Van Riebeeck Decoration
|Van Riebeeck Decoration|
Van Riebeeck Decoration and Bar
|Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms and, from 1961, the State President|
|Type||Military decoration for bravery|
|Awarded for||Distinguished service in the field|
|Status||Discontinued in 1975|
|SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear|
The Van Riebeeck Decoration, post-nominal letters DVR, is a South African military decoration for bravery that was instituted by the Union of South Africa in 1952. It was awarded to officers for distinguished service in the field.
The South African military
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).
Orders, decorations and medals
In April 1952 a series of military decorations and medals was instituted, consisting of substitutes for many of the British and Commonwealth awards which had earlier been used. More decorations and medals, as well as an emblem for being mentioned in dispatches, were added between 1953 and 1970. In July 1975 the military decorations and medals of the Republic were revised. Some decorations and medals were carried over from the earlier series of 1952-1975 and new awards were instituted, followed by more between 1987 and 1991. 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.
Fount of Honour
Until 1958 the top three awards were reserved for conferment by the Queen while the rest were awarded by the Governor-General, but in 1958 the Governor-General was authorised to also award the top three. In 1961 the State President became the Fount of Honour, and in 1994 the President.
The Van Riebeeck Decoration, post-nominal letters DVR, was instituted on 6 April 1952 during the Tercentenary Van Riebeeck Festival. The logical post-nominal letters would have been VRD, but since those were already being used for the Decoration for Officers of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve which was also awarded to South Africans, the letters DVR were chosen instead.
The Van Riebeeck Decoration was awarded to officers for distinguished service against an enemy in the field. Only two decorations were ever awarded, both in 1972. A silver-gilt bar was authorised to denote a second award, but was never awarded.
Order of wear
With effect from 6 April 1952, when the Van Riebeeck Decoration and several other new decorations and medals were instituted, these new awards took precedence before all earlier British orders, 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.
The position of the Van Riebeeck Decoration in the official order of precedence was revised twice after 1975 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 and again with the institution of a new set of awards on 27 April 2003.
- South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994
- Official SADF order of precedence:
- Official national order of precedence:
- South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994
- Official SANDF order of precedence:
- Official national order of precedence:
The position of the Van Riebeeck Decoration 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. However, the two Police decorations that succeed the Van Riebeeck Decoration, the South African Police Silver Cross for Gallantry (SCG) and the South African Police Cross for Bravery, Silver (PCFS) exchanged seniority in the official order of precedence as it was published for 1994 and 2003.
The Van Riebeeck Decoration was struck in silver-gilt and is in the shape of the five-pointed outline of the Castle of Good Hope, to fit in a circle 38 millimetres in diameter. The suspension consists of a cluster of eight protea leaves. The statue of Jan van Riebeeck that stands in the Heerengracht in Cape Town is depicted in relief against a background of three rings, representing Van Riebeeck's three ships, with the outer ring inscribed "UITNEMENDE DIENS" at left and "DISTINGUISHED SERVICE" at right.
The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms. Specimens struck before 31 May 1961 had Queen Elizabeth II's royal cipher (E II R) above the coat of arms, but this was removed by the time the decoration was first awarded.
The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and sky blue.
The Bar displays a field cannon in its centre. When ribbons alone are worn, a separate button displaying a field cannon would have been worn on the ribbon bar. The Bar was never awarded.
The Van Riebeeck Decoration was discontinued in July 1975 when the military decorations and medals of the Republic were revised and some of the 1952 series of decorations and medals were replaced with new decorations and medals.
|DVR no.||Name||Rank||Service||Unit||Date||Action cited for|
|1||Breytenbach, Jan||Cmdt||SA Army||1 RR||2 Aug 1974||Special Forces operation in Tanzania |
|2||Woodburne, Lambert Jackson||Lt Cdr||SA Navy||SAS EH||2 Aug 1974||Special Forces operation in Tanzania |
- Van Riebeeck Medal
- South African honours system
- South African military decorations
- South African military decorations order of wear
- South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
- South African Medal Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)
- South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
- Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
- Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
- Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
- South African Medal Website - Legal aspects - Fount of Honour (Accessed 1 May 2015)
- CometoCapeTown.com Blast from the past – Van Riebeeck festival in 1952
- Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
- The London Gazette: . 17 March 2003. (Access date 14 April 2015)
- 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.
- Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
- Monick, S, (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History.
- Uys, Ian (1992). Cross of Honour. Germiston: Uys. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0958317321.