Military Wiki
Louw Wepener Decoration
File:Louw Wepener Decoration.jpg
Awarded by South African Defence Force
Country  South Africa
Type Decoration
Eligibility Military personnel
Awarded for For acts of the most conspicuous courage or greatest heroism
Status Discontinued
Post-nominals LWD
Established 1952
First awarded 1961
Last awarded 1974
Total awarded 7[1]
Next (higher) Castle of Good Hope Decoration[2]
Next (lower) Star of South Africa (Decoration)
Ribbon - Louw Wepener Decoration.gif
Ribbon: 35mm, orange and white stripes

The Louw Wepener Decoration was a South African military decoration that was in use from 1952 to 1975. It was awarded for "most conspicuous or greatest heroism, in circumstances of great danger", and was primarily a non-combat decoration.


This medal was instituted in honour of Louw Wepener who, in 1865 lost his life whilst leading his burghers in an attack on a stronghold on Thaba Bosigo in the Basuto Wars of 1858-1865.


All ranks of SADF for acts of the most conspicuous courage or greatest heroism in circumstances of extreme danger', during war or peactime[3]



The obverse depicts a mountain peak representing Thaba Bosigo with two men on horseback at its foot. Below the horsemen the words "Thaba Bosigo, 1865". Around the top circumference are the words "LOUW WEPENER" and around the bottom circumference the words "DECORATION : DEKORASIE"


The South African coat of arms. Decorations minted before 31 May 1961 have Queen Elizabeth II's royal cipher above the arms.


The ribbon is divided into eleven stripes alternately orange and white.


      Indicates posthumous award.

See also[]


  1. Alexander, E. G. M., Barron G. K. B. and Bateman, A. J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau. p. 155. 
  2. "South African Military History Society - Journal- ORDER OF PRECEDENCE OF ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS". Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  3. Uys, Ian. Cross of Honour. pp. 168. 
  5. Uys, Ian. Cross of Honour. pp. 3. 
  6. Uys, Ian. Cross of Honour. pp. 8. 
  7. Uys, Ian. Cross of Honour. pp. 15. 

Further reading[]

  • 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.

External links[]

Medal Number Name Service Rank Unit Date of Award Action cited for
Nel, D. van H. SA Army 2nd Lieutenant Special Service Battalion 19 May 1961 Climbed aboard a burning armoured car at a public event, to extinguish the fire and prevent an explosion.[4]
Van Aswegen, W.A.G. SA Army Sergeant Special Service Battalion 19 May 1961 Same citation as 2Lt Nel
Stephens, F.P. SA Army Sergeant SA Corps of Military Police 1 Nov 1963 Defused an explosive device that had been placed on a railway line.
Van Wyk, H.H. SA Army Rifleman 1 SA Infantry Battalion 1 Nov 1963 Jumped onto the wing of an incoming light aircraft with a damaged wheel, to help the pilot land safely.
van Heerden, J.H. SA Army Commandant Middle Karoo Commando 15 Aug 1969 Threw a live grenade clear of training group at risk of his own life.[5]
Britz, J.P. SA Air Force Major 1 Squadron 19 Mar 1970 Prevented his stricken aircraft from crashing into a built-up area by staying at the controls instead of escaping by parachute.[6]
Zeelie, F.J. SA Army Lieutenant 1 Recce Commando 6 Dec 1974 Single-handedly stormed an enemy position (he was the first SADF casualty in the Border War[7]
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