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"Order of St. Sava in WWI?" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian12 Nov 2023 10:47 p.m. PST

Charles T Griffith served in the National Guard (1st Maryland), which became the 115th Infantry, and fought in the center sector at the Meuse-Argonne battles.

Somewhat mysteriously, he is noted as having received the Order of St. Sava (a Serbian award). As far as I know, he has no association with Serbia. However, the award has been given to many prestigious people (i.e., Helen Keller), and it comes in various levels of honor.

Curious if anyone knows more about Serbian awards in WWI?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2023 8:44 a.m. PST

What document notes that he received the decoration?

Maybe you can find something here.


I've had a few Serbian pieces pass in and out of my collection over the years, but never one of the enamel or order pieces.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian13 Nov 2023 9:36 a.m. PST

The info comes from an online database at based on Maryland in the World War, 1917-1919; Military and Naval Service Records. Vol. I-II. Baltimore, MD, USA: Twentieth Century Press, 1933.

Duncan Adams13 Nov 2023 10:38 a.m. PST


One of my relatives, great uncle Alvin A Cox, has the same Serbian citation in the same source. Also MD National Guard (4th) and then 115th. I'm also curious about the award.

Here is his record as listed there:
NG pvt; pvt 1c 10/14/18,
Co K 4 Md. Inf;
Sup Co 115 Inf 10/5/17;
Co G 115 Inf 11/5/17;
Co A 116 Engrs 4/21/18;
Co B 30 Engrs 5/9/18;
Co B 1 Gas Regt 7/13/18,
Hon disch 2/15/19,
Overseas 4/6/18 to 2/2/19,
Toul-Boucq Sector;


Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2023 11:07 a.m. PST

Obviously it was more common to award medals to allies who fought literally alongside one another, e.g., the many men and units awarded the French Croix de Guerre. However, awards were also bestowed in other cases, typically at or after the end of a conflict. Here is a link showing medals awarded to US personnel for WWI service.


It would be interesting to learn whether he was nominated based on specific actions or overall good service, and how the selection process worked. Did the Serbian military mission on the Western Front acknowledge these men or was it a case of "We want to give medals to Americans, send us some candidates,"? Perhaps his detailed military record sheds light on this.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian14 Nov 2023 5:26 a.m. PST

I have even found a case of a soldier who received the award (according to the database), who never served overseas! Maryland soldier in the engineers.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 9:49 a.m. PST

I belong to a WWI collector's group. Let me see if any of those guys knows anything about this conundrum.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 12:44 p.m. PST

Here's what I've got so far:

The 29th Divisional history index doesn't mention the award.

Is there any primary source documentation?

Did these men receive any other decorations for bravery? Montenegro gave out some decorations to AEF members because they were touched by their stories of bravery. Perhaps the Serbs did the same.

Some decorations could be allotted to allied countries to hand out as they wished.

FatherOfAllLogic15 Nov 2023 6:56 a.m. PST

Dignitaries could have been visiting and saw the men doing something "heroic" and were rewarded with a foreign medal.

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