Medals often mistaken for the Pour le Mérite

Upon several occassions visitors to the website have brought up interesting questions about recipients and the medals that they are wearing. One of the most perplexing questions that plague visitors is, Why isn't this person listed as a recipient? I have a picture of them and it looks like they are wearing a Pour le Mérite? Often it is unclear photography that leads one to conclude that the person in the photo is wearing a Pour le Mérite. I have encountered three awards that look similar to the Pour le Mérite. There are probably more. I have two listed below. The third one is some kind of Third Reich medal that mimics the Pour le Mérite and should not be confused with an Order that was only given out by Prussian royality.

We hope that this little section will answer more questions that visitors have about the medals and recipients.
Herr Kapitänleutnant Felix Graf von Luckner

Prussian Order of St.John (Johanniterorden)

To the left is a picture of the famed Captain of the Seeadler, Felix von Luckner. He has an impressive German Navy dress coat filled with medals and honors and wears a Maltese Cross at his throat in the fashion that one would wear the Pour le Mérite. But the cross has such a high reflection of light in the photo that it would be easy to assume that he is wearing a the Pour le Mérite. Instead he is wearing another great honor at his throat, the Ehrenritterkreuz (Honor Knights Badge). It looks pretty similar to the Pour le Mérite, but is white enamleded and has no inscription. If you want to know more about this remarkable man go to any search engine and type in his name or take a look at this link for some quick biographical information.

picture of von Luckner supplied by Walt Redling and research verification from Andreas of

Order of St. John of Jerusalem aka Knights of Malta

The birth of the Order dates back to around 1042. According to the chronicles, merchants from the ancient Marine Republic of Amalfi obtained from the Caliph of Egypt the authorisation to build a church, convent and hospital in Jerusalem, to care for pilgrims of any religious faith or race. The Order of St. John of Jerusalem - the monastic community that ran the hospital for the pilgrims in the Holy Land. To learn more go the Order's website. The images to the right are both Maltese Crosses of the Holy Military Order. (Not sure why one is silver looking and the other gold... We'll ask someone about that.)

Medal Photo Gallery
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Oak Leaves
Grand Cross