Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold

The Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold was the highest South African civilian decoration during the period between 1910 and 1961, when the country was a constitutional monarchy in the British Commonwealth. The medal was instituted by King George VI on 23 June 1939.[1]

Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold
Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India
Country UK South Africa South Africa
TypeCivil decoration for bravery
EligibilitySouth African citizens
Awarded forActs of conspicuous bravery
StatusDiscontinued in 1952
Statistics
Established1939
Total awarded1
British & South African orders of wear
Next (higher)
SA precedence:
EquivalentFlag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Gold
Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg Woltemade Decoration for Bravery, Gold
Next (lower)
Ribbon - Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery

Ribbon bar

Institution

The Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold, the senior of two classes of South Africa's highest civilian decoration for bravery, was instituted by Royal Warrant of 23 June 1939, published in Government Gazette no. 2671 dated 25 August 1939, and amended by Royal Warrants of 18 February 1947, 24 October 1949 and 17 October 1950.[1]

The medal is unique insofar, at the time it was instituted, there was no equivalent British award. It predated the institution of the George Cross and George Medal in 1940 and, since South Africans were not eligible for the award of these latter two decorations, the Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold was not superseded by them.[1]

Award criteria

The medal was awarded to recognise great and exceptional gallantry performed in the face of imminent and obvious peril by residents of the Union of South Africa or its dependent territories who endangered their lives in the act of saving, or endeavouring to save, the lives of others.[1][2]

Order of wear

In the British order of precedence, the Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold ranks as a second level decoration, equivalent to the George Medal. It is preceded by the Venerable Order of Saint John and succeeded by the Distinguished Conduct Medal.[3]

In South Africa, the medal is ranked as a first level decoration but, despite its status, it has no post-nominal letters. It is preceded by the Honoris Crux Gold and succeeded by the Woltemade Cross for Bravery, Gold.[4]

Description

Obverse

The decoration is silver-gilt and is a disk, 38 millimetres in diameter with a raised rim and a large ring suspender. The obverse depicts the crowned effigy of King George VI, facing left, surrounded by the words "GEORGIVS VI REX ET IMPERATOR" around the upper perimeter.[1][2][5]

Reverse

A public competition was held to find a suitable design for the reverse of the medal. The winning entry, by Miss Renee Joubert, depicts the 18th-century Cape hero Wolraad Woltemade on his horse, rescuing shipwreck survivors from a stormy sea. As a result, the medal became commonly referred to as the "Woltemade Medal". The image is circumscribed with the words "FOR BRAVERY • VIR DAPPERHEID" around the top.[1][2][6]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 44 millimetres wide and dark blue with 4½ millimetres wide orange edges.[1][2]

Discontinuation

Upon the accession to the British Throne of Queen Elizabeth II on 15 December 1952, the Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold was discontinued and replaced by the Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Gold.[1][2]

Recipient

The Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold was awarded only once, on 8 September 1944 to Master Francis C. Drake. Drake was fourteen years old on 6 January 1943 when he rescued the two-year-old Neville Roberts from a 40 feet deep well with deep water into which he had fallen at Parys in the Orange Free State.[1][2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Monick, S (1990). South African Civil Awards. South African National Museum of Military History. pp. 89–93.
  2. ^ a b c d e f South African Medals Website - Union of South Africa (Accessed 1 May 2015)
  3. ^ "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3351.
  4. ^ Government Gazette of the Republic of South Africa No 27376 (11 March 2005)
  5. ^ Image of the Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Silver (Retrieved 2015-02-23)
  6. ^ Abbott, P. E. and Tamplin, J. M. A. (1971). British Gallantry Awards. Guinness Superlatives.
List of medals for bravery

A medal awarded for bravery, commonly called a Medal of Bravery, Bravery Medal, or Medal of Valor is a type of medal, usually associated with military forces, police forces, or other public safety entities, given to personnel who have served with gallantry, often for those who have engaged in specific acts of bravery or valor. As a formal name in English, "Bravery Medal" may refer to:

The Australian Bravery Medal

The New Zealand Bravery Medal

The Fiji Bravery MedalIn addition, several English-speaking nations have a medal called the "Medal of Bravery" or the "Medal of Valor", including Canada and Tanzania. The three Canadian Bravery Decorations were created in 1972, to recognize people who risked their lives to try to save or protect the lives of others: the Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril; the Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril; and the Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances. Non-English speaking nations which have or had a medal usually translated into English as "Bravery Medal" or "Medal of Bravery" include:

Albania - Medalja e Trimërisë (1945–1982)

Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary - Tapferkeitsmedaille or Medal for Bravery (Austria-Hungary), awarded from (19 July 1789–1918)

Belgium - Médaille pour acte de courage, de dévouement et d’humanité

China - Hong Kong:

Medal for Bravery (Gold) (1997–)

Medal for Bravery (Silver) (1997–)

Medal for Bravery (Bronze) (1997–)

Czechoslovakia – Medaile "Za chrabrost pred nepritelem" (Medal for Bravery Before the Enemy)

France - Médaille d’honneur pour acte de courage et de dévouement (Honour medal for courage and devotion)

German States:

Bavaria - officially the Militär-Verdienst Medaille (Military Merit Medal), but commonly referred to as the Tapferkeitsmedaille (1794–1918)

Saxe-Altenburg - Tapferkeitsmedaille (1915–1918)

Hungary - Vitézségi Érem (1922–1944)

Iran - Medal for Bravery

Iraq - Nut al-Shujat

Ireland - Comhairle na Míre Gaile

India - Param Vir Chakra

Montenegro - Медаља за храброст (1841–1918)

Russia - За отвагу (Medal for Bravery) (1938-)

Saudi Arabia – Nut al-Shaja'at

Serbia:

Medalja za hrabrost (1913–1918; 1990–)

Medal for Bravery (1912)

South Africa:

Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold (1939–1952)

Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Silver (1939–1952)

Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Gold (1952–1961)

Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Silver (1952–1961)

Sweden:

För tapperhet i fält (For Valour in the Field), awarded from 28 May 1789 - the first Gallantry Award.

From 1807/09 supplemented by För tapperhet till sjöss (For Valour at Sea)

Thailand - เหรียญกล้าหาญ (The Bravery Medal) (1941-)

United Arab Emirates – Nut al-Shaja'at

Yugoslavia (Kingdom) - Medalja za hrabrost (1918–1941)

Yugoslavia (SFRY) - Medalja za hrabrost (1943–1991)In addition, there are a number of other decorations of various countries which are customarily translated into English using other synonyms for bravery, but are occasionally translated as "bravery". These include the Soviet Medal "for Valor" and the Israeli Medal of Valor. Medals specifically including "valor" include:

9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor, awarded by the government of the United States, created specifically to honor the public safety officers who were killed in the line of duty during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and The Pentagon

Bundeswehr Cross of Honour for Valour, the highest class of the Bundeswehr Cross of Honour awarded for "...an act of gallantry in the face of exceptional danger to life and limb whilst demonstrating staying power and serenity in order to fulfil the military mission in an ethically sound way."

FBI Medal of Valor, presented by the FBI in recognition of an exceptional act of heroism or voluntary risk of personal safety and life

Gold Medal of Military Valor, an Italian medal established on 21 May 1793 by King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia

Los Angeles Police Medal of Valor, the highest law enforcement medal given by the Los Angeles Police Department

Maryland Medal for Valor, awarded to members of the Maryland National Guard in recognition of acts of personal heroism

Medal of Military Valour, Canada's third highest award for military valour

Medal of Valor (Civil Air Patrol), a decoration that may be awarded to a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force

Medal of Valor (Israel), an Israeli Military decoration

New York City Police Department Medal for Valor, conferred upon NYC police officers for acts of outstanding personal bravery

Philippine Medal of Valor, the highest military award given by the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Pingat Keberanian, Singaporean Medal of Valour, awarded for an act of courage and gallantry in circumstances of personal danger

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, awarded to American police officers, firefighters and other emergency services personnel by the U.S. Department of Justice

Silver Medal of Military Valor, an Italian medal established in 1833 by King Charles Albert of Sardinia

Texas Medal of Valor, awarded to members of the state military forces by the Governor of Texas for acts of personal heroism

Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Gold

The Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Gold was the highest South African civilian decoration during the period from 1952 to 1961, while the country was still a constitutional monarchy in the British Commonwealth. The decoration was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II on 15 December 1952.

Woltemade Cross for Bravery, Gold

The Woltemade Cross for Bravery, Gold, post-nominal letters WD, is the senior of two classes of a South African civil decoration for acts of bravery. It replaced the Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold, Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Gold and Woltemade Decoration for Bravery, Gold, all of which ranked on par with each other and the award of which had been discontinued in 1952, 1961 and 1988 respectively.

Woltemade Decoration for Bravery, Gold

The Woltemade Decoration for Bravery, Gold is the senior of two classes of a South African civil decoration for acts of bravery. It replaced the Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold and Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery, Gold, the award of which had been discontinued in 1952 and 1961 respectively.

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