I have this photo of my Great Grandfather Antonin Hošek and his wife Elisabeth Hofrichter with my Grandma as a baby Alzběta Hošková. I am trying to find out more about my family's past and I'd love to know if anyone can identify this uniform? Where from? What is the rank? etc. It is most likely to be Czechoslovakian around 1926. h

I also have a knife and sheath from him. New photos attached.Antonin Hošek's military knife 1926 Antonin Hošek's military knife 1926-2

I also have a certificate - can anyone transcribe it for me, please? Antonin Hošek Medaili Vítézství

  • The hat looks Czech.
    – Tomas By
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 13:43
  • I think it is most likely Czech. If it is, can you identify the regiment?
    – DWL
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 13:47
  • OK Thank you. I will have to ask my mother for the original photo and scan it at a better resolution to see if there is any more clarity or detail. I will post again once I have this.
    – DWL
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 14:00
  • Thank you, kimchi lover. Do you know a department in the Czech Republic that I could email to find out more?
    – DWL
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 14:53
  • @kimchilover I've added a military knife image which was also my Great Grandfather's if that gives any clues.
    – DWL
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 9:07

1 Answer 1


This summarizes my since-deleted comments into a slightly more coherent form. It is only a partial answer to the originally posed question, and relies on the photographs the OP added after their original post. The uniform is Czech; the bearer was at some point an NCO.

The cap badge has the overall shape of a tilted square containing a smaller square region, as does the badge of the Czechoslovak army, as illustrated on the cited wikipedia article. The image on the knife hilt matches this badge: this is indeed a Czech uniform & gear.

The diploma, or certificate, is the award of a "Victory Medal", as illustrated on various vendors' and collectors' pages (such as this, which has an explanatory essay) and history blogs, for example, this one. This last item transcribes and explains some of the text on a similar certificate. At the end of World War I all allied veterans were given a Victory Medal by their governments. The case of Czechoslovakia was different, because there was no such country during the war, even though many of its future citizens fought on the allied side in what was called the Czechoslovak Legion, whose name predates the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic. After the Republic was founded a Czech version of the victory medal was created, and apparently awarded to your great grandfather. At that time he was presumably in the Czech army, as evidenced by the uniform and repetition of the badge on the hilt of the knife.

One of the web sites above translates another person's diploma reading

President of the republic of Czechoslovakia Number of decret

to Captain of rus.(sian) legions ?V.? Hladky

As per Minister of Nationals Defence’s proposal I award you The medal of Victory

To rememberance of your part in world’s war for civilisation. This medal was vindicated by your volunteer entry into Czechoslovak foreign corps.

In Prag 8th December ?1922?

Minister of national defence (empty)

(Signature is of President T. G. Masaryk, 1st Czechoslovak President)

The handwritten bits of your diploma are the certificate number "2574", what I read as "rotmistru franc legii", the name "Antoninu Hoszovi" (in what I suppose is an inflected form of your grandfather's name: I do not know Czech), and at the bottom the date "15 zari 1922", (that is, 15 Sept 1922) and the president's signature "T. G. Masaryk".

Another site mentioned above explains "war for civilization" means the Great War, which we now call "World War I". The only problematic item is the line with rank and service. There was a French branch of the Czechoslovak Legion, analogous to the Russian branch mentioned on the other certificate. So "franc legii" is understandable. The rank seems to say "rotmistru" which seems to be an inflected form of a word for sergeant major, a kind of senior NCO. (The word itself is probably derived from German Rittmeister, meaning cavalry captain.) It's not clear to me if that refers to his war-time rank or to his 1922 rank.

The web page gives rank insignia for ceremonial uniforms in the period 1925-1929. A rotmistr's epaulette had a row of plants snaking its length, and a single round "pip" at the end farthest from the button by the neck. What I see in the portrait photo is what looks like a twisted braid running the length of the epaulette ending with a single pip of indistinct shape. This is consistent with rotmistr, but if the pip is actually a narrow rectangular bar or a rotated square, the rank changes.

  • 1
    This is such a great help, thank you. I have emailed the Czech Ministry of Defence so will see if they have any records of it. I'm really grateful for all the information and links to other websites. Hopefully, I can start to uncover more of my family's past.
    – DWL
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 23:04
  • Could you somehow relate the diploma written rotmistru to the rank displayed in the photo more clearly? The shoulder boards do say something (which is what I can't discern on its own, but mixing & matching might narrow it down a bit further. Commented Dec 29, 2019 at 10:03
  • 1
    @LаngLаngС I just added a para about this. I cannot see detail in the photo well enough to be sure. Commented Dec 29, 2019 at 14:38
  • "rotmistru franc. legií Antonínu Hoškovi" is literally "to rotmistr of the French legion Antonín Hošek" (Czech singular dative case). The year is definitely 1922.
    – TooTea
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 22:32
  • I don't have the rep to add an answer, so just some remarks: It looks fairly likely that the uniform is of a "rotmistr" (sergeant major), as there seems to be just a single round "pip" on the side of the cap. The badge on the front of the cap clearly shows that he was in a non-combat ("service") unit, combat units had two crossed swords sticking out from the badge (see picture here). The exact kind of the unit (e.g. administration, engineers, logistics, etc.) is hard to tell in B&W.
    – TooTea
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 22:45

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