The Colonel Farnes Collection

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Date of Auction: 8th May 2019

Sold for £4,400

Estimate: £2,000 - £3,000

A rare German Second World War Luftwaffe Silver Honour Salver awarded to Knight’s Cross recipient Oberleutnant Wilhelm Kuhlwilm, a Company Commander in Parachute Panzer Grenadier Regiment 3 Hermann Goering, for services at Salerno on 7 September 1943

Luftwaffe Silver Honour Salver, 275mm in diameter, inscribed to ‘Lieutenant Willi Kuhlwilm, AM 7.9.43’, reverse with maker’s mark ‘JOH Wagner & Son’, a beautiful condition piece, with many years of patination evident to the plate, in excellent condition, rare £2,000-£3,000


Wilhelm Kuhlwilm was born in Dortmund on 17 August 1919, and served during the Second World War in the Luftwaffe’s Hermann Goering Parachute Panzer Corps, an elite unit (one of the so-called Fire Brigade Units), that was used on many fronts during the Second World War. He was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 20 April 1942 as a Platoon Leader, and earned the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 30 November 1944 for actions in East Prussia. It is believed that he was awarded the Honour Salver for operations in Salerno in September 1943.

Sold with seven documents all relating to Kuhlwilm, one original telegram relating to him, a 1 March 1942 promotion recommendation from Oberfeldwebel to Leutnant plus one file copy, an internal document headed ‘SPRECHZETTGEL’ with background details relating to a possible Knight’s Cross award to Kuhlwilm, with many hand written notes by a unit officer, the Knight Cross award being probably reduced to his German Cross in gold in this instance. Two further documents from the Reich Luftwaffe Ministry in relation to Oberfeldwebel Kuhlwilm and his service with one document relating to his award of the Knight’s Cross; and a 21 March 1941 internal document relating to Kuhlwilm’s arrest for a minor misdemeanour, together with an N.C.O. colleague, both of the 3rd Company Fallschirmjager Regiment 2 HG Division.

Note: The Honour Salver was instituted by Goering on 15 July 1942 to reward bravery in the field and awarded to Luftwaffe Parachute and Ground Troops. It was ranked above the Iron Cross First Class and below the German Cross in Gold, although in terms of numbers awarded it is considerably rarer than both. They were produced by the same company that produced the Luftwaffe Honour Goblets, ’JOH Wagner & Sohn’, and have the identical maker’s mark to the Honour Goblets.