Bar with the Ottoman War Medal and Clasp

Photo Faruk Canbaz of Turkish Militaria

The medals on this bar from left to right are-
Prussian Iron Cross, second class
Ottoman War Medal
, with unofficial "GAZA" clasp
1914-18 Honour Cross for combatants

The original owner of this medal bar served on the Gaza Front during the First World War probably as part of the Pascha I Expedition in 1916-17. The Ottoman War Medal (also known as the Eiserne Halbmond to the Germans and the Gallipoli Star to the British) was commonly awarded to German officers and other ranks serving alongside Ottoman forces in the First World War. What is unusual in several ways is its appearance here.

Firstly, the Ottoman War Medal was not authorised to be worn on a medal bar but as a breast badge, usually on the right hand side. This unauthorised use of the medal on the bar was not entirely uncommon with veterans.

Secondly, the clasp itself is unauthorised. No campaign clasps were authorised for the Ottoman War medal but several unofficial ones were privately made in the post war years.

Thirdly, the position of the medal ahead of a German award is highly irregular. All German medals wee to be worn before foreign ones according to regulations.

These irregularities would suggest that this bar was only worn in civilian life after the owner had retired from military service. To confirm this,  the Honour Cross was instituted in 1934, almost twenty years after the owner had won his Iron Cross and Ottoman War Medal, yet he has no Long Service Award for the years in between.

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