The "Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen" was instituted on September 25th, 1843 by Grand Duke Ludwig III in Hesse, as a common decoration.
With the institution the decoration could be awarded for:
Long standing loyal service;
Five years loyal service;
Saving a persons life;
Repeatedly saving a persons life;
In 1894 the rulings were changed and the decoration could only be awarded for bravery.
The decoration is in the form of a silver medal with on the front the image of Ludwig III looking to the left. The back shows a laurel on the left and an oak leaf on the right enclosing the text "FÜR TAPFERKEIT". As from 1917 the medal was only made in silver plating.