South African military decorations

South African military decorations

An overview of South African military decorations and medals, which form part of the South African honours system.

Colonial forces

1894-1913

The colonial military forces received British military decorations in wartime. From 1894, the colonial governments awarded medals for distinguished conduct and for long service. This was the general practice in the British Empire at that time. The colonial medals were:

* Decorations
** Volunteer Officers' Decoration (VD) (1894-1901)
** Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration (VD) (1900-13)
** Distinguished Conduct Medal (1896-1913)

* Campaign medals
** Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal (1900)
** Natal Native Rebellion Medal (1907)

* Long service medals
** Long Service & Good Conduct Medal (1896-1913)
** Meritorious Service Medal (1896-1913)
** Volunteer Long Service Medal (1894-1901)
** Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal (1900-13).

Union Defence Forces

1913-1952

The colonial forces were replaced in 1912 by the Union Defence Forces, which continued the system. British decorations for gallantry and distinguished service were awarded during World War I and World War II, and the South African government granted the other categories of award. They were:

* Decoration
** Distinguished Conduct Medal (1914-40)

* Campaign medals
** Victory Medal (1919)
** Africa Service Medal (1943)

* Long service medals
** Long Service & Good Conduct Medal (1914-39)
** Long Service & Good Conduct Medal (Military) (1939-52)
** Meritorious Service Medal (1914-40)
** Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration (VD) (1913-39)
** Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal (1913-39)
** Efficiency Decoration (ED) (1939-52)
** Efficiency Medal (1939-52)
** RNVR Volunteer Officers' Decoration (VD) (1915-49)
** RNVR Long Service & Good Conduct Medal (1915-49)
** Air Efficiency Award (1950-52).

Boer war veterans

In 1920, the South African government instituted a separate set of awards, for Boer veterans of the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War - neither of the Boer republics for which they had fought had had its own honours system. The awards were:

* Decoration
** Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst (Decoration for Devoted Service) (DTD)

* Campaign medals
** South African Republic & Orange Free State War Medal
** Wounds Ribbon.

outh African Defence Force

1952-1975

South Africa introduced its own honours system in 1952. Its largest component was a series of military decorations and medals, which not only replaced the existing long service medals, but provided substitutes for the decorations which the British government had awarded in wartime:

* Decorations
** Castle of Good Hope Decoration (CGH) (1952-2003)
** Louw Wepener Decoration (LWD) (1952-75)
** Star of South Africa (SSA) (1952-75)
** Van Riebeeck Decoration (DVR) (1952-75)
** Honoris Crux - 1st Type (HC) (1952-75)
** Van Riebeeck Medal (VRM) (1952-75)
** Louw Wepener Medal (LWM) (1967-75)
** Southern Cross Medal - 1st Type (SM) (1952-75)
** Pro Merito Medal - 1st Type (PMM) (1967-75)
** Danie Theron Medal (1970-2003)
** Jack Hindon Medal (1970-75)

* Campaign medals
** Korea Medal (1953)

* Long service medals
** Permanent Force Good Service Medal (1952-75)
** John Chard Decoration (JCD) (1952-2003)
** De Wet Decoration (DWD) (1965-2003)
** John Chard Medal (1952-2003)
** Cadet Corps Medal (1966-67)

* Shooting medal
** Commandant-General's Medal (1965-2003)

* Emblems
** Mentioned in Despatches (1967-2003)
** Commendation by the Chief of the SADF (1968-74)

1975-2003

A new system was introduced in 1975. It retained seven of the existing decorations and medals. Innovations included a hierarchy of merit awards, cumulative long service medals, and colour-coded ribbons. As the South African Defence Force was engaged in military operations in South West Africa and Angola throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the number of awards granted each year increased significantly. Additional decorations were instituted between 1987 and 1991.

* Decorations
** Castle of Good Hope Decoration (CGH) (1952-2003)
** Honoris Crux Diamond (HCD) (1975-93)
** Honoris Crux Gold (HCG) (1975-93)
** Order of the Star of South Africa (SSA/SSAS) (1975-2003)
** Honoris Crux Silver (HCS) (1975-2003)
** Honoris Crux - 2nd Type (HC) (1975-2003)
** Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) (1987-2003)
** Southern Cross Decoration (SD) (1975-2003)
** Pro Merito Decoration (PMD) (1975-2003)
** Pro Virtute Medal (PVM) (1987-2003)
** Ad Astra Decoration (AAD) (1987-2003)
** Army Cross (CM) (1991-2003)
** Air Force Cross (CA) (1991-2003)
** Navy Cross (CN) (1991-2003)
** South African Medical Service Cross (CC) (1991-2003)
** Southern Cross Medal - 2nd Type (SM) (1975-2003)
** Pro Merito Medal - 2nd Type (PMM) (1975-2003)
** Danie Theron Medal (DTM) (1970-2003)
** Military Merit Medal (MMM) (1974-2003)

* Campaign medals
** Pro Patria Medal (1974)
** Southern Africa Medal (1989)
** General Service Medal (1989)

* Commemorative medal
** Unitas Medal (1994)

* Long service medals
** Medal for Distinguished Conduct & Loyal Service (1987-2003)
** Good Service Medal (1975-2003)
** John Chard Decoration (JCD) (1952-2003)
** De Wet Decoration (DWD) (1965-2003)
** John Chard Medal (1952-2003)
** De Wet Medal (1987-2003)

* Shooting medals
** SADF Champion Shot Medal (1965-2003)
** Cadet Corps Champion Shot Medal (1987-2003)

* Emblems
** Mentioned in Despatches (1967-2003)

Armed opposition organisations

In 1996, two separate sets of decorations were instituted for veterans who had served in the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe during the armed campaign against the former government.

Azanian People's Liberation Army

* Decorations
** Gold Star for Bravery (GSB)
** Bravery Star in Silver (BSS)
** Star for Conspicuous Leadership (SCL)
** Gold Decoration for Merit (GDM)
** Silver Medal for Merit (SMM)
** Bronze Medal for Merit (BMM)

* Campaign medal
** Operational Medal for Southern Africa
** South Africa Service Medal

* Long service medal
** Service Medal (APLA)

Umkhonto we Sizwe

* Decorations
** Star for Bravery in Gold (SBG)
** Star for Bravery in Silver (SBS)
** Conspicuous Leadership Star (CLS)
** Decoration for Merit in Gold (DMG)
** Merit Medal in Silver (MMS)
** Merit Medal in Bronze (MMB)

* Campaign medal
** Operational Medal for Southern Africa
** South Africa Service Medal

* Long service medal
** Service Medal (MK)

outh African National Defence Force

The South African National Defence Force, which was formed in 1994 by amalgamating the SADF, the liberation armies, and the military forces of the former homelands, used the SADF decorations and medals until 2003, when a new series of decorations was instituted:

* Decorations
** Nkwe ya Gauta (NG) (Golden Leopard)
** Nkwe ya Selefera (NS) (Silver Leopard)
** iPhrothiya yeGolide (PG) (Golden Protea)
** Nkwe ya Boronse (NB) (Bronze Leopard)
** iPhrothiya yeSiliva (PS) (Silver Protea)
** iPhrothiya yeBhronzi (PB) (Bronze Protea)

* Campaign medal
** Tshumelo Ikatelaho (General Service Medal)

* Long service medal
** Medalje vir Troue Diens (Medal for Loyal Service)

* Emblems
** Okhankanyiweyo (Mentioned in Despatches)
** Emblem for Reserve Force Service

References

*Alexander, E. G. M., Barron G. K. B. and Bateman, A. J. (1986). "South African Orders, Decorations and Medals". Human and Rousseau.
*Monick, S. (1988). "South African Military Awards 1912-1987". South African National Museum of Military History.

ee also

* British and Commonwealth orders and decorations
* South African civil honours
* South African intelligence service decorations
* South African orders and decorations
* South African police decorations
* South African prisons decorations

External links

* [http://www.mil.za/News&Events/Events/Events2003/implementation_of_new_sandf_flag.htm/ SANDF website]
* [http://www.geocities.com/militaf/ South African Medals Website]


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