Campaign Medal ("China-Denkmünze") was instituted by
Kaiser Wilhelm II in May 1901 and was awarded to all Germans
who served in China during the Boxer Rebellion between 30th
May 1900 and 29th June 1901. A non-combatant award was given
to those back home in Germany who assisted in the war
The ribbon was white with
vertical stripes of black, red, yellow, red and black. As
can be seen from the photographs below these distinctive
stripes are clearly noticeable in monochrome. The medal
itself was a brass disc (for combatants) edged with laurel
leaves depicting a German eagle victorious over a Chinese
dragon on the obverse. The reverse of the medal was
again edged with laurel leaves and showed a crowned "W II"
monogram and the motto "DEN SIEGREICHEN STREITERN- 1900
CHINA 1901" (roughly translated as "To the victorious
clasps ("Spange") were authorised for private
purchase with the medal, for example "TAKU", "SEYMOURE-EXPEDITION"
(sic), "PEKING" and “PEITANG-FORTS”. The title in the clasp
often gives a clue as to the branch of service in which the
original owner served.
Taking the examples above, The
clasp was awarded to crews of the German naval ships
(including SMS Iltis, SMS Hertha, SMS Hansa and SMS Gefion)
that took part in the bombardment and successful storming of
the Taku Forts that allowed allied forces access to Peking.
SEYMOURE-EXPEDITION clasp was awarded to the German sailors
of the SMS Iltis, SMS Hertha, SMS Hansa, SMS Kaiserin
Augusta and SMS Gefion who took part in the first allied
attempt to relieve Peking under the British Vice-Admiral
The PEKING clasp was only
authorised for the members of the III. Seebataillon who
served under Leutnant Graf von Soden at the siege of the
foreign legations in Peking. While the PEITANG-FORTS clasp
was awarded to members of the East Asian Expeditionary
Corps, primarly soldiers of the 1st and 3rd
East Asian Infantry Rgiments.
photographs do however show that clasps were sometimes worn
by veterans who do not always fit these criteria. As the
clasps were privately purchased rather than officially
awarded the system was open to manipulation.
The non-combatants' version
of the China Campaign Medal was identical except that it was
made from polished steel and had the motto "VERDIENST UM
DIE EXPEDITION NACH CHINA“ ("served in the expedition to
China") on the reverse. Non-combatants medals were not
officially awarded with campaign bars though some had
unofficial clasps, one non-combatants medal seen in a
private collection has the clasp "OSTASIA EXPED KPS"
(East Asian Expeditionary Corps). This was not an official
clasp for the combatants' China Medal either.
Traditionsverband China Medal,
Medal Hound article on China Clasps and a discussion on
China Medal at the
Gentlemen's Military Interest Club