South African military decorations order of wear

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Mounted medal set.jpg

The first South African military medal was a campaign medal, the South Africa Medal, instituted in 1854 by Queen Victoria, the Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, for award to officers and men of the Royal Navy and British Army who served on the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony between 1834 and 1853 during the Xhosa Wars.[1]

Five more South African campaign medals were instituted during the Colonial era until 1910, when the Union of South Africa was established as a dominion of the British Empire. After Union and until 1952, members of the Union Defence Forces (UDF) could be awarded decorations and medals of the British Empire and, from 1949, the British Commonwealth. A number of purely South African decorations and medals were also instituted during this period, such as belated awards for Boer forces who fought in the Second Boer War, a Union commemorative medal and South African versions of some Empire medals with bilingual inscriptions in English and Dutch or Afrikaans.[2]

The first purely South African military orders, decorations and medals were instituted in 1952 by Queen Elizabeth II, the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms. From 1961 decorations and medals were instituted by the South African State President and, between 1976 and 1994, also by the Presidents of the TBVC States, Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei. These awards were instituted in seven groups for the seven separate military and para-military forces that were integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994.[2][3]

The South African military[edit]

The Union of South Africa was established on 31 May 1910 in terms of the South Africa Act, 1909, enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In terms of Section 17 of the Act the command-in-chief of the naval and military forces within the Union was vested in the British Monarch or in the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa as his representative.[4]

The Union Defence Forces were established in 1912 in terms of the Union Defence Act, no. 13 of 1912, enacted by the Parliament of the Union of South Africa. The UDF were renamed the South African Defence Force (SADF) in 1958. On 27 April 1994 the SADF was integrated with six other independent South African military and para-military forces into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).[5][6]

The seven constituent forces of the SANDF were:

Orders, decorations and medals[edit]

Until 31 May 1961 the Fount of Honour was the British monarch. In 1961 the State President of South Africa became the Fount of Honour. In the TBVC states, established between 1976 and 1981, the Founts of Honour were the respective State Presidents. On 27 April 1994 the President of South Africa became the Fount of Honour for all military orders, decorations and medals.[5]

The Colonial and Dominion era[edit]

Until 1961, at first during the Colonial era and then from 1910 when the Union of South Africa was established, all military decorations and medals that were awarded to members of the Colonial Forces, the UDF and SADF were instituted by the British Monarch.[3]

The 1952-1975 group[edit]

The first purely South African military decorations and medals were instituted by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms on 6 April 1952 and, from 31 May 1961, by the State President. In 1952 a series of military decorations and medals was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II, consisting of substitutes for many of the British and Commonwealth awards which had been used until then. There were initially ten awards, to which a further eight as well as an emblem for being mentioned in dispatches were added between 1953 and 1970. All displayed the national Coat of Arms on the reverse, with the exception of the Union Medal and the Permanent Force Good Service Medal that had it on the obverse. Those awarded before South Africa became a republic in 1961 had Queen Elizabeth II's royal cipher above the Coat of Arms on the reverse.[5]

The 1975-2003 group[edit]

During the limited representation Republican era, in July 1975, the military decorations and medals of the Republic were revised. Seven decorations and medals were carried over from the earlier series of 1952-1975 and, along with the Order of the Star of South Africa with decorations in two military and five non-military classes, thirteen new awards were instituted. They were followed by another eleven new decorations and medals between 1987 and 1991. With the exception of the Pro Virtute Decoration, the trio of Good Service Medals and the National Cadet Bisley Grand Champion Medal, all displayed the national Coat of Arms on the reverse.[7][8][9]

The TBVC group[edit]

Between 1976 and 1981 the four independent republics of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei, known collectively as the TBVC states, were established within South Africa. Each of them instituted a set of military decorations and medals for award to members of their respective defence forces.[10][11][12][13]

The MK and APLA group[edit]

On 27 April 1994 South Africa became a fully representative republic. In 1996 a set of decorations and medals were instituted for award to members and veterans of MK and APLA.[14]

The 2003 group[edit]

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.[15]

Order of wear[edit]

Until 5 April 1952 all South African, other Commonwealth and foreign orders, decorations and medals awarded to South Africans were worn in the order of wear as prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood.[3][16]

With effect from 6 April 1952 the aforementioned awards continued to be worn in the order of wear as prescribed on 5 April 1952 but, with one exception, took precedence after all South African orders, decorations and medals awarded to South Africans on or after that date. The exception was the Victoria Cross which, if awarded to a South African before 6 April 1952, still took precedence before all other awards.[2][3]

Sorting keys

The table below lists all the South African military orders, decorations and medals in the official order of wear. All the table columns are sortable and the two columns for order of wear, "OoW 2003" and "OoW 1993", will sort the awards in either the combined order of wear that became effective on 27 April 2003, or in the individual orders of wear of the seven constituent forces that were integrated into the SANDF on 27 April 1994.[2][3][16]

Most decorations for gallantry, distinguished and meritorious service and exceptional devotion to duty entitle the recipients to use the post-nominal letters as shown in the "PN" column of the table. These are succeeded, in order, by campaign medals in order of date of campaign, commemoration medals in order of date of institution, decorations and medals for efficiency, long service and good conduct, medals for skill at arms and proficiency in musketry, pre-1952 British era decorations and medals, and awards for voluntary and unremunerated service.[2][3][16][17]


OoW 2003
Order, Decoration or Medal PN Type OoW
1993
From To
1 Victoria Cross VC Bravery 100 1856 1952
2 Honoris Crux Gold HCG Bravery 101 1975 1992
5 Gold Star for Bravery GSB Bravery 701 1996 2003
6 Star for Bravery in Gold SBG Bravery 601 1996 2003
7 Nkwe ya Gauta NG Bravery 801 2003
10 Star of South Africa, Gold SSA Merit 102 1975 2002
22 Star of South Africa, Silver SSAS Merit 103 1975 2002
38 Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander Merit 300 1992 1994
49 Star of South Africa SSA Merit 104 1952 1975
67 Louw Wepener Decoration LWD Bravery 105 1952 1975
72 Distinguished Gallantry Cross Bravery 301 1982 1994
75 Gallantry Cross, Gold GCG Bravery 401 1985 1994
84 Honoris Crux (1952) HC Bravery 106 1952 1975
85 Honoris Crux Silver HCS Bravery 107 1975 2003
86 Van Riebeeck Decoration DVR Bravery 108 1952 1975
96 Honoris Crux (1975) HC Bravery 109 1975 2003
100 Gallantry Cross, Silver GCS Bravery 402 1985 1994
105 Cross for Bravery Bravery 201 1994 1994
108 Bravery Star in Silver BSS Bravery 702 1996 2003
109 Star for Bravery in Silver SBS Bravery 602 1996 2003
110 Nkwe ya Selefera NS Bravery 802 2003
112 Pro Virtute Decoration PVD Bravery 110 1987 2003
113 Southern Cross Decoration SD Merit 111 1975 2003
114 Pro Merito Decoration PMD Merit 112 1975 2003
115 Conspicuous Leadership Star CLS Bravery 603 1996 2003
116 Star for Conspicuous Leadership SCL Bravery 703 1996 2003
125 Defence Force Merit Decoration Merit 302 1982 1994
129 Distinguished Service Medal, Gold Merit 403 1985 1994
132 Sandile Decoration SD Merit 501 1988 1994
136 Decoration for Merit in Gold DMG Merit 604 1996 2003
137 Gold Decoration for Merit GDM Merit 704 1996 2003
138 iPhrothiya yeGolide PG Merit 803 2003
152 Van Riebeeck Medal VRM Bravery 113 1952 1975
153 Louw Wepener Medal LWM Bravery 114 1967 1975
154 Distinguished Gallantry Medal Bravery 303 1982 1994
156 Nkwe ya Boronse NB Bravery 804 2003
158 Ad Astra Decoration AAD Bravery 115 1991 2003
159 Army Cross CM Bravery 116 1987 2003
160 Air Force Cross CA Bravery 117 1987 2003
161 Navy Cross CN Bravery 118 1987 2003
162 Medical Service Cross CC Bravery 119 1987 2003
163 Southern Cross Medal (1952) SM Merit 120 1952 1975
164 Pro Merito Medal (1967) PMM Merit 121 1967 1975
170 Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Merit 404 1985 1994
180 Southern Cross Medal (1975) SM Merit 122 1975 2003
181 Pro Merito Medal (1975) PMM Merit 123 1975 2003
185 Defence Force Merit Medal Merit 304 1982 1994
187 Sandile Medal SM Merit 502 1988 1994
189 Marumo Medal, Class I Merit 305 1988 1994
193 Merit Medal in Silver MMS Merit 605 1996 2003
194 Silver Medal for Merit SMM Merit 705 1996 2003
195 iPhrothiya yeSiliva PS Merit 805 2003
199 Danie Theron Medal DTM Merit 124 1970 1993
200 Jack Hindon Medal JHM Merit 125 1970 1975
201 Military Merit Medal MMM Merit 126 1974 2003
204 Defence Force Commendation Medal Merit 306 1982 1994
205 Venda Defence Force Medal Merit 405 1984 1994
209 Marumo Medal, Class II Merit 307 1988 1994
210 Transkei Defence Force Medal Merit 202 1994 1994
211 Bronze Medal for Merit BMM Merit 706 1996 2003
212 Merit Medal in Bronze MMB Merit 606 1996 2003
213 iPhrothiya yeBhronzi PB Merit 806 2003
214 Chief C.D.F. Commendation Medal Merit 504 1992 1994
215.2 Korea Medal Campaign 127.2 1953
217 Pro Patria Medal Campaign 128 1974 1994
222 General Service Medal (Venda) Campaign 406 1985 1994
225 Southern Africa Medal Campaign 129 1987 1994
226 General Service Medal (South Africa) Campaign 130 1987 2003
227 Ciskei Defence Medal Campaign 505 1988 1994
228 Nkwe Medal Campaign 308 1990 1994
229 General Service Medal (Bophuthatswana) Campaign 309 1991 1994
230 Operational Medal for Southern Africa Campaign 607 1998 2003
231 South Africa Service Medal Campaign 608 1998 2003
232 Tshumelo Ikatelaho Campaign 807 2003
233 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Commem. 131 1953 1953
234 Independence Medal (Transkei) Commem. 203 1976 1976
235 Independence Medal (Bophuthatswana) Commem. 310 1977 1977
237 Independence Medal (Venda) Commem. 407 1979 1979
240 Independence Medal (Ciskei) Commem. 506 1981 1981
250 Military Rule Medal Commem. 204 1994 1994
251 Unitas Medal Commem. 808 1994 1994
252 Closure Commemoration Medal Commem. 809 2003
253 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 50 years Service 810 2003
254 Medal for Distinguished Conduct and Loyal Service Service 132 1987 2003
255 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 40 years Service 811 2003
262 Good Service Medal, Gold Service 133 1975 2003
269 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, Gold Service 311 1982 1994
273 Long Service Medal, Gold Service 408 1985 1994
282 Gold Service Medal Service 707 1996 2003
283 Service Medal in Gold Service 609 1996 2003
284 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 30 years Service 812 2003
285 John Chard Decoration JCD Service 134 1952 2003
286 De Wet Decoration DWD Service 135 1965 2003
287 Cadet Corps Medal Service 136 1966 1986
288 Good Service Medal, Silver Service 137 1975 2003
296 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, Silver Service 312 1982 1994
300 Long Service Medal, Silver Service 409 1985 1994
310 Service Medal in Silver Service 610 1996 2003
311 Silver Service Medal Service 708 1996 2003
312 Medalje vir Troue Diens and Bar, 20 years RD ♠ Service 813 2003
316 Union Medal Service 138 1952 1961
318 Permanent Force Good Service Medal Service 139 1961 1975
324 John Chard Medal Service 140 1952 2003
326 Good Service Medal, Bronze Service 141 1975 2003
333 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, Bronze Service 313 1982 1994
337 Long Service Medal, Bronze Service 410 1985 1994
342 De Wet Medal Service 142 1987 2003
343 Faithful Service Medal Service 205 1987 1994
344 Medal for Long Service, Bronze Service 507 1988 1994
350 Bronze Service Medal Service 709 1996 2003
351 Service Medal in Bronze Service 611 1996 2003
352 Medalje vir Troue Diens Service 814 2003
356 Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces Bisley 143 1924 1961
357 Commandant General's Medal Bisley 144 1965 1975
358 SADF Champion Shot Medal Bisley 145 1975 2003
359 National Cadet Bisley Grand Champion Medal Bisley 146 1987
360 President's Medal for Shooting Bisley 508 1988 1994
361 State President's Medal for Shooting Bisley 314 1990 1994
375 Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst DTD Merit 147.04 1920 1946
376 Distinguished Service Order DSO Bravery 147.05 1886 1952
379 Distinguished Service Cross DSC Bravery 147.08 1901 1952
380 Military Cross MC Bravery 147.09 1914 1952
381 Distinguished Flying Cross DFC Bravery 147.10 1918 1952
382 Air Force Cross AFC Bravery 147.11 1918 1952
383.1 Distinguished Conduct Medal DCM Bravery 147.12 1854 1952
383.2 Distinguished Conduct Medal (Natal) DCM Bravery 147.13 1897 1913
384.1 Conspicuous Gallantry Medal CGM Bravery 147.141 1874 1952
384.2 Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) CGM Bravery 147.142 1943 1952
385 Distinguished Service Medal DSM Bravery 147.15 1914 1952
386 Military Medal MM Bravery 147.16 1916 1952
387 Distinguished Flying Medal DFM Bravery 147.17 1918 1952
388 Air Force Medal AFM Bravery 147.18 1918 1952
389 British Empire Medal (Military) BEM Merit 147.19 1922 1952
402.1834 South Africa Medal (1853) Campaign 148.1834 1854
402.1877 South Africa Medal (1880) Campaign 148.1877 1880
402.1880 Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal Campaign 148.1880 1900
402.18991 Queen's South Africa Medal Campaign 148.18991 1900
402.18992 Medalje voor de Anglo-Boere Oorlog Campaign 148.18992 1920 1982
402.18993 Lint voor Verwonding Campaign 148.18993 1920 1949
402.1902 King's South Africa Medal Campaign 148.1902 1902
402.1906 Natal Native Rebellion Medal Campaign 148.1906 1907
402.19142 1914–15 Star Campaign 148.19142 1918
402.19143 British War Medal Campaign 148.19143 1919
402.19144 Victory Medal (South Africa) Campaign 148.19144 1919
402.19146 Mercantile Marine War Medal Campaign 148.19146 1919
402.19391 1939–1945 Star Campaign 148.19391 1943
402.19392 Atlantic Star Campaign 148.19392 1945
402.19393 Arctic Star Campaign 148.19393 2012
402.19394 Air Crew Europe Star Campaign 148.19394 1945
402.19395 Africa Star Campaign 148.19395 1943
402.19396 Pacific Star Campaign 148.19396 1945
402.19397 Burma Star Campaign 148.19397 1945
402.19398 Italy Star Campaign 148.19398 1945
402.19399 France and Germany Star Campaign 148.19399 1945
402.19451 Defence Medal (United Kingdom) Campaign 148.19451 1945
402.19452 War Medal 1939–1945 Campaign 148.19452 1945
402.19453 Africa Service Medal Campaign 148.19453 1943
403.0 Meritorious Service Medal (United Kingdom) MSM ♣ Gallantry 149.0 1916 1928
403.1 Meritorious Service Medal (Cape of Good Hope) Service 149.01 1896 1913
403.2 Meritorious Service Medal (Natal) Service 149.02 1897 1913
403.3 Meritorious Service Medal (South Africa) Service 149.03 1914 1939
403.4 Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Cape) Service 149.04 1896 1910
403.5 Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Natal) Service 149.05 1897 1910
403.6 Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas Medal Service 149.06 1910 1930
403.7 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (South Africa) Service 149.07 1930 1952
404.1 Volunteer Officers' Decoration for India and the Colonies VD Service 150.1 1894 1899
404.2 Volunteer Long Service Medal for India and the Colonies Service 150.2 1896 1899
404.3 Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration VD Service 150.3 1899 1930
404.4 Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal Service 150.4 1899 1930
404.9 Efficiency Decoration (South Africa) ED Service 150.5 1930 1952
405 Efficiency Medal (South Africa) Service 151 1930 1952
406 Decoration for Officers of the R.N.V.R. VRD Service 152 1915 1952
407 R.N.V.R. Long Service and Good Conduct Medal Service 153 1915 1952
408 Air Efficiency Award AE Service 154 1942 1952
418 Union of South Africa Commemoration Medal Commem. 162 1910 1911
420 South African Medal for War Services Volunteer 163 1945
420.1851 Sir Harry Smith's Medal for Gallantry Unofficial 164.1851 1851
420.1899 Johannesburg Vrijwilliger Corps Medal Unofficial 164.1899 1899
420.1900 Kimberley Star Unofficial 164.1900 1900
420.1902 Cape Copper Company Medal for the Defence of O'okiep Unofficial 164.1902 1902
Notes
  • ♠ In respect of recipients of the Emblem for Reserve Force Service only, indicating "Reserve Distinction".
  • ♣ Use of the post-nominal MSM was restricted to awards for acts of gallantry durimg World War I.
  • ♥ Use of the post-nominal AE was restricted to officers only.

Errors and exclusions[edit]

The official order of wear of 2005 contains the caveat that, in the absence of full information on some awards, there may be among the awards listed for the TBVC states some which were never awarded. The official list contains minor errors, one of these being the post-nominal letters "VRD" instead of "DVR" for the Van Riebeeck Decoration. The post-nominal letters "VRD" are used for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Decoration.[2]

The following decorations and medals are excluded from the table:[2]

  • Civil, police, prisons and other non-military decorations and medals.
  • Military decorations that, while officially instituted, were never awarded and now never will be. These include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ The South African Military History Society - Military History Journal, Vol 4 No 4, Zulu War Centenary Issue, January 1979 - The Medals of the Zulu War, 11 January to 1st September, 1879
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  3. ^ a b c d e f Government Notice no. 1982 of 1 October 1954 - Order of Precedence of Orders, Decorations and Medals, published in the Government Gazette of 1 October 1954.
  4. ^ South Africa Act, 1909, enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 20 September 1909
  5. ^ a b c South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  6. ^ The South African Railways - Historical Survey. Editor George Hart, Publisher Bill Hart, Sponsored by Dorbyl Ltd., Published c. 1978, p. 25.
  7. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
  8. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
  9. ^ South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  10. ^ South African Medals Website - Transkei Defence Force (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  11. ^ South African Medals Website - Bophuthatswana Defence Force (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  12. ^ South African Medals Website - Venda Defence Force (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  13. ^ South African Medals Website - Ciskei Defence Force (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  14. ^ South African Medals Website - Liberation armies (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  15. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  16. ^ a b c The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56878. p. 3353. 17 March 2003.
  17. ^ South African Medals Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)