Pro Patria Medal (South Africa)
|Pro Patria Medal|
|Awarded by the State President|
|Type||Military campaign medal|
|Awarded for||55 days continuous or 90 days non-continuous duty in an operational area|
|Campaign||1966-1989 Border War|
|Status||Discontinued in 1994|
|Clasps||Cunene Clasp for service in Angola in 1975-1976|
|SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear|
Ribbon bar without and with Cunene button
The Pro Patria Medal is a South African military campaign medal that was instituted by the Republic in 1974. It was awarded to members of the South African Defence Force for service in an operational area as designated by the Minister of Defence.
The South African military
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).
Orders, decorations and medals
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.
Fount of Honour
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.
The Pro Patria Medal was instituted in 1974 and could be awarded to serving members of all ranks of the South African Defence Force. The conditions for award stipulated that the recipient had to have:
- been involved in combat or a skirmish or combat situation or an incident caused by enemy activities, or
- participated in a specific operation acknowledged by the Minister of Defence, or
- served for a continuous period of 55 days or non-continuous for 90 days in an operational area as designated by the Minister of Defence.
The wording on the certificate of award reads that the Pro Patria Medal was awarded for service in the defence of the Republic or for the prevention or suppression of terrorism.
Order of precedence
The position of the Pro Patria Medal in the official order of precedence was revised three times after 1975 to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals.
- South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994
- Official SADF order of precedence:
- Official national order of precedence:
- Preceded by the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism.
- Succeeded by the South African Railways Police Medal for Combating Terrorism.
- South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994
- Official SANDF order of precedence:
- Official national order of precedence:
The position of the Pro Patria Medal in the order of precedence remained unchanged, as it was on 27 April 1994, when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted in April 1996 for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and again when a new series of military decorations and medals was instituted in South Africa on 27 April 2003.
The Pro Patria Medal is an octagonal medallion struck in bronze and gilted, to fit in a circle 38 millimetres in diameter and 3 millimetres thick at the centre, with a golden aloe emblem in the centre on a blue roundel, 22 millimetres in diameter.
The pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms is on the reverse, with the medal number stamped underneath.
The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide with a 3 millimetres wide orange band, a 1½ millimetres wide white band, a 5 millimetres wide orange band and a 6 millimetres wide dark blue band, repeated in reverse order and separated by a 1 millimetre wide orange band in the centre.
The early medals and ribbon suspenders were minted separately and attached to each other with rings that enabled the medal to swing. On the original medal the roundel on the obverse was also minted separately. The earliest version of the medal was minted by the South African Mint, but from c. 1980 further production of the medal was put out to tender by private enterprises. As a result several versions appeared, nearly all minted with the ribbon suspender as an integral part of the medal and some still with a separately minted roundel, some without the gilting, and some minted with both the ribbon suspender and the roundel as an integral part of the medal.
Mentioned in dispatches
Clasps and Bars
Although the 1974 warrant made provision for bars, none were issued.
Conferment of the Pro Patria Medal was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003.
- South African honours system
- South African military decorations
- South African military decorations order of precedence
- South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
- South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
- Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
- Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
- Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
- South African Medal Website - Legal aspects - Fount of Honour (Accessed 1 May 2015)
- Alexander, E.G.M., Barron G.K.B. and Bateman, A.J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau. p. 46.
- Certificate of Award - Pro Patria Medal.
- Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
- Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
- Monick, S (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History. p. 43.
- Malan, Magnus (2006). My lewe saam met die SA Weermag (1st ed.). Hatfield, Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis. pp. 120–144. ISBN 978-1-86919-113-9.