Louw Wepener Medal

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Louw Wepener Medal
Louw Wepener Medal.jpg
Awarded by the State President
Country  South Africa
Type Military decoration for bravery
Eligibility All Ranks
Awarded for Courageous or heroic deeds in saving lives
Status Discontinued in 1975
Clasps Bar for subsequent award
Post-nominals LWM
Statistics
Established 1967
First awarded 1969
Last awarded 1975
Total awarded 8
SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:
SANDF precedence:
Next (lower)
SADF succession:
Ribbon - Louw Wepener Medal.gif
Ribbon bar

The Louw Wepener Medal, post-nominal letters LWM, is a South African military decoration for bravery which was instituted by the Republic of South Africa on 20 October 1967. It was awarded to members of the South African Defence Force for courageous or heroic deeds in saving lives. The Louw Wepener Medal was discontinued on 1 July 1975, when a new set of decorations and medals was instituted.[1][2][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).[2]

Institution[edit]

The Louw Wepener Medal, post-nominal letters LWM, was instituted by the State President on 20 October 1967, as a second-level military decoration for bravery in addition to the existing Louw Wepener Decoration. The awards were named in honour of Louw Wepener who, in 1865, lost his life whilst leading his burghers in an attack on a Basotho stronghold on Thaba Bosigo, during the Basuto Wars of 1858 to 1865.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Award criteria[edit]

The Medal could be awarded to all ranks of the South African Defence Force, or serving with or rendering service to the Defence Force, for courageous or heroic deeds of self-sacrifice in saving lives in the presence of personal danger, or deeds performed in the execution of or beyond the call of military duty and for which other purely military awards were not normally made. A Bar could be awarded for a further similar deed of bravery.[2][3]

Only eight awards were made, the first in 1969 and the last in 1975. No bar to the decoration was ever awarded.[2][3]

Order of wear[edit]

The position of the Louw Wepener Medal in the official order of precedence was revised twice after 1975, to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first upon the integration into the South African National Defence Force in 1994 and again upon the institution of a new set of awards in 2003.[7][8]

South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994

Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM) Pro Virtute Medal (PVM)

  • Official SADF order of precedence:
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM).
    • Succeeded by the Pro Virtute Medal (PVM).[7]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM) Distinguished Gallantry Medal

The position of the Louw Wepener Medal in the order of precedence remained unchanged, as it was on 27 April 1994, 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 when a new series of military orders, decorations and medals was instituted in South Africa on 27 April 2003.[8]

Description[edit]

Obverse

The Louw Wepener Medal is a bronze medallion, 38 millimetres in diameter, which depicts the mountain peak of Thaba Bosigo, with two men on horseback in the foreground. Below the horsemen are the words "THABA BOSIGO, 1865" and around the circumference are the words "LOUW WEPENER" at the top and "MEDALJE : MEDAL" at the bottom.[2]

Reverse

The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms, with the decoration number impressed at the bottom on the rim.

Ribbon

The ribbon is 1 38 inches (35 millimetres) wide and orange, with four white bands, all 116 inch (1.6 millimetres) wide and spaced 732 inch (5.6 millimetres) apart.

Bar

Bar to the Louw Wepener Medal Louw Wepener Medal Bar button

The bar is 1 38 inches (35 millimetres) wide and in bronze, with the encircled letters "LWM" in the centre. When only ribbon bars are worn, a recipient of a subsequent award would have worn a bronze button with the encircled letters "LWD", 8 millimetres (0.31 inches) in diameter, on the ribbon bar.

Discontinuation[edit]

Conferment of the decoration was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 1 July 1975, when a new set of decorations and medals was instituted.[4]

Recipients[edit]

LWM
no.
Name Rank Service
Arm
Unit Date
awarded
Godfrey, E.J.J. [a] Gnr SA Army SAA 12 Sep 1969
Nell, D.H. S Sgt SA Army SSB 6 Aug 1971
Froneman, J.J. Sea SA Navy Oct 1971
Lamont, J.F. [b] LS SA Navy SAS EH 25 Aug 1972
Swanepoel, M.P.P. [c] LS SA Navy 25 Aug 1972
Meyer, J.J. Sgt SA Army Hoëveld 28 Jun 1974
Blaauw, D.I. 2 Lt SA Army 1 PB [10] 6 Jun 1975
Marrs, S.B. [d] Spr SA Army 6 Jun 1975

Actions cited for[edit]

  1. ^ Godfrey, E.J.J. – Gunner Godfrey saved someone from drowning in the sea.
  2. ^ Lamont, J.F. – Leading Seaman Lamont rescued a crewmate from heavy seas.[9]
  3. ^ Swanepoel, M.P.P. – Leading Seaman Swanepoel rescued an unconscious man from a fire.
  4. ^ Marrs, S.B. – Sapper Marrs rescued a woman and her child, who had fallen overboard from a pont into a crocodile-infested river.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b South African Medal Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d e f South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  3. ^ a b c d The South African Military History Society: Military History Journal Vol 1 no 1, December 1967: LOUW WEPENER MEDAL (Instituted 20 October 1967) by G.R. Duxbury.
  4. ^ a b South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  5. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  6. ^ a b c Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  7. ^ a b c d Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  8. ^ Uys, Ian (1992). Cross of Honour. Germiston: Uys. p. 3. ISBN 0958317321. 
  9. ^ Els, Paul (2010). We conquer from above. PelSA Books. p. 299. 
  10. ^ South African Digest (29 August 1975).