Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst

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Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst
Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst.jpg
SAR and OFS sides, displayed here with ribbons reversed
Awarded by the Governor-General
Country  South Africa
Type Military decoration for merit
Eligibility Boer military veteran officers
Awarded for Distinguished and meritorious service
Campaign 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War
Status Discontinued in 1946
Established 1920
First awarded 1921
Last awarded 1946
Total awarded 655
Ribbon - Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst (SAR).png Ribbon - Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst (OFS).png
SAR and OFS ribbon bar orientations

The Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst, post-nominal letters DTD, is a South African military decoration. It was instituted in 1920 as a retrospective award for Boer officers of the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War.[1][2][3][4]


The Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst (Decoration for Devoted Service), post-nominal letters DTD, was instituted in terms of Government Notice no. 2307 dated 21 December 1920 and published in the Union of South Africa Government Gazette of 24 December 1920. It was a retrospective award for distinguished and especially meritorious service by Boer veteran officers during the Anglo-Boer War between 11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902.[1][2][5]

Since neither of the two Boer Republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State, had official honours systems of their own, the decoration was created to afford Boer veteran officers serving as members of the Union Defence Forces parity with their fellow South Africans who had fought on the British side in the war.[1][3][4]

During the Anglo-Boer War, Republican commanders were instructed to record the names of members of their forces who distinguished themselves in the field. The names were to be sent to the War Council for confirmation and publication in the "Staats Courant" (Government Gazette) with the intention to award a medal after conclusion of hostilities. Since the Republican forces were defeated, however, the intended medal never became a reality.[1]

The Union Defence Forces (UDF) were established in 1912. In 1913 Colonel Skinner, Commandant of the Military School in Bloemfontein, remarked on the fact that some of the officers attending a course who had fought valiantly in the Republican Forces, were without medal ribbons whilst their brother officers who had served on the British side were all well decorated. Colonel Skinner made representations to Defence Headquarters to have this omission rectified but, due to the outbreak of World War I, nothing was done about the matter until 1920 when the Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst, the Medalje voor de Anglo-Boeroorlog and the Lint voor Verwonding were instituted.[1][5][6]

Award criteria[edit]

The Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst could be awarded to officers of the military forces of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State whose service during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 to 1902 had been of such a distinguished and meritorious nature that, in the opinion of the Minister of Defence, they deserved special recognition. Recipients had to be serving members of the Union Defence Forces, or available to be called up for service in terms of the South African Defence Act of 1912.[1]

The gazetted regulations in effect actually excluded many men who had fought on the Boer side, such as the members of the various foreign units and potentially also the Natal and Cape rebels.[5]

Order of precedence[edit]

The Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst took precedence in wearing and officially ranked above the British Distinguished Service Order.[6]


The decoration was struck in silver and is a disk, 1 716 inches (37 millimetres) in diameter and 18 inch (3 millimetres) thick at the raised rim. It is affixed to a fixed bar suspender by means of claws and a pin through the upper edge of the medal. The rank and name of the recipient are impressed on the rim.[2]

Equal sides

Neither side of the decoration is considered as the reverse. Both sides depict an encircled coat of arms on a cross pattée, encircled around the perimeter by the words "VOOR TROUWE DIENST" above and the years "1899 • 1902" below. One side has the coat of arms of the South African Republic in the centre of the cross and the other side has that of the Orange Free State. This enabled each recipient to wear the medal so as to display the coat of arms of the state under whose flag he had fought.[1]


The ribbon is 1 14 inches (32 millimetres) wide and in the combined colours of the two former Republics. While these colours were gazetted as red, green, white, blue and orange, the orange appears as yellow on the actual ribbons. As worn by a South African Republic veteran, it has a 12 millimetres wide blue band in the centre, edged by a 3 millimetres wide red and a 7 millimetres wide green bands on the left and a 7 millimetres wide orange and a 3 millimetres wide white bands on the right. An Orange Free State veteran would wear the ribbon reversed, with the white band at left.[2]


Altogether 655 decorations were awarded between 1921 and 1946, all but one to officers. The sole exception was the award to Burgher A. Kuit, who was awarded the decoration for his service whilst occupying the position of "Inspekteur van Veldpos" (Inspector of Field Post).[1][2]

A complete list of recipients of the Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst was published in the Military History Journals of the South African Military History Society, Volume 1, Numbers 1 and 2, in December 1967 and June 1968 respectively.[1][2]


The original closing date for applications was 30 June 1921, but this was not strictly adhered to. The award of the decoration was discontinued on 31 December 1946 and the last decoration was dispatched on 22 January 1947, to Kaptein M.C. Avis of General Smuts’ Commando.[1][6]

See also[edit]