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Military History/Identification of Uniform


A relative?
A relative?  
Dear Dr Claes-Gustaf Nordquist,
Would you be kind enough to help identify Army and rank of the individual in the photo I have attached. His photo is in our family album but we have no idea who he is but assume Prussian/German. We think the photo was taken during the 1870's/80's.
Thank  you in anticipation of your help.

This is really outside my field of expertise. I used to get help with these matters by a good friend, a lt.col.,who was a great expert of old uniforms. Unfortunately he has passed away. What I see in the picture is an obvious German/Prussian officer. If the time frame you mention is correct then he probably is both! The German Empire, founded just after 1870 and existing until late 1918 was in reality a federation of numerous kingdoms and principalities. The Emperor was Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia, the largest German member state. The Army and its general staff was Imperial German - like the Navy - but the regiments belonged to the German states. So in the case of Prussia they were Royal Prussian Regiments. In this case I can definitely say that he is Prussian since the location of the photographer is Posen which was a city in Prussia. Today it is in Poland and called Poznan. The uniform is a typical German Army officer uniform of the time we have mentioned. Unfortunately I can not see any regimental insignia - they are usually on the outer side of the shoulders - but it is probable that he belongs to a regiment in Posen. I do not understand old German rank insignia so I can not tell you his rank. But he has a most impressive collection of medals on his chest! I can not tell you what they are but one stands out in particular! It is his neck order medal hanging just below his throat. I can not tell you what it is but it is something significant! If you direct your question to the German military attaché in the German embassy in London - they have a web site that Google will find for you - and enclose the picture I am quite certain that they can tell you all the things I can not and perhaps even identify this gentleman with name and birth dates and everything! Good luck!

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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.


I`m a retired Swedish military physician-surgeon with a big interest in military history - mainly European and especially of the Nordic-Scandinavian area. This also includes the history of military medicine.


A very long and intense personal interest.

Doctor of Medicine. You can also find me here on under these categories: I also answer questions in other categories: Oncology (General Cancer), General History, Brain Tumors, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer

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