251,260 Pages

Union Medal
File:Union Medal.jpg
Awarded by the Governor-General
Country Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg South Africa
Type Military long service medal
Eligibility Permanent Force, all ranks
Awarded for 18 years of good service
Status Discontinued in 1961
Clasps 30 years of good service
Established 1952
First awarded 1952
Next (higher)
Next (lower)
Ribbon - Union Medal
Ribbon bar

The Union Medal was instituted by the Union of South Africa in 1952. It was awarded to Permanent Force members of the South African Defence Force for eighteen years of service and good conduct.[3][4][5]

The South African militaryEdit

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).[3]

Orders, decorations and medalsEdit

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.[3][6][7][8][9]

Fount of HonourEdit

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.[3]

Award criteria for the Union MedalEdit

The Union Medal was instituted in 1952 and was awarded to Permanent Force members of the South African Defence Force for eighteen years of good service. A clasp could be awarded after thirty years of service.[3][4][5]

Order of precedenceEdit

The position of the Union Medal 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 national order of precedence. This national precedence was in error in respect of the next lower medal as determined according to their dates of institution. It was corrected by 1994:[1][2]
    • Preceded by the Railways and Harbours Police Medal for Faithful Service.
    • Succeeded by the Permanent Force Good Service Medal of 1961. (This is an error and should be the Railway Police Good Service Medal of 1960.)[1][2]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003



The Union Medal is a medallion with a scalloped edge and a raised rim, 38 millimetres in diameter and 3 millimetres thick at the rim and struck in silver, depicting the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms and inscribed "UNIE-MEDALJE • UNION MEDAL" around the Coat of Arms. The ribbon suspender is decorated with proteas and leaves.[3][10]


The reverse depicts Queen Elizabeth's royal cipher "E II R" and has a raised rim and decorated ribbon suspender similar to those of the obverse. The medals and ribbon suspenders were minted separately and soldered together. The medal number was stamped or engraved at the bottom on the rim.[3]


The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with three bands of orange, white and blue repeated three times, the outer orange and blue bands each 4 millimetres wide and the seven inner bands all approximately 3½ millimetres wide. Orange, white and blue are the colours of the pre-1994 national flag.[3][10]


Conferment of the Union Medal was discontinued on 31 May 1961 when South Africa became a republic and it was replaced by the Permanent Force Good Service Medal.[1][2]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Republic of South Africa Government Gazette no. 15093, Pretoria, 3 September 1993
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, ISBN 9771682584003 27376
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1952-1975
  4. 4.0 4.1 Alexander, E.G.M., Barron, G.K.B. and Bateman, A.J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Monick, S, (1988). South African Military Awards 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History.
  6. Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1952-1975
  7. South African Medals Website - SA Defence Force : 1975-2003
  8. Suid-Afrikaanse militêre dekorasies: 1975-2003
  9. Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 457, no. 25213, Pretoria, 25 July 2003
  10. 10.0 10.1 SA Army - Uniform: Former Forces Medals: South African Defence Force

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.