HOME
TheInfoList



The Military William Order, or often named Military Order of William ( Dutch: Militaire Willems-Orde,
abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for example, the word ''abbrevia ...
: MWO), is the oldest and highest honour of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Order is named after St. William of Gellone (755–814), the first
Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or ...
. The Order's motto is ''Voor Moed, Beleid en Trouw'' (For Bravery, Leadership and Loyalty). The chivalric order was established on 30 April 1815 by King
William I
William I
and was presented for feats of excellent bravery on the battlefield and as a meritorious decoration to senior military officers. Comparable with the French Légion d’Honneur but far less often awarded, the Military William Order is a chivalry order of merit open to everyone regardless of rank and nobility, and not only to Dutch military but also foreigners. To date membership of the Order is extremely rarely awarded and only for excellent bravery in battle. In the spring of 1940 it was decided that civilians would receive the Military Order of William for heroic acts in the resistance. After the liberation of the Netherlands and the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the admini ...
, several men and one woman from the resistance were awarded the Military Order of William.


History

Most knighthoods of the Military Order of William were awarded in 1815 and shortly afterwards to military of the Allies that fought
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
at the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo, Belgium, Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the ...

Battle of Waterloo
, in total 1,005 knighthoods were awarded at this time. The Grand Cross was awarded to Prince William of Orange, the Duke of Wellington, Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt, Graf von Bülow von Dennewitz and Graf von
Gneisenau
Gneisenau
. During the 19th century the Military William Order was awarded to military serving in the campaign against the
Belgian Revolution The Belgian Revolution (, ) was the conflict which led to the secession of the southern provinces (mainly the former Southern Netherlands) from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium. ...
and military serving in the Netherlands East Indies, mostly in the Aceh War. Until 1940, a total of 5,874 persons had been awarded the Military Order of William. In 1940, the Order was awarded to soldiers who had served with extreme valour in the defence of Netherlands from the 10 May attack by Nazi-Germany. In 1944 and 1945, with the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation, the Military William Order was again awarded, this time to Netherlands citizens as well as members of the Allied Forces for deeds of gallantry. Of the 3,500 servicemen who served in the Netherlands United Nations Detachment in Korea, three servicemen – two posthumously – were admitted to the Order. Since 1940, 199 names have been added to the register of the Military Order of William. The latest conflict that has been cause for the honour to be awarded is the ongoing war in Afghanistan. On 29 May 2009 a ceremony was held at which the knights met, at Queen Beatrix's bestowal of the knighthood (fourth class) of the Order on Marco Kroon, platoon commander with the Korps Commandotroepen, at the Binnenhof, in The Hague. Kroon was honoured for conspicuous bravery, leadership, and devotion to duty during his service in Afghanistan from March to August 2006. The knights met on 4 December 2014 at King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander's bestowal of the knighthood (fourth class) of the Order on Gijs Tuinman, commander with the Korps Commandotroepen, at the Binnenhof, in The Hague. The knights met on 31 August 2018 at King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander's bestowal of the knighthood (fourth class) of the Order on Roy de Ruiter (military), Roy de Ruiter, (reserve-) Major, Royal Netherlands Airforce. Sadly Maj. Kenneth Mayhew, 101 at the time, was unable to attend the ceremony on 31 August 2018, which he explained in an interview broadcast on Dutch National Television during the ceremony.


Ranks

By 1945, the following classes of the Military William Order were in existence. * Knight Grand Cross – wears the badge on a sash on the right shoulder, plus the star on the left chest; * Commander – wears the badge on a necklet, plus an identical breast cross on the left chest; * Knight 3rd Class – wears the badge on a ribbon with rosette (decoration), rosette on the left chest; * Knight 4th Class – wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest. The Grand Cross could also be awarded as an exceptional presentation to heads of state which had displayed feats of loyalty to the Netherlands during wartime. Only US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and the British King George VI of the United Kingdom, George VI were conferred such an honour. In the 19th century, the Grand Cross was often conferred on foreign monarchs as a mere mark of respect. The 4th Class could also be awarded as a unit presentation to military commands which had displayed feats of gallantry during wartime.


Insignia

The ''badge'' of the Order is a white-enamelled Maltese Cross, in silver for the 4th Class and in Gilding, gilt for higher classes; a green enamelled Burgundy Cross appears between the arms of the Maltese Cross. The obverse bears a golden firesteel at the centre, and the motto ''Voor Moed – Beleid – Trouw'' (For Bravery – Leadership – Loyalty) on the arms of the Maltese Cross. Both the Burgundy Cross and the firesteel were symbols of the House of Valois-Burgundy during their lordship of the Netherlands and probably are meant to recall its crucial unifying role in the history of the Netherlands. The reverse central disc bears a crowned monogram "W" (for William I of the Netherlands, King William I) surrounded by a laurel wreath. The badge hangs from a royal crown. The ''star'' of the Grand Cross is a silver, 8-pointed star with straight rays; the obverse of the badge of the Order, minus the crown, appears at its centre. The ''breast cross'' of the Commander is completely identical to the obverse of the badge of the Order. The ''ribbon'' of the Order is orange (Royal House of Orange) with blue (Nassau-blue) stripes near the border.


Knighthood oath

The oath to be taken by the accolade to the Military Order of William states: "I swear that I shall conduct myself as a faithful and valiant Knight, to stand ever ready to defend King and Country with my Life, and with all my Powers to always strive to be worthy of this Distinction, which the King has bestowed upon me. So help me God almighty."


Unit award

To be awarded the Military William Order a military unit must distinguish itself in battle to such a degree as would warrant the personal presentation of the Military William Order. The unit's colours, standards and guidons, Regimental Colour are decorated with the badge of the 4th Class itself, which hangs from the colours, standards and guidons#See also, finial of the pike. The version of the Military William Order for unit members is known as the Orange Lanyard. Only those who served in a military unit at the particular time of action are entitled to wear the Orange Lanyard. The Orange Lanyard is worn as a cord around the right shoulder and can be worn simultaneously with the French or Belgian Croix de guerre, Fourragère of the Croix de guerre. The Orange Lanyard is considered a permanent decoration and is worn for the duration of a military member's career. The military units or Formation (military), formations that were awarded the Military William Order or continue their traditions are: * The 7th Field Battalion of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL) (1849) – no longer existing * The 3rd Field Battalion of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL) (1877) – no longer existing * The Marechaussee Corps of Aceh and Dependencies of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL) (1930) – no longer existing * The Royal Netherlands Air Force that continues the traditions of: ** the Military Air Arm in the Netherlands (18 May 1940) – no longer existing ** the Military Air Arm of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (1942) – no longer existing * The Netherlands Naval Aviation Service, Royal Netherlands Naval Aviation Service of the Royal Netherlands Navy (1942) * The U.S. 82nd Airborne Division for gallantry during Operation Market Garden (1944) * The Garderegiment Fuseliers Prinses Irene, 'Prinses Irene' Fusilier Guards Regiment that continues the traditions of the Royal Netherlands 'Prinses Irene' Brigade (1945) * The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (1946) * The Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Service of the Royal Netherlands Navy (1947) * The Regiment Van Heutsz, 'Van Heutz' Regiment of the Royal Netherlands Army that continues the traditions of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL) (1972) * The Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade for gallantry during Operation Market Garden in 1944 (31 May 2006) – no longer existing * The Korps Commandotroepen (15 March 2016) Most military units or formations of the Netherlands and foreign armed forces were decorated as a consequence of their actions during the Second World War. In 2016 the Korps Commandotroepen were awarded the Military William Order for their actions in Afghanistan.


Current living members

, there are only four living knights of the Military William Order; one is over 100 years old. Below a list of the names of the living knights, in order of the order being awarded. Between brackets the date when they were inducted into the Order: * : Maj. Kenneth Mayhew (24 April 1946) * : Maj. Marco Kroon (29 May 2009) * : Lt.Col. Gijs Tuinman (4 December 2014) * : Maj. Roy de Ruiter (military), Roy de Ruiter (31 August 2018)


Privileges

Members of the Military William Order are awarded certain privileges: * When wearing the decorations, a member must be saluted by all Dutch military personnel regardless of rank or branch. * Once a year all members of the Order are invited to the Noordeinde Palace, palace by the monarch on the ''Ridderdag'' (Knights day). * Individual members of the Order are granted an annual pension by the Dutch state, when they receive it while holding a rank below officer. * Individual members of the Order are granted a military funeral. * Members of the Order are granted VIP seats during military ceremonies, Prinsjesdag, the annual address of parliament by the monarch and during state funerals.


See also

* Order of the Netherlands Lion * Order of Orange Nassau * Dutch Cross of Resistance


References


External links

*
Military order of William – Ministry of Defence

Revised law on the Military William Order
- wetten.overheid.nl
Regulations on the Military William Order
- wetten.overheid.nl {{Authority control Military Order of William, Awards established in 1815 Orders of chivalry of the Netherlands, Military William Order 1815 establishments in the Netherlands