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WW2 - Sth.African Groups - with variations

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I have had some nice South African medal groups come-in over the last week - since they are variations on a theme - I will make them one post.

This first board is interesting in that he served in a local regiment prior to the outcome of war. He was with one of South Africa's oldest regiments - The Natal Mounted Rifles. They served in both Boer Wars as Mounted Infantry - ans still have this designation, although today they train with tanks. His original NMR insignia was present - as was also the wartime standard S.A. insignia that was used for some units. He was a Company Sgt.Major and his brass and desert cloth insignia are shown.

He was 1307 R.J.G.Fann. 39/45 - Africa Star - with 8th Army Bar. (Like most Sth. Africans he served through the campaign in Abysinnia and then into Libya. Our Forces were attached to the 8th Army when F.M. Montgomery took command. ) War Medal - and the Africa Service Medal. Finally he was given the Efficiency Medal - war service counted as double and we find many pre-war part timers became eligible. This Efficiency is the sought after bi-lingual South African version - English and Afrikaans. His rank is shown as S/Sgt (Staf Sergeant). In the two top corners are bronze medallions he won aged 15 for athletics. Also present are his conduct chevrons and the two red epaulettes which were worn by South Africans on overseas service.

At the bottom of the board are two further medals - the War Medal and the Africa Service Medal. This was the entitlement for someone who served but, did not leave the Country. They are named 306840 H.V.R. Soans. The family have no idea who he was - perhaps they were friends ? There was an officer's gilt South African Police cap badge and it would seem likely he was in the 3rd. Police District. I haven't had time to research anything - if you have any ideas please mention them.

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This is the third group - again, with an additional medal which adds greatly to the interest.

P4296 B.L. Rhodes. He was a Regular soldier in the South African Defence Force and would have joined in the early 1930's. He has the standard -

1939/45 Star - Italy Star - Defence Medal (so he must have been in South Africa until quite late in the War) - War Medal - Africa Defence Medal. Additionally he was awarded the South African Faithfull Service Medal - the equivalent of the LS&GC. This was awarded for 18 years of

Exemplary Service. You will note the bar - this was for an additional 12 years service - so, 30 in total. This has the ER cypher on the reverse and is the pre-1961 pattern.

He was the Sgt.Major for the S.A.D.F. band - based in Pretoria. His Insignia are at the top of the board and the one on the right is an older version - probably the 1930's.

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Thanks for posting these groups. CSM Fann's is particularly nice, with all the additional items. The badge on the athletics medallions looks like that of Pietermaritzburg College.

WO1 Rhodes' group is also interesting, with the Union Medal + clasp at the front of the row. As the medal was for 18 years service completed on or after 6 April 1952, it suggests that Rhodes didn't enlist in the Permanent Force before 6 April 1934. Interestingly, that's the year in which the SA Permanent Force Band (later Army Band) was formed.

I wonder where he spent the six months required for the Defence Medal. Despite German and Italian minelayers mining South African waters, U-boats sinking ships off the coast, and Japanese aircraft flying over Durban, South Africa was not listed as one of the "closely threatened" territories qualifying for this medal. Perhaps he qualified in Egypt, where the 6th SA Armoured Division was formed and trained prior to deployment in Italy.

The three badges across the top of the frame are (1) bandsman's trade badge; (2) warrant officer 1st class rank badge; (3) SAPF Band/SA Army Band cap badge.

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Thankyou Arthur - as always a mine of information. For some reason I always tend to forget that the Defence is not an S.A. Award - however, strangely enough quite a few local groups have one - so, I think you're right - Overseas Training. Egypt would be logical - however, didn't they have training camps in Tunisia and Libya prior to the Inavasion of Sicily ? Being captured territories would that count for a Defence ?

I can't do my own photography and forgot to check Owen's to see which badge was which. Makes sense for the cap to have S.A.D.F on it and the other one I had thought must be an arm badge.

Fann was obviously a local 'boy' with being in NMR - so your ident. of Maritzburg College makes sense.

Many thanks - I always appreciate your help. When are you coming to Durban for a coffee ?

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I only have one SA group, the standard 4 medals so no variations unfortunately. It's similar to Fann's group but no Efficiency medal or bar to the Africa Star. Do either of you know the criteria for the bar being awarded?

His service papers are somewhere only I've forgotten where I put them.

Thanks for any help.


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Hi Mervyn

I have a similar group of medals to a member of the SA Army Band. He was Major R V Goode and he and Rhodes must have known each other well. Goode had a later long service medal and also had a 1st issue Pro-Merito Medal, but their WWII medals were the same.


Robert Vivian Goode was born in Cape Town on 23/2/1917.

21/1/1935 - Joined the South African Permanent Force Band (No. 4374) with the rank of Bandsman.

20/1/1938 - Left the Band (Time Expired).

13/4/1938 - Joined the SA Permanent Force at Robert's Heights (No. P6042) and posted to the SA Armoured Car Commando.

3/9/1939 – 18/12/1943 - Served with the Permanent Force Band in South Africa.

10/6/1941 - Married Helen Margaret Jones. They later had four children.

17/12/1943 - Embarked in Durban for the Middle East with the PF Band.

His subsequent service was as follows:

5/1/1944 – 18/2/1944 - Middle East.

23/2/1944 – 26/8/1944 - Italy.

30/8/1944 – 4/10/1944 - Middle East.

8/10/1944 – 16/5/1945 - Italy.

16/5/1945 – 10/10/1945 - Italy & Middle East.

19/2/1946 - Disembarked in Durban.

He ended his wartime service as a Sergeant in the PF Band at Robert's Heights. He was awarded the 39/45 Star, Italy Star, War Medal and Africa Service Medal. Later the Defence Medal was added.

24/6/1952 - Goode's medals were claimed on his behalf by the PF Director of Music and they were dispatched to him on 21/7/1952.

30/4/1948 - Discharged from the PF (Time Expired).

27/5/1948 - Joined the South African Police (No. 25934) and posted to the Band.

6/2/1952 - Purchased his discharge from the SA Police.

7/2/1952 - Rejoined the PF Band with the rank of Corporal (No. 05147798E; later P14779).

1/1/1953 - Sergeant.

1/12/1956 - Staff Sergeant.

1/7/1965 - Temporary Sergeant Major (Second Class).

He later rose to the rank of Warrant Officer I.

His subsequent promotions were as follows:

7/11/1969 - Commissioned with the rank of Captain in the Technical and Administrative Branch of the SA Army.

1/4/ 1970 - Major.

1/4/1973 - Promotable to Commandant, although he never held this rank.

Goode's progress through the ranks was due largely to his diligence and expertise as a musician. He is credited with completing the following courses:

24/6/1953 - SAPF Trade Test for which Sgt Goode was reclassified as a Musician (Artisan).

University of South Africa music courses:

1958 - Preliminary Theory (Passed with Distinction - 144 out of 150.)

1959 - Qualifying Theory

1962 - Final (Grade VIII) Cornet.

4/2/1952 - Goode obtained a loan of £25 from the PF Orchestra for the purchase of a Boosey Imperial Trumpet.

19/9/1958 - His Merit Assessment included the following statements:

"An exceptionally good musician."

"The quality of his work is exceptionally high."

2/4/1965 - In recommending Goode for the PF Good Service Medal, his length of service was given as 26 years and 73 days. This medal was awarded for 18 years of "irreproachable" character and conduct.

17/6/ 1965 - PF Good Service Medal (No. 531) was gazetted. About 2 700 of these medals were awarded.

23/10/1967 - Recommended for the award of the Pro-Merito Medal (PMM), with the citation as follows:

"In addition to his duties as the Sgt Major of the SA Army Band he is the assistant Conductor to the Director of Music and is the senior instructor.

He has by private study and great personal sacrifice and expense, qualified himself as a Conductor, Band Leader, performer and teacher in music, having passed the Final Music Examination of the University of South Africa.

In the absence of the Director of Music he trains the band and conducts the band in public on Ceremonial Parades, Broadcasts and concerts, maintaining the high standard of performance expected of the SA Army Band.

As senior instructor to the trainees of the Army Band and the Ballottees undergoing training with the Army Band he does untold, out of hours, duties in a Unit which is also constantly away from home, without complaint, indeed in this respect, he is an example to both his juniors and seniors.

Through his own efforts he has reached near perfection as an instrumentalist, and is acclaimed as the finest Cornet Soloist and teacher of the instrument throughout the Republic.

As a soloist with the Army Band he has helped in no small measure to enhance the reputation of the Army Band and the Defence Force as a whole in the eyes of the public."

27/3/1968 - In a letter to Goode, the Chief of the Defence Force wrote as follows:

"It is with pleasure that I congratulate you on the award of the Pro Merito Medal to you by the Acting State President.

This distinction for which you have been singled out indicates the outstanding service which you have rendered to the SA Defence Force.

May the award serve as an encouragement to you in the task which lies ahead."

29/3/1968 - Pro-Merito Medal (No. 13) awarded to Goode. A total of 374 of these medals were awarded. In 1975 it was superceded by medals in two classes, i.e. the Pro-Merito Decoration and the Pro-Merito Medal.

6/3/1968 - A Merit Assessment included the following:

"Is without doubt the finest Cornetist in the Republic & through his performances and personality has brought …… fame & credit to the SA Army Band & the Defence Force as a whole."

July 1969 - Examinations were held for candidates for the post of Deputy Director of Music : South African Army. The results were as follows:

Goode – 81%. Other candidates – 74%; 67%; 65%.

1/11/1969 - Goode was appointed Director of Music, SA Army.

30/9/1973 - Goode was retired, having reached the age of 55 on 23/2/1972.

1/10/1973 - He was appointed to the Permanent Force Reserve with the rank of Major. He was taken off the reserve in 1982 after reaching the age of 65.

After retiring, Goode settled in Cape Town and took the part-time post of Music Lecturer of the Cadet & Brass Band of the Wynberg Boys High School.


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Brett - what an incredible co-incidence that you should have such a similar set. From your background research it would seem that Rhodes may have been your chap Goode's immediate predecessor. Would make a an exceptional set together - any Zulu spears left ?

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