Van Riebeeck Medal

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Van Riebeeck Medal
Van Riebeeck Medal.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 bravery
Eligibility Other Ranks
Awarded for Distinguished service in the field
Status Discontinued in 1975
Post-nominals VRM
Statistics
Established 1952
First awarded 1974
Last awarded 1974
Total awarded 5
SADF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:
SANDF precedence:
Next (lower)
SADF succession:
SANDF succession:
Ribbon - Van Riebeeck Medal.gif
Ribbon bar

The Van Riebeeck Medal, post-nominal letters VRM, is a military decoration for bravery which was instituted by the Union of South Africa in 1952. It was awarded to other ranks for distinguished service in the field.[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).[1]

Institution[edit]

The Van Riebeeck Medal, post-nominal letters VRM, was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II on 6 April 1952, during the Tercentenary Van Riebeeck Festival.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Award criteria[edit]

The medal could be awarded to other ranks of the South African Defence Force for distinguished service against an enemy in the field. The medal is the other ranks' equivalent of the Van Riebeeck Decoration (DVR) for officers and is identical in design. Only five decorations were ever awarded. A silver bar was authorised to denote a second award, but was never awarded.[1]

Order of wear[edit]

With effect from 6 April 1952, when the Van Riebeeck Medal and several other new decorations and medals were instituted, these new awards took precedence before all British decorations and medals which had earlier been 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.[7][8][9]

The position of the Van Riebeeck Medal in the official order of precedence was revised three times after 1975, to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first upon the integration into the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994, again in April 1996, when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and finally upon the institution of a new set of awards on 27 April 2003.[9][10]

South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994

Pro Merito Decoration (PMD) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

  • Official SADF order of precedence:
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the National Intelligence Service Medal for Distinguished Service, Gold (OO).
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Medal (LWM).[10]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

Sandile Decoration (SD) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

  • Official SANDF order of precedence:
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Prisons Service Star for Distinction (PSD) of the Republic of Ciskei.
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Medal (LWM) of the Republic of South Africa.[9]
South African National Defence Force from April 1996

Gold Decoration for Merit (GDM) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

  • Official SANDF order of precedence:
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Prisons Service Star for Distinction (PSD) of the Republic of Ciskei.
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Medal (LWM) of the Republic of South Africa.[9]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003

iPhrothiya yeGolide (PG) Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) Louw Wepener Medal (LWM)

  • Official SANDF order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the iPhrothiya yeGolide (PG) of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Medal (LWM) of the Republic of South Africa.[9]
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Prisons Service Star for Distinction (PSD) of the Republic of Ciskei.
    • Succeeded by the Louw Wepener Medal (LWM) of the Republic of South Africa.[9]

Description[edit]

Obverse

The Van Riebeeck Medal was struck in silver 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, which 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.[1][11]

Reverse

The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms. Specimens which were struck before 31 May 1961, had Queen Elizabeth II's royal cipher (E II R) above the coat of arms. The royal cypher was removed when these medals were first awarded in 1974, but a ghost image is still visible on some, such as on the reverse of the miniature medal depicted.

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and sky blue, with a 6 millimetres wide white band in the centre.[1]

Bar
Bar button

A silver bar was authorised to denote a second award of the Van Riebeeck Medal, but was never awarded. The bar displayed an embossed field cannon in its centre. When ribbons alone are worn, a button displaying a field cannon would have been worn on the ribbon bar.

Discontinuation[edit]

The Van Riebeeck Medal 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 awards.[1]

Recipients[edit]

The Van Riebeeck Medal was only awarded to five individuals, all to Navy and Special Forces personnel for an operation in Tanzania in 1974.[1]

VRM no. Name Rank Service Unit Date Action cited for
Brewin, K.A. WO1 SA Navy SAS EH 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [12]
Floyd, T.I. WO2 SA Army 1 RR 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [12][13]
Conradie, J.L. ♠ S Sgt SA Army 1 RR 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [12][13]
Moorcroft, J.J. S Sgt SA Army 1 RR 2 Aug 1974 Special Forces operation in Tanzania [12][13]
De Beer D.L. Sgt SA Army 1 RR 6 Dec 1974 [13]

Note 1: ♠ Conradie was also awarded the HC in 1975.
Note 2: On 1 November 1993, WO1 J.J. Moorcroft PMD VRM PMM MMM was appointed Sergeant Major of the Army, a post he held until 30 May 2001.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  2. ^ a b South African Medal Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 28 April 2015)
  3. ^ CometoCapeTown.com Blast from the past – Van Riebeeck festival in 1952 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  4. ^ South African Medal Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003 (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  5. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  6. ^ "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3352.  (Access date 14 April 2015)
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  9. ^ a b c Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  10. ^ Monick, S, (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History.
  11. ^ a b c d Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 0620243007. 
  12. ^ a b c d Els, Paul J. (2009). We Fear Naught but God. PelSA Books. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-620-41298-8.