Van Riebeeck Medal

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Van Riebeeck Medal
Van Riebeeck Medal.jpg
Awarded by the Governor-General and, from 1961, the State President
Country  South Africa
Type Military decoration for bravery
Eligibility Other Ranks
Awarded for Distinguished service in the field
Status Discontinued in 1975
Post-nominals VRM
Statistics
Established 1952
First awarded 1974
Last awarded 1974
Total awarded 5
Precedence
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:[1]
SANDF precedence:[2]
Next (lower)
SADF succession:[2]
SANDF succession:[2]
VRMRibbon.GIF
Ribbon bar

The Van Riebeeck Medal, post-nominal letters VRM, is a military decoration for bravery that was instituted by the Union of South Africa in 1952. It was awarded to other ranks for distinguished service in the field.[3]

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).[3]

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][4][5][6][7]

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.[3]

Award criteria for the Van Riebeeck Medal[edit]

The Van Riebeeck Medal, post-nominal letters VRM, was awarded to other ranks of the South African Defence Force for distinguished service against an enemy in the field. The medal is the other ranks equivalent of the Van Riebeeck Decoration (DVR) for officers and is identical in design. Only five decorations were ever awarded.[3]

Order of precedence[edit]

The position of the Van Riebeeck Medal 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

Pro Merito Decoration (PMD) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the National Intelligence Service Medal for Distinguished Service, Gold (OO).
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Medal (LWM).[1]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

Sandile Decoration (SD) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

South African National Defence Force from April 1996

Gold Decoration for Merit (GDM) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003

iPhrothiya yeGolide (PG) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

Description[edit]

Obverse

The Van Riebeeck Medal is struck in silver and is in the shape of the five-pointed outline of the Castle of Good Hope, to fit in a circle 38 millimetres in diameter. The suspension consists of a cluster of eight protea leaves. The statue of Jan van Riebeeck that stood in the Heerengracht in Cape Town is depicted in relief against a background of three rings, representing Van Riebeeck's three ships, with the outer ring inscribed "UITNEMENDE DIENS" at left and "DISTINGUISHED SERVICE" at right.[3][8]

Reverse

The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms. Specimens struck before 31 May 1961 have Queen Elizabeth II's royal cipher (E II R) above the coat of arms.

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and sky blue with a 6 millimetres wide white band in the centre.[3]

Bar

A silver bar was authorised to denote a second award, but was never awarded.

Discontinuation[edit]

The Van Riebeeck Medal was discontinued in July 1975 when the military decorations and medals of the Republic were revised and some of the 1952 series of decorations and medals were replaced with new awards.[3]

Recipients[edit]

VRM no. Name Rank Service Unit Date Action cited for
Brewin, K.A. WO1 SA Navy SAS EH 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [9]
Floyd, T.I. WO2 SA Army 1 RR 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [9][10]
Conradie, J.L. ♥ S Sgt SA Army 1 RR 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [9][10]
Moorcroft, J.J. ♦ S Sgt SA Army 1 RR 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [9][10]
De Beer D.L. Sgt SA Army 1 RR 6 Dec 1974 [10]

Note 1: ♥ Conradie was also awarded the HC in 1975.
Note 2: ♦ On 1 November 1993 WO1 J.J. Moorcroft VRM, PMD, PMM, MMM was appointed Sergeant Major of the Army, a post he held until 30 May 2001.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975
  4. ^ South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003
  5. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
  6. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
  7. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  8. ^ Monick, S, (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History.
  9. ^ a b c d Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 0620243007. 
  10. ^ a b c d Els, Paul J. (2009). We Fear Naught but God. PelSA Books. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-620-41298-8.