After the armies of the Central Powers surrounded Serbia in the fall of 1915, the commander-in-chief of the Serbian Army, Crown Prince Aleksandar, with the state leadership and commanders of his armies, decided to cross Albania, as the road from Metohija (where the army was concentrated) through Macedonia was cut off.
The withdrawal of the Serbian army and civilians over the snow-capped mountains of Albania and Montenegro, from November 1915 to January 1916, has been recorded in history as the Albanian Golgotha or The Great Retreat. Thanks to the allies, the tortured Serbian soldiers, the people and the state apparatus, who reached the Albanian coast, were transferred to the Greek island of Corfu.
King Aleksandar I Karađorđević, who as well participated in the Albanian Golgotha, established the Commemorative Medal of the Great Serbian Retreat i.e. the Albanian Commemorative Medal in memory of the retreat through Albania, with which he decorated 142,148 officers, non-commissioned officers, corporals, privates, military chaplains, and priests. The Medal was given to all those who were on military duty during the crossing of Albania, as well as members of foreign military missions who retreated through Albania together with the Serbian Army. The decree on the Albanian Commemorative Medal decoration was signed by King Aleksandar on November 6, 1921, and the day of official decoration of Serbian heroes – participants in the Great War with the Commemorative Medal of the Great Serbian Retreat, was set for November 23, 1921.
The Albanian Commemorative Medal was awarded at the suggestion of the Minister of the Army and Navy, with a decree made according to the draft of Đorđe Čarapić, and reproduced at the Military Geographical Institute in Belgrade. The Medal is in the shape of a double-headed eagle with a Serbian shield on its chest and a royal crown on the upper part. On the obverse side, under the eagle, there is a medallion framed with a laurel wreath with the head profile of Aleksandar Karađorđević, framed with the inscription: TO HIS COMRADES IN ARMS – ALEKSANDAR. On the reverse side, there is an inscription in three lines: FOR LOYALTY TO THE HOMELAND. The medals were made by the Parisian company “Arthus-Bertrand“.
Motif on stamp and FDC: Albanian Commemorative Medal – charters
Motifs on vignettes: portraits of the recipients of the Albanian Commemorative Medal
Стручна сарадња: Савез потомака ратника Србије 1912–1920, у оквиру пројекта „Албум сећања на наше претке из Првог светског рата”.
Graphic realisation of the issue: Jakša Vlahović, academic graphic designer