Queen's South Africa Medal

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Queen's South Africa Medal
Queen's South Africa Medal.jpg
Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Type Military Campaign medal
Eligibility British and Colonial forces
Awarded for Campaign service
Campaign Second Boer War
Clasps 26
Statistics
Established 1900
Total awarded Approximately 178,000
Order of wear
Next (higher) East and Central Africa Medal
Next (lower) Queen's Mediterranean Medal
Related King's South Africa Medal
Kimberley Star
Cape Copper Company Medal for the Defence of O'okiep
Queen's South Africa Medal.png
Ribbon bar

The Queen's South Africa Medal is a British campaign medal that was awarded to British and Colonial military personnel, civilians employed in official capacity and war correspondents who served in the Second Boer War in South Africa.[1]

Institution[edit]

The Queen's South Africa Medal was instituted in 1900, for award to military personnel, civilian officials and war correspondents who served in South Africa during the Second Boer War from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902.[1]

Three versions of the medal are known. Since the war was initially expected to be of short duration and to reach its conclusion in 1900, the first medals were struck with the years "1899" and "1900" on the reverse. Approximately fifty of these medals were awarded before it became evident that the war was to drag on much longer. The rest of the dated medals that had already been minted, therefore, had these dates machined off. The third version was minted with an altered reverse and without the years.[1]

The Second Boer War[edit]

Poor logistics and disease, combined with having to fight against a disciplined and capable enemy of excellent horsemen and marksmen who perfected guerrilla warfare, made this a hard won medal. In addition to men often having to go without basics such as food and water, enteric fever killed several thousand and was a constant drain on manpower. Published casualty rolls run to over 50,000 names, while studies of contemporary publications and reports put the actual figure for all casualties at 97,000.[1]

This war is notorious for the British scorched earth policy that was implemented when it became clear that the guerrilla tactics practiced by the Boer forces could not be overcome by conventional means. In 1901 Emily Hobhouse reported on the genocide that was taking place in the 45 British concentration camps for Boer women, children and elderly in which, over an 18-month period, 26,370 people would die, 24,000 of them boys and girls under 16. Exact mortality figures in the 64 concentration camps for black displaced farm workers and their families is not known, but was even worse.[2][3][4]

Award criteria[edit]

The medal[edit]

The Queen's South Africa Medal was awarded to all British forces who served in South Africa from 11 October 1899 up to the end of the war on 31 May 1902. Units from the British Army, Royal Navy, colonial forces from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the Cape Colony, the Colony of Natal and "hensoppers" (joiners and collaborators, literally "hands-uppers") from the South African Republic and Orange Free State, civilians employed in official capacity, war correspondents and non-enlisted men of whatever nationality who drew military pay qualified for the award of the medal. This included those such as the New Zealand 10th Contingent who arrived in Durban in May 1902, but did not fight.[1]

Approximately 178,000 medals were awarded. The medal, without a clasp, was also awarded to troops who guarded Boer prisoners at the prisoner of war camp on the island of Saint Helena. Troops on the Mediterranean islands, however, were awarded the Queen's Mediterranean Medal, while some personnel on troopships were awarded the Transport Medal.[1]

Clasps[edit]

Altogether twenty-six clasps were awarded to recipients of the Queen's South Africa Medal, to indicate each action and campaign of the Second Boer War. They were authorised in Army Order 94, April 1902, as amended. The official order of wear of all 26 clasps is according to the starting dates of the applicable battle or campaign and, as they would appear on a ribbon and read from the suspender upwards, is as follows:[5][6]

Five clasps in correct order of wear
Five clasps in correct order of wear
Three clasps, not in correct order of wear
Six clasps, not in correct order of wear
  • SOUTH AFRICA 1902
  • SOUTH AFRICA 1901
  • BELFAST
  • WITTEBERGEN
  • DIAMOND HILL
  • LAING'S NEK
  • JOHANNESBURG
  • TRANSVAAL
  • DEFENCE OF MAFEKING
  • WEPENER
  • DRIEFONTEIN
  • RELIEF OF LADYSMITH
  • ORANGE FREE STATE
  • PAARDEBERG
  • RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY
  • TUGELA HEIGHTS
  • MODDER RIVER
  • BELMONT
  • DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH
  • ELANDSLAAGTE
  • TALANA
  • DEFENCE OF KIMBERLEY
  • RELIEF OF MAFEKING
  • RHODESIA
  • NATAL
  • CAPE COLONY

Clasps were often presented to recipients loose with the medal or separately at a later date. As a result, such clasps were often lost over time or attached in the wrong order of wear since the recipients either knew no better or did not care. Examples of clasps affixed in correct and incorrect orders of wear are shown alongside.[6]

Five unofficial clasps are known to exist, as follows:[5]

The official clasps fall into three groups; State, Date and Battle clasps. The award criteria for each clasp were as follows:[1][5]

State clasps[edit]

A State clasp was awarded for service within that state when no Battle clasp was awarded to the recipient for a specific action within the same state. A Queen's South Africa Medal could therefore not carry both a State clasp and a Battle clasp for actions within the same state. The same rule applied to the "RHODESIA" clasp, which was not awarded along with the "RELIEF OF MAFEKING" clasp. The "CAPE COLONY" and "NATAL" clasps were not awarded together, with the exception of Private Wingell, a Royal Marine attached to the Army.[1][5][7]

  • "CAPE COLONY" - Awarded to all troops in the Cape Colony at any time between 11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902 inclusive, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in the Cape Colony, or the "Natal" clasp.
  • "NATAL" - Awarded to all troops in the Colony of Natal at any time between 11 October 1899 and 11 June 1900 inclusive, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in Natal or the Cape Colony.
  • "ORANGE FREE STATE" - Awarded to all troops in the Orange Free State at any time between 28 February 1900 and 31 May 1902 inclusive, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in the Orange Free State.
  • "RHODESIA" - Awarded to all troops who were under the command of Lieutenant General Sir F. Carrington and Colonel Plumer in Rhodesia between 11 October 1899 and 17 May 1900 inclusive, or who landed at Beira, Mozambique, between 11 October 1899 and 25 May 1900 inclusive.
  • "TRANSVAAL" - Awarded to all troops in the South African Republic at any time between 24 May 1900 and 31 May 1902 inclusive, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in the South African Republic.

Date clasps[edit]

The two date clasps are normally worn with the King's South Africa Medal, but are worn with the Queen's South Africa Medal when the recipient was ineligible for the award of the King's Medal but had qualified for one or both of the clasps.[1][5][8]

  • "SOUTH AFRICA 1901" - Awarded to all troops who served in South Africa between 1 January 1901 and 31 December 1901 inclusive, who were not eligible for the King's South Africa Medal.
  • "SOUTH AFRICA 1902" - Awarded to all troops who served in South Africa between 1 January 1902 and 31 May 1902 inclusive, who were not eligible for the King's South Africa Medal.

Battle clasps[edit]

Recipients could not be awarded both the "DEFENCE OF" and "RELIEF OF" clasps for Mafeking, Kimberley or Ladysmith.[1][5]

  • "BELFAST" – Awarded to all troops who, on 26 or 27 August 1900, were east of a north-south line drawn through Wonderfontein, the garrison and troops quartered at Wonderfontein excluded, west of a north-south line drawn through Dalmanutha Station and north of an east-west line drawn through Carolina in the South African Republic.
  • "BELMONT" - Awarded to all troops under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen's command who were north of Witteputs, Cape Colony (exclusive) on 23 November 1899.
  • "DEFENCE OF KIMBERLEY" - Awarded to all troops in the garrison of Kimberley, Cape Colony between 14 October 1899 and 15 February 1900 inclusive.
  • "DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH" - Awarded to all troops in Ladysmith, Natal, between 3 November 1899 and 28 February 1900 inclusive.
  • "DEFENCE OF MAFEKING" - Awarded to all troops in the garrison of Mafeking, Cape Colony, between 13 October 1899 and 17 May 1900 inclusive.
  • "DIAMOND HILL" – Awarded to all troops who, on 11 or 12 June 1900, were east of a north-south line drawn through Silverton Siding and north of an east-west line drawn through Vlakfontein in the South African Republic.
  • "DRIEFONTEIN" - Awarded to all troops with Army Headquarters, and Lieutenant General John French's column which advanced from Poplar Grove in the Orange Free State on 10 March 1900.
  • "ELANDSLAAGTE" - Awarded to all troops at Elandslaagte, Natal, on 21 October 1899, who were on the right bank of the Sunday River in Natal and north of an east-west line drawn through Buys Farm.
  • "JOHANNESBURG" - Awarded to all troops who, on 29 May 1900, were north of an east-west line drawn through Klip River Station (exclusive) and east of a north-south line drawn through Krugersdorp Station (inclusive) in the South African Republic.
  • "LAING'S NEK" - Awarded to all troops of the Natal Field Force employed in the operations at Laing's Nek Pass, north of an east-west line drawn through Newcastle, Natal, between 2 and 9 June 1900 inclusive.
  • "MODDER RIVER" - Awarded to all troops under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen's command who were north of Heuningneskloof, Cape Colony (exclusive), and south of the Magersfontein ridge (exclusive) on 28 November 1899.
  • "PAARDEBERG" - Awarded to all troops within 7,000 yards of General Piet Cronjé's final laager in the Orange Free State between midnight of 17 February 1900 and midnight of 26 February 1900, and to all troops within 7,000 yards of Kudusrand Drift between the same dates.
  • "RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY" - Awarded to all troops in the relief column under Lieutenant General French who marched from Klipdrift on 15 February 1900, and all the 6th Division troops under Lieutenant General Thomas Kelly-Kenny who were within 7,000 yards of Klipdrift on 15 February 1900.
  • "RELIEF OF LADYSMITH" - Awarded to all troops in Natal north of and including Estcourt between 15 December 1899 and 28 February 1900 inclusive.
  • "RELIEF OF MAFEKING" - Awarded to all troops under the command of Colonel Bryan Mahon who marched from Barkly West, Cape Colony, on 4 May 1900, and to all troops under the command of Colonel Herbert Plumer between 11 October 1899 and 17 May 1900 inclusive, who were south of an east-west line drawn through Palachwe in Bechuanaland Protectorate.
  • "TALANA" - Awarded to all troops under Major General Sir William Penn Symons' command on 20 October 1899 who were north of an east-west line drawn through the railway station at Waschbank, Natal.
  • "TUGELA HEIGHTS" - Awarded to all troops of the Natal Field Force, exclusive of the Ladysmith garrison, employed in the operations north of an east-west line drawn through Chieveley Station between 14 and 27 February 1900 inclusive.
  • "WEPENER" - Awarded to all troops engaged in the defence of Wepener, Orange Free State, between 9 April 1900 and 25 April 1900 inclusive.
  • "WITTEBERGEN" - Awarded to all troops who were inside a line drawn from Harrismith to Bethlehem, thence to Senekal and Clocolan in the Orange Free State along the Basutoland border, and back to Harrismith, between 1 and 29 July 1900 inclusive.

South African order of precedence[edit]

Until 5 April 1952 the position of the Queen's South Africa 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.[9][10][11]

Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal Queen's South Africa Medal Medalje voor de Anglo-Boere Oorlog

Description[edit]

The Queen's South Africa Medal is a silver or bronze disk, 38 millimetres (1.5 inches) in diameter. The bronze medal was awarded to some Indian troops and non-enlisted men of whatever nationality who drew military pay, although some silver medals were awarded to native troops. The suspender is attached to the medal with a claw mount and a pin through the upper edge of the medal.[1][5]

Obverse

The obverse shows a crowned and veiled effigy of Queen Victoria, facing left, with the legend "VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX" around the upper perimeter.[1][5]

Reverse
Version 2, with the ghost years "1899" and "1900"

The reverse shows Britannia holding the Union Flag in her left hand and a laurel wreath in her right hand. In the right background are troops marching inland from the coast. In the left background are two men-of-war, with Neptune's Trident and Britannia's shield on the ground in the foreground. Around the top perimeter are the words "SOUTH AFRICA". Three types of reverse exist.[1][5]

  • The first medals were awarded to Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) and bore the years "1899" and "1900" below Britannia's wreath, with the wreath almost touching the "R" of "AFRICA". Approximately fifty of these medals were awarded.
  • The years were machined off the rest of the already minted medals, and ghost years are sometimes still visible, as depicted alongside.
  • Subsequent mintings were done with new dies, without the years and with the wreath now almost touching the "F" of "AFRICA", as depicted by the main picture.
Clasps

The clasps were attached to the suspender and to each other in roller chain fashion with rivets. Clasps were often issued to an eligible recipient after the medal, with the result that clasps were frequently attached with unofficial rivets or worn loose on the ribbon if the recipient didn't bother to have them attached.[1]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 7 millimetres wide red band and a 4 millimetres wide dark blue band, repeated in reverse order and separated by a 10 millimetres wide orange band.

Discontinuation[edit]

Upon the death of Queen Victoria and the accession of King Edward VII on 22 January 1901, the medal was replaced by the King's South Africa Medal, although the Queen's South Africa Medal continued to be awarded until the end of the war. Both medals could be awarded to those that served during 1901 and 1902, but the requirements for the new medal had the result that few were awarded.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o The Queen's South Africa Medal 1899 - 1902 (Retrieved 2015-03-13)
  2. ^ Phillips, Lisle March (1901). With Rimington in the Boer War. London: Edward Arnold. 
  3. ^ South African History Online - The Anglo-Boer War at the Wayback Machine (archived August 21, 2008)
  4. ^ "RootsWeb: SOUTH-AFRICA-L Re: Boer War Records". Archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com. 1999-01-22. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i AngloBoerWar.com - Queen's South Africa Medal (Retrieved 2015-03-13)
  6. ^ a b British Commonweath War and Campaign Medals awarded to New Zealanders - The Queen's South Africa Medal (Retrieved 2015-03-13)
  7. ^ Campaign Medals of the British Army 1815-1972 by Robert W. Gould (1972, Arms and Armour Press, London) ISBN 0-85368-515-0
  8. ^ G.R. Duxbury (June 1972). "Queen's South Africa Medal with 10 Bars". Military History Journal (The South African Military History Society) 2 (3).  (Retrieved 2015-03-13)
  9. ^ Government Notice no. 1982 of 1 October 1954 - Order of Precedence of Orders, Decorations and Medals, published in the Government Gazette of 1 October 1954.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56878. p. 3353. 17 March 2003.
  11. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981