Star of South Africa (1952)

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Star of South Africa
Star of South Africa.jpg
Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms and, from 1961, the State President
Country  South Africa
Type Military decoration for merit
Eligibility General and flag officers
Awarded for Exceptionally meritorious service
Status Discontinued in 1975
Post-nominals SSA
Statistics
Established 1952
First awarded 1960
Last awarded 1975
Total awarded 20
SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
SANDF precedence:
  • Flag of Bophuthatswana.svg Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander
Next (lower)
SADF succession:
SANDF succession:
Ribbon - Star of South Africa (1952).gif
Ribbon bar

The Star of South Africa, post-nominal letters SSA, is a military decoration for merit which was instituted by the Union of South Africa in 1952. It was awarded to general and flag officers of the South African Defence Force for exceptionally meritorious service. The Star of South Africa was discontinued on 1 July 1975, when a new set of orders, decorations and medals was instituted.[1][2]

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][5][6]

Institution[edit]

The Star of South Africa, post-nominal letters SSA, was introduced by Queen Elizabeth II on 6 April 1952, during the Tercentenary Van Riebeeck Festival. It was formally instituted by the Queen on 26 January 1953.[7]

The decoration was named after the first large diamond to be found in South Africa, the Star of South Africa, which was found on the banks of the Orange River in 1869 and which sparked the New Rush, leading to the establishment of Kimberley.[2][8][9]

Award criteria[edit]

The Star of South Africa was awarded to general and flag officers for exceptionally meritorious service. In effect, it took the place of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), which had been awarded to senior South African officers during World War II.[2][8][9]

Order of wear[edit]

With effect from 6 April 1952, when the Star of South Africa and several other new decorations and medals were instituted, these new awards took precedence 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. The other older British awards continued to be worn in the order prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood.[10][11][12]

The position of the Star of South Africa in the official order of precedence was revised three times after 1975, to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, upon the integration into the South African National Defence Force in 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 decorations and medals was instituted in South Africa on 27 April 2003.

South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994

Star of South Africa, Silver (SSAS) Star of South Africa (1952) (SSA) Louw Wepener Decoration (LWD)

South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander Star of South Africa (1952) (SSA) Louw Wepener Decoration (LWD)

  • Official SANDF order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander of the Republic of Bophuthatswana.
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Decoration (LWD) of the Republic of South Africa.[12]
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Order of Good Hope Class III, Commander of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Decoration for Meritorious Service (DMS) of the Republic of South Africa.[12]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003

Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander Star of South Africa (1952) (SSA) Louw Wepener Decoration (LWD)

  • Official SANDF order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander of the Republic of Bophuthatswana.
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Decoration (LWD) of the Republic of South Africa.[12]
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Companion of O.R. Tambo, Bronze of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Decoration for Meritorious Service (DMS) of the Republic of South Africa.[12]

Description[edit]

Obverse

The Star of South Africa was struck in silver and consists of eight five-pointed stars of differing sizes, superimposed on each other, to fit into a 50 millimetres diameter circle.[8][9][14]

Reverse

The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms. Specimens which were minted and awarded before South Africa became a republic on 31 May 1961, have Queen Elizabeth's royal cipher (E II R) above the Coat of Arms.[8][9]

Ribbon
General Magnus Malan, wearing the Star of South Africa, Gold

The decoration is worn around the neck on an orange ribbon, 44 millimetres wide, with three green bands in the centre, all 3 millimetres wide and spaced 6 millimetres apart.[8][9]

Discontinuation[edit]

Conferment of the decoration was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 1 July 1975, when the Order of the Star of South Africa was instituted.[4]

In 1977, recipients of the Star of South Africa of 1952 were promoted to the new Order of the Star of South Africa, by being presented with the Star of South Africa, Gold in substitution of their existing decorations.[14]

One documented example is Lieutenant General Colin Cockcroft SSA SM, whose 1952 decoration (no. 38) was replaced by the Star of South Africa, Gold (no. 5) on 15 April 1977.[14]

Another example is General Magnus Malan SSA SD OMSG SM MP, whose photograph alongside shows him wearing the Star of South Africa, Gold around his neck as well as the miniature on his chest, while the main picture at the top of this page shows the Star of South Africa of 1952 named to him.

Recipients[edit]

Name Rank Service
Arm
Appointment Date
awarded
Melville, S.A. Cmdt Gen SAAF Commandant General SADF 13 May 1960
Grobbelaar, P.H. Maj Gen SA Army Deputy Commandant General 13 May 1960
Hiemstra, R.C. Maj Gen SAAF Inspector General SADF 13 May 1960
Viljoen, B.G. Maj Gen SAAF Air Chief of Staff 13 May 1960
Biermann, H.H. R Adm SAN Naval Chief of Staff 13 May 1960
Bierman, J.N. Maj Gen SA Army Director of Operations 14 May 1965
Jacobs, P.J. Maj Gen SA Army Army Chief of Staff 14 May 1965
Hartzenberg, C.H. Maj Gen SAAF Chief of Defence Force Administration 16 Jun 1967
Fraser, C.A. Lt Gen SA Army General Officer Commading, Joint Combat Forces 13 Jun 1969
Laubscher, P.H. Maj Gen SA Army Deputy Chief of Defence Staff 13 Jun 1969
Loots, F.W. Maj Gen SA Army Director General Military Intelligence 13 Jun 1969
Raymond, E.C. Maj Gen SAMS Surgeon General 13 Jun 1969
Van der Riet, W.R. Lt Gen SA Army Chief of Defence Staff 25 May 1973
Terry-Lloyd, M.R. R Adm SAN 25 May 1973
Cockcroft, Colin Royden SM Lt Gen SAMS Surgeon General 28 Jun 1974
Louw, W.P. Lt Gen SA Army Inspector General SADF 28 Jun 1974
Verster, J.P. Lt Gen SAAF Chief of the Air Force 28 Jun 1974
Armstrong, R.F. Lt Gen SAAF Chief of Staff SADF 6 Jun 1975
Malan, M.A.d.M. Lt Gen SA Army Chief of the Army 6 Jun 1975
Johnson, J. V Adm SAN Chief of the Navy 6 Jun 1975

References[edit]

  1. ^ South African Medal Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  3. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
  4. ^ a b South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  5. ^ Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
  6. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  7. ^ CometoCapeTown.com Blast from the past – Van Riebeeck festival in 1952
  8. ^ a b c d e Alexander, E.G.M., Barron, G.K.B. and Bateman, A.J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau.
  9. ^ a b c d e Monick, S, (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56878. p. 3352. 17 March 2003. (Access date 14 April 2015)
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b c d e Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  13. ^ a b Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  14. ^ a b c City Coins, Cape Town - Postal Medal Auction 62 - Closing Date: 29 June 012 17:00 Hrs RSA. Lot 224, pp. 104-105. (Accessed 9 May 2015)