Honoris Crux Gold

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This article is about the Honoris Crux Gold. For other uses, see Honoris Crux.
Honoris Crux Gold
Honoris Crux Gold medal.jpg
Awarded by the State President
Country  South Africa
Type Military decoration for bravery
Eligibility All Ranks
Awarded for Outstanding bravery in extreme danger
Campaign 1966-1989 Border War
Status Discontinued in 1992
Post-nominals HCG
Established 1975
First awarded 1975
Last awarded 1991
Total awarded 5 and 1 Bar
Next (higher)
Next (lower)
SANDF succession:[2]
Ribbon bar

The Honoris Crux Gold (Gold Cross of Honour), post-nominal letters HCG, is a military decoration for bravery that was instituted by the Republic of South Africa in 1975. It was awarded to members of the South African Defence Force for outstanding acts of bravery while in extreme danger. It was the second most senior in a set of four classes of Honoris Crux decorations that replaced the discontinued Honoris Crux of 1952.[3][4]

The South African military[edit]

The Union Defence Forces (UDF) were established in 1912 and renamed the South African Defence Force (SADF) in 1958. On 27 April 1994 it was integrated with six other independent forces into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).[5]

Orders, decorations and medals[edit]

In April 1952 a series of military decorations and medals was instituted, consisting of substitutes for many of the British and Commonwealth awards which had earlier been used. More decorations and medals, as well as an emblem for being mentioned in dispatches, were added between 1953 and 1970. In July 1975 the military decorations and medals of the Republic were revised. Some decorations and medals were carried over from the earlier series of 1952-1975 and new awards were instituted, followed by more between 1987 and 1991. Finally, all but one of these earlier awards were discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003, when a new set of nine decorations and medals was instituted to replace them.[4][5][6][7][8]

Fount of Honour[edit]

Until 1958 the top three awards were reserved for conferment by the Queen while the rest were awarded by the Governor-General, but in 1958 the Governor-General was authorised to also award the top three. In 1961 the State President became the Fount of Honour, and in 1994 the President.[5]

Award criteria for the Honoris Crux Gold[edit]

The Honoris Crux Gold, post-nominal letters HCG, was awarded to members of the South African Defence Force for outstanding acts of bravery while in extreme danger. A Bar could be awarded for a further similar deed of bravery. It was the second most senior of a set of four classes of Honoris Crux decorations, the Honoris Crux Diamond, Honoris Crux Gold, Honoris Crux Silver and Honoris Crux that together replaced the discontinued Honoris Crux of 1952.[4]

Order of precedence[edit]

The position of the Honoris Crux Gold in the official order of precedence was revised four times after 1975 to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first with the discontinuation of the Honoris Crux Diamond (HCD) on 3 September 1993, then upon the integration into the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994, again in April 1996 when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and finally with the institution of a new set of awards on 27 April 2003.[1][2]

South African Defence Force until 3 September 1993

Honoris Crux Diamond (HCD) Honoris Crux Gold (HCG) Star of South Africa, Gold (SSA)

  • Official national order of precedence:
South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994

Castle of Good Hope Decoration (CGH) Honoris Crux Gold (HCG) Star of South Africa, Gold (SSA)

South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

Honoris Crux Gold (HCG) Star of South Africa, Gold (SSA)

South African National Defence Force from April 1996

Honoris Crux Gold (HCG) Gold Star for Bravery (GSB)

South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003

Honoris Crux Gold (HCG) Gold Star for Bravery (GSB)



The Honoris Crux Gold is a silver-gilt Maltese cross that fits in a circle 45 millimetres in diameter, with two swords in saltire surmounted by a circular protea wreath, the arms of the cross in green enamel, with a roundel in the centre tierced horizontally in the orange, white and blue bands of the national flag, framed in a double silver circle containing 24 stones.[9] Apart from being silver-gilt instead of silver and having a more ornate ribbon suspender, it is identical to the Honoris Crux Silver in all respects.[9]


The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms, with the decoration number underneath.[9]


The bar is of silver-gilt with a miniature replica of the Maltese cross embossed in the centre. Only one bar was ever made, after the Bar to the HCG was awarded to Captain Arthur Walker HCG. In lieu of the Bar, he was initially presented with a Clasp to the Permanent Force Good Service Medal, also in silver-gilt, until one was eventually manufactured especially for him in 1991.


The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and orange with a single 1 millimetre wide white band in the centre.[9]


Conferment of the decoration was discontinued in 1992.[2]:3


Since inclusion in the table itself is impractical, the actions cited for follow below the table.

Name Rank HCG no. Date of action Unit Service
De Wet, Christoffel Hendrik [a] 2 Lt 001 [10] 26 Dec 1975 2nd Fd Eng Rgt, SAEC SA Army
Wessels, David Eric [b] 2 Lt 002 [10] 28 Dec 1975 2nd Fd Eng Rgt, SAEC SA Army
Fernando, Gabriel [c] Cpl 003 [10] 1 Aug 1980 5 Recce Rgt, SAIC SA Army
Walker, Arthur [d] Lt 004 [10] 15 Jan 1981 AFB Ondangwa SAAF
Walker, Arthur HCG [e] Capt Bar to HCG [5][10] 29 Dec 1981 AFB Ondangwa SAAF
Whiley, Paul Burger [f] AB 005 [10] 4 Aug 1991 SAS Scorpion SAN

Actions cited for[edit]

  1. ^ De Wet, Christoffel Hendrik – Second Lieutenant De Wet was the first recipient of the Honoris Crux Gold. He was cited for clearing a road of landmines while under enemy fire in Angola.
  2. ^ Wessels, David Eric. – Second Lieutenant Wessels was cited for actions in Angola during Operation Savannah at Bridge 14. Wessels crossed the bridge under fire to rescue a wounded FNLA soldier whom he brought back to the South African side in a 10t vehicle he had recovered from the enemy side. He returned later the afternoon to recover a fuel tanker left on the enemy occupied side of the bridge. He was wounded during this action and was covered in fuel from the punctured tanker. He crawled back for 170m under enemy fire and was rescued by own forces and brought back to safety.[11]
  3. ^ Fernando, Gabriel. – Corporal Gabriel was cited for deeds of gallantry on five separate occasions in 1980.
  4. ^ Walker, Arthur – Lieutenant Walker was cited for risking his life during a night operation in Angola, by turning on the lights of his helicopter to draw enemy fire away from another helicopter.[4]
    Official citation: "During January 1981, two Alouettes, with Lieutenant Walker as flight leader, carried out close air support operations resulting in the Alouettes coming under intense enemy artillery and anti-aircraft fire. He only withdrew when ordered to do so. Later Lieutenant Walker returned to the contact area to provide top cover for a Puma assigned to casualty evacuation. Again he was subject to heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire. During the withdrawal the second helicopter developed difficulties and called for assistance. Yet again Lieutenant Walker returned to provide top cover drawing virtually all the anti-aircraft fire to his Alouette. His courageous act prevented the loss of an Alouette and crew. Lieutenant Walker's actions were not only an outstanding display of professionalism, devotion to duty and courage, but also constitutes exceptional deeds of bravery under enemy fire and make him a worthy recipient of the Honoris Crux Gold."[12]
  5. ^ Walker, Arthur HCG. – Captain Walker HCG was cited for the award of the Honoris Crux Diamond, but was awarded the Bar to the HCG instead for landing in enemy territory to search for on foot and rescue the crew of a helicopter that had been shot down. He is the most highly decorated SADF member of the 1966-1989 Border War.[4]
    Official citation: "During December 1981 Captain Walker was again requested to provide top cover for the evacuation of a seriously wounded soldier. On take-off with the evacuee his number two helicopter was hit and crash-landed. Without hesitation and with total disregard for his personal safety Captain Walker landed near the wrecked helicopter and immediately searched for the crew. Eventually the situation became suicidal compelling Captain Walker and his crew to withdraw. When he was airborne he spotted the missing crew and yet again, without hesitation and despite the fact that virtually all enemy fire was now directed in his direction, he landed and uplifted the crew to safety. Through this courageous deed he prevented the loss of two men. His distinguished actions, devotion to duty and courage make him a credit to the South African Defence Force in general, the South African Air Force in particular and makes him a worthy recipient of the Bar to the Honoris Crux Gold."[12]
  6. ^ Whiley, Paul Burger – Able Seaman Whiley was awarded the HCG for his action to search for possibly trapped passengers inside the listing and sinking ship MTS Oceanos off the Transkei Wild Coast on 4 August 1991.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  3. ^ South African Medals Website - Post-nominal Letters
  4. ^ a b c d e South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003
  5. ^ a b c d South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975
  6. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
  7. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
  8. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  9. ^ a b c d Monick, S (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History. p. 49. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Uys, Ian (1992). Cross of Honour. Uys Publishers. p. 183. ISBN 0-9583173-2-1. 
  11. ^ Uys (1992) p. 33
  12. ^ a b "Walkerville - The Walker Family". Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Dié helde word met medaljes vereer". Die Burger. 31 August 1991. 
  14. ^ MS Oceanos - South African military bravery on the high seas