Order of the White Eagle with Swords (fourth class) with case from French maker, Arthus Bertrand. Miniature Order of the White Eagle with Swords. French medal set consisting mainly of French awards (1914-1918 War Cross with a palm and two stars, Combatant's Cross, 1914-1918 Inter-Allied Victory medal, 1914-1918 Commemorative war medal, Orient Campaign medal, and Order of Academic Palms), as well as an Order of the Serbian White Eagle with Swords - with a rosette on the ribbon and silver bars typical of French awards of this nature - and a Serbian 1914-1918 Commemorative medal. Lapel badge for a member of the post-war 'Association of the Holders of the Order of the White Eagle with Swords'. Award certificate for the Order of White Eagle with Swords, fourth class.
The Serbian Order of the White Eagle was first instituted in 1883 for special achievements in service of the Serbian nation, state, or Crown, and was available in 5 classes. Until 1898, the Order of the White Eagle was the highest award in Serbia. On 28 May 1915, a War Merit Division of the Order of the White Eagle was instituted and the design would remain the same as the White Eagle except for the addition of two, crossed swords above the eagle. The '1882' on the reverse of the medal is to commemorate the year that Serbia was established as a Kingdom. The Order was awarded only to officers, Serbian and Allied forces, as a sign of acknowledgement of services rendered in wartime. When the war broke out, and in the period just before, relations between Serbia and Austria worsened, and this also included regarding the sale and supply of medals, where Austrian medal makers, who had hitherto made many of the Serbian awards until then, ceased supplying Serbia with manufactured medals and orders, and so supply was switched to French and Swiss makers. The award pictured here with its presentation case, was made by the French firm of Arthus Bertrand, is fourth class, which meant that it was to be worn from the second-from-top uniform jacket button-hole. This particular award is from before 1918 because, in that year, the company logo printed inside the lid of the case was changed to 'Arthus Bertrand at Cie'. Also shown in this set is a miniature Order of the White Eagle with Swords alongside the regular version, and also a set of French medals, which also features an Order of the White Eagle with Swords. After the war, the 'Association of the Holders of the Order of the White Eagle with swords' was formed, and their membership lapel badge is shown here. Finally, an award certificate for an Order of the White Eagle with Swords, fourth class. This example was given to Serbian Infantry Lieutenant-Colonel Stevan R. Petrovic. This was for meritorious effort in 1915, though this certificate, written in Serbian Cyrillic, was only finally awarded in 1926, but this wasn't untypical, with those awarded orders or medals sometimes receiving their certificates many years after the end of the war. Items of note include that the award was in the name of Serbian King Peter I, leader of the Serbian Nation and Army in the First World War, but who had died in 1921, before this certificate was awarded, and described as the King of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which was the name of the country formed after the end of the war and that was later changed, in 1929, to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Also mentioned in the award titling, after the King, is his successor to the throne, his son, Alexander. The certificate was produced by the Army Geographical Institute, in Belgrade.