Pro Virtute Decoration

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Pro Virtute Decoration
Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD).jpg
Awarded by the State President and, from 1994, the President
Country South Africa  South Africa
Type Military decoration for bravery
Eligibility Officers
Awarded for Distinguished conduct and exceptional combat leadership in the field
Campaign 1966-1989 Border War
Status Discontinued in 2003
Post-nominals PVD
Statistics
Established 1987
Precedence
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:[1]
SANDF precedence:[2]
Next (lower)
SANDF succession:[2]
PVDlint.gif
Ribbon bar

The Pro Virtute Decoration, post-nominal letters PVD, is a military decoration for bravery that was instituted by the Republic of South Africa in 1987. It was awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for distinguished conduct and exceptional leadership during combat operations in the field.[3][4][5][6][7]

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).[8]

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.[7][8][9][10][11]

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.[8]

Award criteria for the Pro Virtute Decoration[edit]

The Pro Virtute Decoration, post-nominal letters PVD, was awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for distinguished conduct and exceptional leadership during combat operations in the field. A Bar could be awarded for a further similar deed of leadership in combat.[5][7]

Order of precedence[edit]

The position of the Pro Virtute Decoration in the official order of precedence was revised three times after 1975 to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first with 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 26 April 1994

Honoris Crux (1975) (HC) Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

  • Official national order of precedence:
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

Cross for Bravery Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

South African National Defence Force from April 1996

Star for Bravery in Silver (SBS) Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003

Nkwe ya Selefera (NS) Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD)

Description[edit]

Obverse

The Pro Virtute Decoration is a 9 carat gold five-armed Maltese cross with one arm pointing down, that fits in a circle 45 millimetres in diameter. The arms of the cross are in white enamel, with the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms on a roundel in red emamel in the centre. Crossed proteas attach the upper two arms of the Maltese cross to the ribbon hanger, which is a bar decorated with leaves.[5][7]

Reverse

The reverse is undecorated and bears the words "PRO VIRTUTE".[5]

Bar

The bar is silver-gilt and has an emblem depicting a Protea embossed in the centre.[5]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 21 millimetres wide orange centre band between two 5½ millimetres wide pale blue bands. It is suspended on a lapel pin bar similar to that of the ribbon hanger.

Discontinuation[edit]

Conferment of the Pro Virtute Decoration was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003.[11][12]

Since a situation such as the Battle of Bangui in the Central African Republic from 22 to 24 March 2013 was not foreseen, the decoration was not replaced by a similar honour to distinguish between leadership under fire and leadership under non-operational conditions. This engagement was described as one of the hardest-fought actions that the South African military have ever experienced, during which two officers displayed exceptional combat leadership to defeat a well-armed force estimated at between 4,000 and 7,000 with only 200 men.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ SA Army - Uniform: Former Forces Medals - South African Defence Force (SADF)
  5. ^ a b c d e Mussell, John W.; Editorial Team of Medal News (2004). Mackay, James, ed. The Medal Yearbook 2004. Devon, UK: Token Publishing Ltd. p. 380. ISBN 978-1-870192-62-0. 
  6. ^ "The South African Air Force". Saairforce.co.za. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003
  8. ^ a b c South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975
  9. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
  10. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
  11. ^ a b Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  12. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 26778, Pretoria, 17 September 2004
  13. ^ The Battle in Bangui: The untold inside story. By Helmoed Heitman.