Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal

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Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal
Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal.jpg
Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Empress of India
Country United Kingdom UK Cape Colony flag.png Cape Colony
Type Military Campaign medal
Eligibility Cape Colonial Forces
Awarded for Campaign service
Campaign Basutoland 1880–1881
Transkei 1880–1881
Bechuanaland 1896–1897
Clasps BASUTOLAND
TRANSKEI
BECHUANALAND
Statistics
Established 1900
Total awarded 5,252
Order of wear
Next (higher) Kabul to Kandahar Star
Next (lower) Egypt Medal
Ribbon - Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal.png
Ribbon bar

The Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal is a British campaign medal that was awarded to members of the Cape Colonial Forces who took part in three campaigns in and around the Cape Colony; in Basutoland in 1880–1881, in Transkei in 1880–1881 and in Bechuanaland in 1896–1897.[1][2][3]

Institution[edit]

The Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal was authorised in December 1900 as a retrospective award for veterans of three campaigns that were fought in South Africa between 1880 and 1897, for award to the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Colonial Forces who were engaged on active service during the campaigns in Basutoland (1880–81), Tembuland and Griqualand East in Transkei (1880–81), and Bechuanaland (1896–97). Clasps were authorised simultaneously, inscribed "BASUTOLAND", "TRANSKEI" and "BECHUANALAND" respectively.[2][4]

Award criteria[edit]

The medal was awarded, upon application, to all surviving veterans who had served in the Cape Colonial Forces in the three campaigns, for active service in the field, serving as guards at any point where an attack was expected or who were detailed for some specific or special military service or duty. No medal or clasp could be awarded to any member who had deserted or had been dismissed for misconduct.[2]

Because the award of the medal had to be applied for, it was not awarded posthumously. The next-of-kin of members who had been killed in action or who had died while on service therefore received no medal. The published medal roll shows that 5,252 medals were awarded to 5,156 individuals, which included 96 duplicate or triplicate awards. Nearly half of the awards, to 2,422 individuals, were for the Bechuanaland campaign.[5]

Basuto Gun War[edit]

The duration of the Basutoland Campaign was from 13 September 1880 to 27 April 1881. Following the end of the Zulu wars from 1877 to 1879, Cape Colony Governor Henry Bartle Frere and Prime Minister Gordon Sprigg attempted to disarm the Basotho and ordered them to hand in their firearms. Some chiefs reluctantly complied, but were almost immediately attacked by chiefs who had refused to comply, such as Lerothodi and Moletsane. In September 1880 they also attacked white administrators and, as a result, troops were mobilised and the Basuto Gun War broke out. Various encounters ensued until February 1881, when an armistice was arranged. Peace was eventually concluded in May 1881.[1][6][7]

Transkei Campaign[edit]

The duration of the Transkei Campaign was from 13 September 1880 to 13 May 1881. The medal and the Transkei Clasp were awarded for operations in Thembuland and Griqualand East, where the native Xhosa populations were particularly hostile to settlers in the districts of Tsolo, Maclear, Matatiele and Qumbu.[1][6][7]

Bechuanaland Campaign[edit]

The duration of the Bechuanaland Campaign was from 24 December 1896 to 30 July 1897. In April 1896 a severe outbreak of cattle disease occurred, which required that all cattle in the area needed to be slaughtered in an attempt to contain the disease. This was resented by the local Tswana population who, as a result, rose up in protest. A number of engagements occurred and, following a build-up of more Colonial reinforcements in July 1897, the conflict ended after a final action at Langberg on 30 July and 1 August 1897, in which most of the native leaders were either killed or surrendered.[1][6][7]

South African order of precedence[edit]

Until 5 April 1952 the position of the Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal in the official order of precedence was prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. With effect from 6 April 1952 these awards continued to be worn in the same order of precedence but, with the exception of the Victoria Cross, took precedence after all South African orders, decorations and medals awarded to South Africans on or after that date.[8][9][10]

South Africa Medal (1880) Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal Queen's South Africa Medal

Description[edit]

The medal was struck in silver and is a disk 36 millimetres in diameter and 3 millimetres thick at the raised rim. It is affixed to the swivelling suspender by means of claws and a pin through the upper edge of the medal. The recipient's rank, name and unit were inscribed on the rim, but the medals were not numbered.[6][7]

Obverse

The obverse depicts the veiled bust of Queen Victoria, with the legend "VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX" around the inside of the raised rim.[6]

Reverse

The reverse displays the Cape of Good Hope coat of arms, with a spray of protea leaves and a protea flower underneath and the name "CAPE OF GOOD HOPE" on a wide raised rim around the top half of the medal.[6][7]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and dark blue with a 12 millimetres wide yellow centre band. These were also the colours of earlier campaign medals for service in southern Africa.[7]

Clasps

The three clasps that were awarded to indicate the campaigns in which recipients had served, were inscribed "BASUTOLAND", "TRANSKEI" and "BECHUANALAND" respectively.[2][7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]