Queen's South Africa Medal
|Queen's South Africa Medal|
|Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India|
|Type||Military Campaign medal|
|Eligibility||British and Colonial forces|
|Awarded for||Campaign service|
|Campaign(s)||Second Boer War|
|Total awarded||Approximately 178,000|
|Order of wear|
|Next (higher)||East and Central Africa Medal|
|Next (lower)||Queen's Mediterranean Medal|
King's South Africa Medal|
Cape Copper Company Medal for the Defence of O'okiep
The Queen's South Africa Medal is a British campaign medal which was awarded to British and Colonial military personnel, and to civilians employed in official capacity, who served in the Second Boer War in South Africa. Altogether twenty-six clasps were awarded, to indicate participation in particular actions and campaigns.
The Queen's South Africa Medal was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1900, for award to military personnel and civilian officials who served in South Africa during the Second Boer War from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902.
Three versions of the medal are known. Since the war was initially expected to be of short duration and to reach its conclusion in 1900, the first medals were struck with the years "1899" and "1900" on the reverse. Approximately fifty of these medals were awarded before it became evident that the war was going to last much longer and both the remaining dated medals and the dies had these dates machined off. The third version was minted without the years.
The Second Boer War
Poor logistics and disease, combined with having to fight against a disciplined and capable enemy of excellent horsemen and marksmen who perfected guerrilla warfare, made this a hard-won medal. In addition to men often having to go without basics such as food and water, enteric fever killed several thousand and was a constant drain on manpower. The published casualty rolls run to over 50,000 names, while studies of contemporary publications and reports put the actual figure for all casualties, including caused by disease, at 97,000.
Many recipients of the medal were involved in the scorched earth policy that marked the last twenty months of the war, implemented when it became clear that the Boer guerrilla tactics could not be overcome by conventional means. To prevent Boer forces resupplying from a home base, many Boer farms were destroyed and non-combatants moved to concentration camps, where poor conditions led to nearly 28,000 out of 116,572 detainees dying over an 18-month period, 22,000 of them under 16. Exact mortality figures in the 64 camps for displaced black farm workers and their families were probably higher.
The Queen's South Africa Medal was awarded to all British forces who served in South Africa from 11 October 1899 up to the end of the war on 31 May 1902. Those who qualified for the medal included members of the British Army, Royal Navy, hospital nurses colonial forces from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, as well as locally raised units from the Cape of Good Hope, the Natal and "hensoppers" (collaborators, literally "hands-uppers") from the South African Republic and Orange Free State, civilians employed in official capacity, war correspondents, and non-enlisted men of whatever nationality who drew military pay. This included those such as the New Zealand 10th Contingent, who arrived in Durban in May 1902, but saw no fighting.
Approximately 178,000 medals were awarded. The medal, without clasp, was awarded to nurses, members of the Royal Navy who served offshore but did not land and to the troops who guarded Boer prisoners on the island of Saint Helena. Militia troops stationed on the Mediterranean during the war were awarded the Queen's Mediterranean Medal, while Merchant Navy officers on troopships were awarded the Transport Medal.
A separate King's South Africa Medal was instituted in 1902 by King Edward VII for those who had served in South Africa after 1 January 1902 and who had completed 18 months service in the conflict, not necessarily continuous, prior to the war's end on 1 June 1902. The King's Medal was always awarded in addition to the Queen's Medal, which continued to be awarded until the end of the war.
Altogether twenty-six clasps were awarded to recipients of the Queen's South Africa Medal, to indicate the actions and campaigns of the Second Boer War, the maximum awarded to any one recipient being nine. They were authorised in Army Order 94, April 1902, as amended. The official order of wear of all 26 clasps is according to the starting dates of the applicable battle or campaign and, in the case of the four clasps with the same starting dates, also according to the duration of the campaign. As they would appear on a ribbon and read from the suspender upwards, their order of wear is as follows, with the clasps at the bottom of the list appearing closest to the suspender and their applicable starting dates shown in brackets:
- SOUTH AFRICA 1902 (1 January to 31 May 1902)
- SOUTH AFRICA 1901 (1 January to 31 December 1901)
- BELFAST (26 August 1900)
- WITTEBERGEN (1 July 1900)
- DIAMOND HILL (11 June 1900)
- LAING'S NEK (2 June 1900)
- JOHANNESBURG (29 May 1900)
- TRANSVAAL (24 May 1900)
- WEPENER (9 April 1900)
- DRIEFONTEIN (10 March 1900)
- ORANGE FREE STATE (28 February 1900)
- PAARDEBERG (17 February 1900)
- RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY (15 February 1900)
- TUGELA HEIGHTS (14 February 1900)
- RELIEF OF LADYSMITH (15 December 1899)
- MODDER RIVER (28 November 1899)
- BELMONT (23 November 1899)
- DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH (3 November 1899)
- ELANDSLAAGTE (21 October 1899)
- TALANA (20 October 1899)
- DEFENCE OF KIMBERLEY (14 October 1899)
- DEFENCE OF MAFEKING (13 October 1899)
- RELIEF OF MAFEKING (11 October 1899 to 17 May 1900)
- RHODESIA (11 October 1899 to 17 May 1900)
- NATAL (11 October 1899 to 11 June 1900)
- CAPE COLONY (11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902)
Five unofficial clasps are known to exist, as follows:
A State clasp was awarded for service within that state, when no Battle clasp was awarded to the recipient for a specific action within the same state. A Queen's South Africa Medal could therefore not carry both a State clasp and a Battle clasp for actions within the same state. The "CAPE COLONY" and "NATAL" clasps were not awarded together, with "CAPE COLONY" awarded where a recipient qualified for both.
- "CAPE COLONY" – For service in the Cape of Good Hope at any time between 11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in the Cape of Good Hope, or the "Natal" clasp.
- "NATAL" – For service in the Colony of Natal at any time between 11 October 1899 and 11 June 1900, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in Natal or the Cape of Good Hope.
- "ORANGE FREE STATE" – For service in the Orange Free State at any time between 28 February 1900 and 31 May 1902, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in the Orange Free State.
- "RHODESIA" – For service who were under the command of Lieutenant General Sir F. Carrington and Colonel Plumer in Rhodesia between 11 October 1899 and 17 May 1900, or who landed at Beira, Mozambique, between 11 October 1899 and 25 May 1900.
- "TRANSVAAL" – For service in the South African Republic at any time between 24 May 1900 and 31 May 1902, who had not received a clasp for a specific action in the South African Republic.
The two date clasps are normally worn with the King's South Africa Medal, but are worn with the Queen's South Africa Medal when the recipient was ineligible for the award of the King's South Africa Medal, but had qualified for one or both of the clasps.
- "SOUTH AFRICA 1901" - Awarded to all troops who served in South Africa between 1 January 1901 and 31 December 1901, who were not eligible for the King's South Africa Medal.
- "SOUTH AFRICA 1902" - Awarded to all troops who served in South Africa between 1 January 1902 and 31 May 1902, who were not eligible for the King's South Africa Medal.
- "BELFAST" – Awarded to all troops who, on 26 or 27 August 1900, were east of a north-south line drawn through Wonderfontein, the garrison and troops quartered at Wonderfontein excluded, west of a north-south line drawn through Dalmanutha Station and north of an east-west line drawn through Carolina in the South African Republic.
- "BELMONT" - Awarded to all troops under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen's command who were north of Witteputs, Cape of Good Hope (exclusive) on 23 November 1899.
- "DEFENCE OF KIMBERLEY" - Awarded to all troops in the garrison of Kimberley, Cape of Good Hope between 14 October 1899 and 15 February 1900.
- "DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH" - Awarded to all troops in Ladysmith, Natal, between 3 November 1899 and 28 February 1900.
- "DEFENCE OF MAFEKING" - Awarded to all troops in the garrison of Mafeking, Cape of Good Hope, between 13 October 1899 and 17 May 1900.
- "DIAMOND HILL" – Awarded to all troops who, on 11 or 12 June 1900, were east of a north-south line drawn through Silverton Siding and north of an east-west line drawn through Vlakfontein in the South African Republic.
- "DRIEFONTEIN" - Awarded to all troops with Army Headquarters, and Lieutenant General John French's column which advanced from Poplar Grove in the Orange Free State on 10 March 1900.
- "ELANDSLAAGTE" - Awarded to all troops at Elandslaagte, Natal, on 21 October 1899, who were on the right bank of the Sunday River in Natal and north of an east-west line drawn through Buys Farm.
- "JOHANNESBURG" - Awarded to all troops who, on 29 May 1900, were north of an east-west line drawn through Klip River Station (exclusive) and east of a north-south line drawn through Krugersdorp Station (inclusive) in the South African Republic.
- "LAING'S NEK" - Awarded to all troops of the Natal Field Force employed in the operations at Laing's Nek Pass, north of an east-west line drawn through Newcastle, Natal, between 2 and 9 June 1900.
- "MODDER RIVER" - Awarded to all troops under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen's command who were north of Heuningneskloof, Cape of Good Hope (exclusive), and south of the Magersfontein ridge (exclusive) on 28 November 1899.
- "PAARDEBERG" - Awarded to all troops within 7,000 yards of General Piet Cronjé's final laager in the Orange Free State between midnight of 17 February 1900 and midnight of 26 February 1900, and to all troops within 7,000 yards of Kudusrand Drift between the same dates.
- "RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY" - Awarded to all troops in the relief column under Lieutenant General French who marched from Klipdrift on 15 February 1900, and all the 6th Division troops under Lieutenant General Thomas Kelly-Kenny who were within 7,000 yards of Klipdrift on 15 February 1900.
- "RELIEF OF LADYSMITH" - Awarded to all troops in Natal north of and including Estcourt between 15 December 1899 and 28 February 1900.
- "RELIEF OF MAFEKING" - Awarded to all troops under the command of Colonel Bryan Mahon who marched from Barkly West, Cape of Good Hope, on 4 May 1900, and to all troops under the command of Colonel Herbert Plumer between 11 October 1899 and 17 May 1900, who were south of an east-west line drawn through Palachwe in Bechuanaland Protectorate.
- "TALANA" - Awarded to all troops under Major General Sir William Penn Symons' command on 20 October 1899 who were north of an east-west line drawn through the railway station at Waschbank, Natal.
- "TUGELA HEIGHTS" - Awarded to all troops of the Natal Field Force, exclusive of the Ladysmith garrison, employed in the operations north of an east-west line drawn through Chieveley Station between 14 and 27 February 1900.
- "WEPENER" - Awarded to all troops engaged in the defence of Wepener, Orange Free State, between 9 April 1900 and 25 April 1900e.
- "WITTEBERGEN" - Awarded to all troops who were inside a line drawn from Harrismith to Bethlehem, thence to Senekal and Clocolan in the Orange Free State along the Basutoland border, and back to Harrismith, between 1 and 29 July 1900.
The Queen's South Africa Medal is a silver or bronze disk, 38 millimetres (1.5 inches) in diameter. The bronze medal was awarded to some Indian troops and non-combatant men of whatever nationality who drew military pay, although some silver medals were awarded to native troops. The suspender is attached to the medal with a claw mount and a pin through the upper edge of the medal.
The reverse, designed by G. W. de Saulles, shows Britannia holding the Union Flag in her left hand and a laurel wreath in her right hand. In the right background are troops marching inland from the coast. In the left background are two men-of-war, with Neptune's Trident and Britannia's shield on the ground in the foreground. Around the top perimeter are the words "SOUTH AFRICA". Three types of reverse exist.
- The first medals were awarded to Lord Strathcona's Horse and bore the years "1899" and "1900" below Britannia's wreath, with the wreath almost touching the "R" of "AFRICA". Approximately fifty of these medals were awarded.
- The years were machined off both the dies and the remaining minted medals, although 'ghost' years are sometimes still visible, as depicted alongside.
- Subsequent mintings were done with new dies, without the years and with the wreath now almost touching the "F" of "AFRICA", as depicted by the main picture.
The clasps were attached to the suspender and to each other in roller chain fashion with rivets. Clasps were often issued to an eligible recipient after the medal, in particular those for South Africa 1901 and 1902, with the result that they were sometimes attached with unofficial rivets, or worn loose on the ribbon.
The recipient's name and details were impressed on the rim of the medal, with some officer's medals engraved.
The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 7 millimetres wide red band and a 4 millimetres wide dark blue band, repeated in reverse order and separated by a 10 millimetres wide orange band.
Order of wear
Campaign medals and stars are not listed by name in the order of wear prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, but are all grouped together as taking precedence after the Queen's Medal for Chiefs and before the Polar Medals, in order of the date of the campaign for which awarded.
The British order of precedence of the Second Boer War campaign medals is as follows:
- The Queen's South Africa Medal.
- The Queen's Mediterranean Medal.
- The Transport Medal.
- The King's South Africa Medal.
Even though the Republican awards for the Second Boer War, the Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst and the two campaign awards, the Medalje voor de Anglo-Boere Oorlog and the Lint voor Verwonding, were instituted on behalf of King George V by His Royal Highness, the Governor General of the Union of South Africa, the Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst is not listed in the British order of wear and the two campaign awards would therefore most likely also have been excluded.
The South African order of precedence of the Second Boer War campaign medals, in order of the date of the campaign for which awarded, is as follows:
- The Queen's South Africa Medal.
- The Medalje voor de Anglo-Boere Oorlog.
- The Lint voor Verwonding.
- The King's South Africa Medal.
On 6 April 1952 the Union of South Africa instituted its own range of military decorations and medals. These new awards were worn before all earlier British decorations and medals awarded to South Africans, with the exception of the Victoria Cross, which still took precedence before all other awards. Of the official British campaign medals which were applicable to South Africans, the Queen's South Africa Medal took precedence as shown.
- Preceded by the Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal.
- Succeeded by the Medalje voor de Anglo-Boere Oorlog.
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