Navy Cross (South Africa)

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Navy Cross
Navy Cross.jpg
Awarded by the State President and, from 1994, the President
Country South Africa  South Africa
Type Military decoration for bravery
Eligibility South African Navy members
Awarded for Exceptional courage, leadership, or skill in dangerous or critical situations
Status Discontinued in 2003
Post-nominals CN
Established 1987
First awarded 1991
SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:
SANDF precedence:
Next (lower)
SADF succession:
SANDF succession:
Ribbon - Navy Cross (South Africa).gif
Ribbon bar

The Navy Cross, post-nominal letters CN (Crux Navalis) is a military decoration that was instituted by the Republic of South Africa in 1987. It was awarded to members of the South African Navy for bravery. It was discontinued in 2003, but backdated awards can still be made for acts of bravery during this period.[1]

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][3][4]


The Navy Cross, post-nominal letters CN (Crux Navalis), was instituted by the State President in 1987.[2][5]

Award criteria[edit]

The cross was initially awarded for exceptional ingenuity, resourcefulness and skill, and extraordinary leadership, dedication, sense of duty and personal example and courage in mortal danger in non-combatant situations. After 1993 it was awarded for exceptional courage, leadership, skill, ingenuity or tenacity in dangerous or critical situations. A Bar, instituted in 1993, could be awarded in recognition of further similar displays of courage, leadership, skill, ingenuity or tenacity in danger.[4]

Order of wear[edit]

The position of the Navy Cross 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 on 27 April 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 when a new series of military decorations and medals was instituted in South Africa on 27 April 2003, but it remained unchanged on all three occasions.[6][7]

Air Force Cross (CA) Navy Cross (CN) Medical Service Cross (CC)

Official SANDF order of precedence
Official national order of precedence



The Navy Cross is a pointed cross struck in silver, to fit in a circle 45 millimetres in diameter, with the South African Navy emblem in the centre on a navy blue roundel, 18 millimetres in diameter.[4]


The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms, with the decoration number stamped underneath.[4]

Navy Cross and Bar

The Bar was struck in silver and has an emblem depicting a Protea embossed in the centre. The same Bar was used to indicate multiple awards of the Pro Virtute Medal, Army Cross, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, Medical Service Cross, Southern Cross Medal (1975) and Pro Merito Medal (1975).[8]


The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and white with a 12 millimetres wide Navy blue centre band.[4]


Conferment of the decoration was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003.[3]


Since inclusion in the table itself is impractical, the actions cited for follow below the table. The list of recipients is not complete.

CN no. Name Rank Unit Date of action
Minnaar, S. [a] Lt SAN Oct 1994
0013 Schoeman, M. [b] Lt SAN SAS Galeshewe 2001
Jaffar, M. CPO [12]
Combrink, W. [c] Cdr 29 Nov 2001
Lewis, G.S. [d] LS SAS Protea 16 Oct 2000
Smith, N.C. CPO Diving School
0014 Tancrel, C. CPO
Frieslaar, J.M. [e] CPO 2000
Williams, D.C. [e] CPO 2000

Actions cited for[edit]

  1. ^ Minnaar, S. – Rescued two Reconnaisance Commando members in full kit who fell overboard from their rubberduck when it capsized in 3 metre swells during a night exercise.[9]
  2. ^ Schoeman, M. – Rescued a Zambian general who fell overboard off the Navy's strike craft, SAS Galeshewe, at Seal Island near Cape Point in 2001. Lieutenant Schoeman, without hesitation, removed his shoes, jumped into the water and helped save the general who had knocked his head against the bulk of the ship and lost consciousness when he fell overboard.[10][11]
  3. ^ Combrink, W. – Negotiated with an armed murderer, who had shot and killed two of his men, to hand himself over to Police.[13][14]
  4. ^ Lewis, G.S. – Navigated a launch 40 kilometres to safety through rough seas in stormy weather.[13][14]
  5. ^ a b Frieslaar and Williams – For exceptional duties performed during the fires of 2000.[15]


  1. ^ South African Medal Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)
  2. ^ a b South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  3. ^ a b Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  4. ^ a b c d e South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  5. ^ a b c Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  6. ^ a b c Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Harmse, J.J. (19 November 2006). "Navy honours reluctant hero". Die Burger. 
  9. ^ News 24Archives - Navy bestows honours
  10. ^ "Navy rewards bravery". Die Burger. 6 October 2003. 
  11. ^ Ndaba, Dennis (January 2005). "Rewarding Military members". SA Soldier: 21. 
  12. ^ a b "Navy's 5 bravest honoured". Die Burger. 28 November 2008. 
  13. ^ a b "Media Release". SA Navy Media Release. 26 November 2008. 
  14. ^ Janse van Rensburg, AB Phillip (2008). "Flag Officer Fleet's Medal Parade". Navy News XVII (4): 12.