Southern Cross Decoration

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Southern Cross Decoration
Southern Cross Decoration.jpg
Awarded by the State President and, from 1994, the President
Country South Africa  South Africa
Type Military decoration for merit
Eligibility Officers
Awarded for Outstanding service of the highest order and utmost devotion to duty
Status Discontinued in 2003
Post-nominals SD
Statistics
Established 1975
First awarded 1976
SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:
SANDF precedence:
Next (lower)
SADF succession:
SANDF succession:
Ribbon - Southern Cross Decoration.gif
Ribbon bar

The Southern Cross Decoration, post-nominal letters SD, is a military decoration for merit that was instituted by the Republic of South Africa on 1 July 1975. It was awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for outstanding service of the highest order and utmost devotion to duty.[1][2][3][4][5]

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).[6]

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.[3][6][7][8][9]

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.[6][10]

Award criteria[edit]

The Southern Cross Decoration, post-nominal letters SD, was instituted on 1 July 1975 and could be awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for outstanding service of the highest order and utmost devotion to duty. A bar was instituted in 1993, to be awarded in recognition of further similar displays of outstanding service of the highest order and utmost devotion to duty.[1][3][4][5]

Although not prescribed, the practice was generally that recipients must already have received the Southern Cross Medal (SM). The equivalent award for other ranks was the Pro Merito Decoration (PMD).

The first recipient was Admiral Hugo Biermann SSA OBE GCIH, who received the decoration upon his retirement as Chief of the South African Defence Force in 1976.[3]

Order of precedence[edit]

Admiral Hugo Biermann

The position of the Southern Cross Decoration in the official order of precedence was revised three times to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first with the integration into the South African National Defence Force in 1994, again 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 with the institution of a new set of awards in 2003, but it remained unchanged on all three occasions.[11][12]

Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) Southern Cross Decoration (SD) Pro Merito Decoration (PMD)

Official SANDF order of precedence
Official national order of precedence

Description[edit]

Obverse

The Southern Cross Decoration is a silver-gilt double Maltese cross that fits in a circle 45 millimetres in diameter. The arms of the cross are in white enamel, with the stars of the Southern Cross on a framed roundel in dark blue enamel in the centre. A protea attaches the decoration to the ribbon hanger.[3][13]

Reverse

The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms in the centre, with the decoration number stamped above and the silver hallmark below.[13]

Southern Cross Decoration and Bar
Bar

The bar is silver-gilt and has an emblem depicting a Protea embossed in the centre. The same bar was used to indicate multiple awards of the Pro Virtute Decoration, Southern Cross Decoration, Pro Merito Decoration and Ad Astra Decoration.[14]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and dark blue, with two 1 millimetre wide white bands in the centre, 4 millimetres apart.[13]

Discontinuation[edit]

Conferment of the decoration was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003, when the Southern Cross Decoration and the Pro Merito Decoration (PMD) were both replaced by the new iPhrothiya yeGolide.[9][15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b South African Medal Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)
  2. ^ SA Army - Uniform: Former Forces Medals - South African Defence Force (SADF)
  3. ^ a b c d e South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  4. ^ a b Alexander, E.G.M., Barron, G.K.B. and Bateman, A.J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau.
  5. ^ a b Monick, S, (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History.
  6. ^ a b c South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  7. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
  8. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
  9. ^ a b Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  10. ^ a b c Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  11. ^ a b c Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  12. ^ a b c Southern Cross Decoration (SD)
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 26778, Pretoria, 17 September 2004