Among the cap badges, the hand painted enamel badges are the most appealing. Several units of the Navy of the Monarchy received such beautiful, so to speak, exclusive badge. Even the units of the Danube Flotilla, the monitors. The question arises as to who financed such exclusive and expensive badges for the crews of only a few hundred men in the smaller ship units and a few dozen in the case of monitors? For a long time, I believed that marines cap badges served rather propaganda purposes and were not primarily made for the ship crews.
This belief has not fundamentally changed, but it has become more nuanced recently. A wearing photo of one of the beautiful navy cap badges was published in Gergely Sallay’s new book (photo source: Military History Museum Photo Archive 709 / Fk). So far, I’ve only seen one similar photo with the SMS Kaiser Karl VI badge, which I presented here. But I haven’t found a photo of wearing an enamel badge yet. This picture shows Novara’s newly honored crew, presumably on the day of the donation. Above (below) the medals of valor there is also the insignia of the ship, which was almost certainly made for this occasion, so it can be seen along with the decorations. That is, the Novara crew could not only buy the badge at random in the canteen or in a tobacco shop, but also received it along with the awards. Of course, this still allows that the badge was sold also in newspaper pavilions.