South African military decorations order of precedence

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Mounted medal set.jpg

South African military orders, decorations and medals were instituted by the South African Parliament from 1952 and also by the parliaments of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei between 1981 and 1994. These awards were instituted in five groups for altogether seven separate military and para-military forces that were integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994.

The South African military[edit]

The Union of South Africa was established on 31 May 1910 in terms of the South Africa Act, 1909, enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In terms of Section 17 of the Act the command-in-chief of the naval and military forces within the Union was vested in the British Monarch or in the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa as his representative.[1]

The Union Defence Forces (UDF) were established in 1912 in terms of the Union Defence Act, no. 13 of 1912, enacted by the Parliament of the Union of South Africa. The UDF were renamed the South African Defence Force (SADF) in 1958. On 27 April 1994 the SADF was integrated with six other independent South African military and para-military forces into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).[2][3]

The seven constituent forces of the SANDF were:

Orders, decorations and medals[edit]

Until 1952 all military decorations and medals that were awarded to members of the UDF and SADF were instituted by the British Monarch. The first South African military decorations and medals were only instituted by the South African Parliament in 1952. These and subsequent decorations were instituted in five groups.

The 1952-1975 group

During the Union era, 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. There were initially ten awards, to which a further eight as well as an emblem for being mentioned in dispatches were added between 1953 and 1970. With one exception, all displayed the national Coat of Arms on the reverse, and those minted before South Africa became a republic in 1961 had Queen Elizabeth II's royal cipher above the Coat of Arms.[2]

The 1975-2003 group

During the limited representation republican era, in July 1975, the military decorations and medals of the Republic were revised. Seven decorations and medals were carried over from the earlier series of 1952-1975 and fourteen new awards were instituted. These included two military orders and were followed by another twelve new decorations and medals between 1987 and 1991. With five exceptions, all displayed the national Coat of Arms on the reverse.[4][5][6]

The TBVC group

Between 1976 and 1981 the four independent states of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei, known collectively as the TBVC states, were established within South Africa. Each of them instituted a set of military decorations and medals for award to members of their respective defence forces.[7]

The MK and APLA group

On 27 April 1994 South Africa became a fully representative republic. In 1996 a set of decorations and medals were instituted for award to former members and veterans of MK and APLA.[7]

The 2003 group

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.[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 of South Africa became the Fount of Honour. In the TBVC states, established between 1976 and 1981, the Founts of Honour were the respective State Presidents. From 1994 the President of South Africa became the Fount of Honour for all military orders, decorations and medals.[2]

Minting[edit]

Initially all South African military orders, decorations and medals were minted by the South African Mint, but with effect from c. 1980 the manufacturing of all new awards as well as the further production of older awards were put out to tender by private enterprises. Since the tooling of the older awards was retained by the Mint, private manufacturers had to manufacture their own tooling, which resulted in several variations in appearance and quality.

Order of precedence[edit]

The table lists all the 1952 and subsequent military orders, decorations and medals in the official order of precedence, as published in Government Gazette no. 27376 on 11 March 2005. All the table columns are sortable and the two columns for order of precedence (OoP) will sort the awards in either the combined order of precedence that became effective on 27 April 2003, or in the individual orders of precedence of the seven constituent forces that were integrated into the SANDF on 27 April 1994.[9]

Most decorations for valour and meritorious service entitle the recipients to the post-nominal letters as shown in the table. These are succeeded, in order, by campaign and general service medals, commemorative medals, decorations and medals for loyal service and good conduct, and medals for skill at arms and proficiency in marksmanship.[9]

The following decorations are excluded from the table:[9]

  • Decorations instituted prior to 1952, including Colonial era, Boer War, British and Commonwealth decorations, with two exceptions, the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal and the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots.
  • Civil, police, prisons and other non-military decorations.
  • Decorations that, while officially instituted, were never awarded and now never will be. These include:

The official order of precedence of 2005 contains the caveat that, in the absence of full information on awards, there may be among the awards listed for the TBVC states some which were never awarded. The list does contain minor errors, one of these being the post-nominal letters "VRD" instead of "DVR" for the Van Riebeeck Decoration. The post-nominal letters "VRD" are for the Volunteer Reserve Decoration, awarded to members of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR).[9]


OoP 2003
Order, Decoration or Medal PN Type OoP
1993
From To
2 Honoris Crux Gold HCG Bravery 100 1975 1992
5 Gold Star for Bravery GSB Bravery 701 1996 2003
6 Star for Bravery in Gold SBG Bravery 601 1996 2003
7 Nkwe ya Gauta NG Bravery 801 2003
10 Star of South Africa, Gold SSA Merit 102 1975 2002
22 Star of South Africa, Silver SSAS Merit 103 1975 2002
38 Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander Merit 300 1992 1994
49 Star of South Africa SSA Merit 104 1952 1975
67 Louw Wepener Decoration LWD Bravery 105 1952 1975
72 Distinguished Gallantry Cross Bravery 301 1982 1994
75 Gallantry Cross, Gold GCG Bravery 401 1985 1994
84 Honoris Crux (1952) HC Bravery 106 1952 1975
85 Honoris Crux Silver HCS Bravery 107 1975 2003
86 Van Riebeeck Decoration DVR Bravery 108 1952 1975
96 Honoris Crux (1975) HC Bravery 109 1975 2003
100 Gallantry Cross, Silver GCS Bravery 402 1985 1994
105 Cross for Bravery Bravery 201 1994 1994
108 Bravery Star in Silver BSS Bravery 702 1996 2003
109 Star for Bravery in Silver SBS Bravery 602 1996 2003
110 Nkwe ya Selefera NS Bravery 802 2003
112 Pro Virtute Decoration PVD Bravery 110 1987 2003
113 Southern Cross Decoration SD Merit 111 1975 2003
114 Pro Merito Decoration PMD Merit 112 1975 2003
115 Conspicuous Leadership Star CLS Bravery 603 1996 2003
116 Star for Conspicuous Leadership SCL Bravery 703 1996 2003
125 Defence Force Merit Decoration Merit 302 1982 1994
129 Distinguished Service Medal, Gold Merit 403 1985 1994
132 Sandile Decoration SD Merit 501 1988 1994
136 Decoration for Merit in Gold DMG Merit 604 1996 2003
137 Gold Decoration for Merit GDM Merit 704 1996 2003
138 iPhrothiya yeGolide PG Merit 803 2003
152 Van Riebeeck Medal VRM Bravery 113 1952 1975
153 Louw Wepener Medal LWM Bravery 114 1967 1975
154 Distinguished Gallantry Medal Bravery 303 1982 1994
156 Nkwe ya Boronse NB Bravery 804 2003
158 Ad Astra Decoration AAD Bravery 115 1991 2003
159 Army Cross CM Bravery 116 1987 2003
160 Air Force Cross CA Bravery 117 1987 2003
161 Navy Cross CN Bravery 118 1987 2003
162 Medical Service Cross CC Bravery 119 1987 2003
163 Southern Cross Medal (1952) SM Merit 120 1952 1975
164 Pro Merito Medal (1967) PMM Merit 121 1967 1975
170 Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Merit 404 1985 1994
180 Southern Cross Medal (1975) SM Merit 122 1975 2003
181 Pro Merito Medal (1975) PMM Merit 123 1975 2003
185 Defence Force Merit Medal Merit 304 1982 1994
187 Sandile Medal SM Merit 502 1988 1994
189 Marumo Medal, Class I Merit 305 1988 1994
193 Merit Medal in Silver MMS Merit 605 1996 2003
194 Silver Medal for Merit SMM Merit 705 1996 2003
195 iPhrothiya yeSiliva PS Merit 805 2003
199 Danie Theron Medal DTM Merit 124 1970 1993
200 Jack Hindon Medal JHM Merit 125 1970 1975
201 Military Merit Medal MMM Merit 126 1974 2003
204 Defence Force Commendation Medal Merit 306 1982 1994
205 Venda Defence Force Medal Merit 405 1984 1994
209 Marumo Medal, Class II Merit 307 1988 1994
210 Transkei Defence Force Medal Merit 202 1994 1994
211 Bronze Medal for Merit BMM Merit 706 1996 2003
212 Merit Medal in Bronze MMB Merit 606 1996 2003
213 iPhrothiya yeBhronzi PB Merit 806 2003
214 Chief C.D.F. Commendation Medal Merit 504 1992 1994
215 Korea Medal Campaign 127 1950 1953
217 Pro Patria Medal Campaign 128 1974 1994
222 General Service Medal (Venda) Campaign 406 1985 1994
225 Southern Africa Medal Campaign 129 1987 1994
226 General Service Medal (South Africa) Campaign 130 1987 2003
227 Ciskei Defence Medal Campaign 505 1988 1994
228 Nkwe Medal Campaign 308 1990 1994
229 General Service Medal (Bophuthatswana) Campaign 309 1991 1994
230 Operational Medal for Southern Africa Campaign 607 1998 2003
231 South Africa Service Medal Campaign 608 1998 2003
232 Tshumelo Ikatelaho Campaign 807 2003
233 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Commemorative 131 1953 1953
234 Independence Medal (Transkei) Commemorative 203 1976 1976
235 Independence Medal (Bophuthatswana) Commemorative 310 1977 1977
237 Independence Medal (Venda) Commemorative 407 1979 1979
240 Independence Medal (Ciskei) Commemorative 506 1981 1981
250 Military Rule Medal Commemorative 204 1994 1994
251 Unitas Medal Commemorative 808 1994 1994
252 Closure Commemoration Medal Commemorative 809 2003
253 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 50 years Service 810 2003
254 Medal for Distinguished Conduct and Loyal Service Service 132 1987 2003
255 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 40 years Service 811 2003
262 Good Service Medal, Gold Service 133 1975 2003
269 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, Gold Service 311 1982 1994
273 Long Service Medal, Gold Service 408 1985 1994
282 Gold Service Medal Service 707 1996 2003
283 Service Medal in Gold Service 609 1996 2003
284 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 30 years Service 812 2003
285 John Chard Decoration JCD Service 134 1952 2003
286 De Wet Decoration DWD Service 135 1965 2003
287 Cadet Corps Medal Service 136 1966 1986
288 Good Service Medal, Silver Service 137 1975 2003
296 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, Silver Service 312 1982 1994
300 Long Service Medal, Silver Service 409 1985 1994
310 Service Medal in Silver Service 610 1996 2003
311 Silver Service Medal Service 708 1996 2003
312 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 20 years Service 813 2003
316 Union Medal Service 138 1952 1961
318 Permanent Force Good Service Medal Service 139 1961 1975
324 John Chard Medal Service 140 1952 2003
326 Good Service Medal, Bronze Service 141 1975 2003
333 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, Bronze Service 313 1982 1994
337 Long Service Medal, Bronze Service 410 1985 1994
342 De Wet Medal Service 142 1987 2003
343 Faithful Service Medal Service 205 1987 1994
344 Medal for Long Service, Bronze Service 507 1988 1994
350 Bronze Service Medal Service 709 1996 2003
351 Service Medal in Bronze Service 611 1996 2003
352 Medalje vir Troue Diens Service 814 2003
356 Queen's Medal for Champion Shots Bisley 143 1924 1961
357 Commandant General's Medal Bisley 144 1965 1975
358 SADF Champion Shot Medal Bisley 145 1975 2003
359 National Cadet Bisley Grand Champion Medal Bisley 146 1987
360 President's Medal for Shooting Bisley 508 1988 1994
361 State President's Medal for Shooting Bisley 314 1990 1994

See also[edit]

References[edit]