MEDAL FOR VALOR.
Gift of Austrian Emperor to V. M. Martinidesz.
The stories of the civil war in connection with the anniversaries call to attention the veterans of other wars and other armies residing in this country. In the everyday walks of life there are some of the most unassuming of individuals able to tell of former deeds of valor performed on battlefields across the sea.
Such a man is Victor M. Martinidesz of Norwood, who on Tuesday observed his 50th birthday at his home, 338 Railroad av, and who has a medal presented him by Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria, for meritorious service in the Austro-Hungarian army.
The medal is somewhat larger than a half-dollar, made of bronze, and is attached to crossed ribbons of the national colors. On one side is a profile of the emperor, surrounded by the inscription in German, “Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.” On the reverse is the date of issue of the medal.
In Austria-Hungary, when Mr Martinidesz served in the army and won his sergeantcy, it was compulsory to serve three years. He served five years and five months, and as a reward for efficiency and for bravery he was presented the medal.
It was in putting down a rebellion that he saw’ service. He enlisted in 1881 in the 67th infantry, and it was during this time that the insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place The settlement of the Russo-Turkish war gave these two provinces to Austria, but the government found that it had assumed control of a troublesome section, the inhabitants rebelling and carrying on a mountain warfare characteristic of the Balkan states. Troops were sent into the section, among them the battalion to which Mr. Martinidesz was attached.
The country is admirably suited to the kind of warfare waged by these people, as it is a wild, mountainous region. and as they knew every inch of territory they had the Austrian troops at a disadvantage.
He spoke of an incident which occurred during a campaign in which a newly erected barracks on the frontier was almost totally unfitted for use by lightning. The walls were of stone and the roofs of thatched straw, and early in the morning of May 6, 1882, during a terrific thunderstorm, the place was struck by lightning and the soldiers were glad to escape without anything but their arms and ammunition.
On this occasion Martinidesz by his coolness and presence of mind did much to avert a greater disaster than the loss of minor accessories of warfare. He received a special document from the commanding general praising him In glowing terms for the good work he accomplished. This document he still retains. Another barracks two miles away was struck In the same storm and the soldiers lost their arms and ammunition.
Supplies and equipment had to he transported on the backs of mules in this country, and sometimes there were trains of 200 mules which had to be guarded.
Mr Martinidesz was an active participant in four battles of the campaign, and many skirmishes under these strenuous conditions, yet he maintains that he liked It. He enlisted as a private and did much work as company clerk, and after five years and five months service he came out with three stars, a stripe and a sergeantcy.
He came to America in 1887 and went to work In Norwood the same year at beaming in a tannery. In 1889 he married Miss Elizabeth Eliza, who came from the same town in Hungary. They have two daughters, the Misses Elsie and Isabel, and a son, Arthur.
Mr. Martinidesz owns his own pretty home on Railroad av. He is most unassuming and speaks modestly of the exciting events in which he had so prominent a part.