GERMANY – GORGET – VETERANS GROUP FLAG BEARER’S
Veterans’ groups were very popular in Germany, both before and after WW I. Groups of all sorts met in cities and towns all over Germany. These groups were all-encompassing, and regional as well as regimental in nature. Some of the items coming from these groups are as simple as badges. Others are more complex. If a group had a meeting room, for example, they might have displayed a wall flag or perhaps a smaller flag was mounted as a banner to be displayed on a desk or podium. These flags generally were quite ornate. Most were embroidered and quite colorful. Larger groups often had larger flags that were attached to flagpoles, much like the regimental and national colors that were carried at a regiment’s head when on parade. The man selected to bear an active army unit’s or veterans’ group’s colors was known as the Fahnenträger (standard-bearer). This man wore a ringkragen (gorget), a shield that was suspended from a chain. It was hung around his neck (the shield rested on his chest). It is also important to note that a Fahnenträger wore a special patch on his tunic sleeve called a kragenspiegel.
The gorget comes from a veteran’s group rather than an active military example. The shield is shaped in what I would term a gentle triangle. It has two distinct sides. The top has a dip in it rather than running in a straight line. It measures 3″ x 6 1/2,” The shield is gold-toned and shows some toning due to age. Laid onto the gold-toned base is a silver-toned arrangement that consists of two flags/banners bordering the central piece, along with scattered laurel leaves. The central piece is oval-shaped and measures 2 1/4″ x 4 3/4.” The material is more of a polished silver that displays the legend “19 Berlin.” One can speculate that it was Infanterie-Regiment Nr 19, Dragoner-Regiment Nr 19, Husaren-Regiment Nr 19, Ulanen-Regiment Nr 19, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 19, Fußartillerie, Train-Abteilung, or Pionier-Bataillon Nr 19. I do not have a good feel that this was any of these units (none were garrisoned in Berlin and, in fact, many were from Württemberg or Saxony). Perhaps the “19” designation was for a district or something else. The obverse’s final feature is two silver-toned buttons that look similar to pips that one might see on certain officer’s shoulder boards. Its multilinked chain is also gilt-toned and quite decorative. The reverse sports a felt backing. The chain’s fastening clip features the Berlin manufacturer’s name, “HCH. Timm.” Overall, it is in good condition. It would make a fine addition to a veterans’ collection displayed with similar items, or on its own.