A Rare Great War D.C.M. Group Attributed to a Czech Legionnaire
A rare Great War D.C.M. group of eight attributed to Lieutenant Josef Novak, a Czech Legionnaire Czechoslovakia, War Cross 1918; Revolution Medal 1918; Victory Medal 1918, official type 2; Volunteer Cross 1918-19; F.I.D.A.C. Medal for Veterans 1918-19; Zborov Commemorative Medal 1917-47; Volunteers Commemorative Medal 1918-38, with bronze emblem on riband; Great Britain, Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R., unnamed as issued to foreign nationals, generally very fine, Footnote: As is nearly always the case, no verification has been found for this particular award of the D.C.M., but it is worth noting that Abbott & Tamplin state 290 such decorations were issued to Czech Legionnaires. Josef Novk was born in March 1890, in Cholina, in the district of Litovel in the western part of Moravia. Appointed a Private in the Austro-Hungarian Army, he was ordered to the Eastern Front during the winter of 1915, where with many thousands of like minded Slavacs, he deserted to the Russian lines in May 1916. Entering the Czechoslovak Legions in October 1917, he was sent to reinforce the 1st Regiment after the battle at Zborov, following which he joined the 3rd Company of the 7th Shooters Regiment and participated in another famous battle of the Czechoslovak Legions, namely the engagement at Bachmac, north-east of Kyjev, in mid-March 1918. So, too, in further actions at Novonikolajevsk, Irkutsk, Kaul, Celjabinsk, Tomsk and Krasnojarsk, in addition to defending the Trans-Siberian railroad in the sector of Novonikolajevsk-Tomsk. Returning to Czechoslovakia via Vladivostok, Japan, Ceylon, Egypt and Italy, in July 1918, his service in the Legion officially ended on 23 July 1920, but in common with other ex-Legionnaires, he was persuaded to stay in the armed forces and help to build the new Czechoslovak Army. Novk was subsequently commissioned and served in various infantry units mainly in Prague and Hradec Kralove, and finally retired as a Lieutenant in 1932. Unfortunately, nothing further is known about him after his military career, although he is recorded as a member of Czechoslovak Legionnaires Veterans Association as late as 1948, the year after he had been awarded his Zborov Medal - as granted to those who arrived on the scene shortly after the battle. Sold with a quantity of original documentation, including the recipients award document for his Volunteer Cross 1918-19, his Czech Legion service record, Czech Legionnaires Club identity card, and four Great War period photographs.