Ottoman War Medal (sometimes known as an Iron Crescent or Gallipoli Star) on the right. As we will see from Kloevekorn's medal certificates below his Iron Cross, first class was was not worn during the First World War as it was only awarded at the very end of the war.

  Wilhelm Kloevekorn's Medal Certificates  


Certificate for the Prussian Iron Cross, second class awarded on 30th August 1917 and signed by General Liman von Saunders.

  Certificate for the Turkish War Medal awarded in 1916 in the name of Enver Pascha. See Axis History Forum for a translation of this document.  

Certificate for the Prussian Iron Cross, first class awarded on 30th October 1918 and signed by General Liman von Saunders. This was the same day that the Ottoman Empire signed the Armistice of Moutros surrendering to the Allied Entente Powers.


  Certificate for the Ottoman Liakat Medal in silver with swords, awarded on the 31st October 1918, signed by General Liman von Saunders. This was the day after the Ottoman Empire surrendered.  

  Certificate for the German Gold Loyal Service Award for 40 years service awarded on 23rd July 1938 and signed by Adolf Hitler.  

Certificate for the German War Service Cross, second class awarded on 1st September 1941 and signed by Adolf Hitler.


These photographs were originally shown on the Pickelhaubes Fourm. Thanks to the Private US Collector for sharing these photographs with us and to Glenn Jewison, Christopher Flaherty, Tosun Saral and Mahmut Hakkı Sevgener for the additional research. Please contact me here if you have more information on this topic. 

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