Jump to content

South Africa: Honoris Crux


Megan
 Share

Recommended Posts

Instituted on 6 April 1952, this decoration was awarded in a single class for gallantry in action against the enemy in the field. It was awarded just 5 times before being replaced by a four-class decoration titled Honoris Crux Decoration (the name ‘Honoris Crux’ referring to the lowest class of the award).

The badge consists of a silver-gilt Maltese cross with eagles between the arms. The obverse is green, with an orange-white-blue centre disc framed in a red circle inscribed "Honoris Crux". The reverse displays the 1910 South African national coat of arms, with early examples (before 1961) also displaying the Royal Cipher of Queen Elizabeth II.

The ribbon is green with red and white edges.

Edited by Megan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instituted on 1 July 1975 in four classes to replace the Honoris Crux, the Honoris Crux Decoration was also awarded for selfless acts of gallantry. The highest class, Honoris Crux Diamond, was never awarded and the sole specimen made was donated to the South African National Museum of Military History in 2009. The other classes – Honoris Crux Gold, Honoris Crux Silver and Honoris Crux were awarded sparingly. The top two classes were abolished in 1993, and the entire decoration superseded by the Nkwe ya Selefera (Leopard Decoration for Bravery) in 2003.

The insignia was similar to that of the original Honoris Crux, being an eight pointed Maltese Cross superimposed on a wreath with crossed swords in the angles and a central roundel divided horizontally into orange, white and blue. The Honoris Crux Diamond is made of gold with the cross on the obverse enamelled green, and bears eight diamonds on a green circle around the central roundel. The reverse is plain with the national arms. The ribbon is plain orange.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Honoris Crux Gold is virtually identical, save for a gold circle around the central roundel, no diamonds and a single narrow white stripe down the centre of the orange ribbon.

(Apologies for the quality of the image, it's the only one I've been able to find so far!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Honoris Crux Silver insignia is identical to that of the Honoris Crux Gold save for the metal used and a second narrow white central stripe on the orange ribbon.

The Honoris Crux (as in, the fourth class of the revised decoration) is made of silver but with a white-enamelled cross rather than a green one. Its ribbon has a double white edge... and I haven't found a picture yet :(

I also have not found the regulations for the establishment of any of this, just the one of 25 July 2003 that finally discontinued it (Government Gazette no. 25213).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The badge consists of a silver-gilt Maltese cross with eagles between the arms. The obverse is green, with an orange-white-blue centre disc framed in a red circle inscribed "Honoris Crux". The reverse displays the 1910 South African national coat of arms, with early examples (before 1961) also displaying the Royal Cipher of Queen Elizabeth II.

The ribbon is green with red and white edges.

As a matter of historical interest, the design was based on insignia which had been designed in 1894 for an order of merit which President Kruger's government in the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek wanted to introduce. The order did not see the light of day because of public opposition (the Boers thought it was too monarchical for a republic), but the drawings came in useful later on, when the Union of South Africa was creating its own honours system.

The Honoris Crux was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II, by Royal Warrant dated 26 January 1953, retrospective to 6 April 1952 (Government Gazette 5311 dated 16 July 1954).

Instituted on 1 July 1975 in four classes to replace the Honoris Crux, the Honoris Crux Decoration was also awarded for selfless acts of gallantry. The highest class, Honoris Crux Diamond, was never awarded and the sole specimen made was donated to the South African National Museum of Military History in 2009.

This story that only one specimen was made has been around for a few years now, but yet there is photographic evidence which seems to contradict it.

On the HCD shown in your photo, (a) there is a voided space between the horizontal bar and the protea flowers on the suspender, and (b) the diamonds are not aligned with the middle lines of the arms of the cross.

But the photo of the HCD which was issued on a postcard by the SA Post Office in 1984, the photo in Alexander, Barron & Bateman's SA Orders, Decorations and Medals (1985), and the photo on the SANDF website all show (a) a solid suspender without the space between the bar and the flowers, and (b) the diamonds aligned with the middle lines of the arms of the cross.

The Honoris Crux (as in, the fourth class of the revised decoration) is made of silver but with a white-enamelled cross rather than a green one. Its ribbon has a double white edge... and I haven't found a picture yet

I also have not found the regulations for the establishment of any of this, just the one of 25 July 2003 that finally discontinued it (Government Gazette no. 25213).

The HC Decoration was instituted by President Diederichs by Warrant dated 30 June 1975, published in Government Gazette 4792 dated 18 July 1975. Unfortunately, it's not available online, and I don't know where you'll get a copy.

Pics of the former SADF and other decorations and medals can be seen at : http://www.army.mil.za/aboutus/uniform/formerforcesmedals/index.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that, Arthur.

I think the HCD image that I have is probably a "collector's copy" rather than the real thing. As I seem to have made some contacts at a reasonably high level in SA, who knows, they may let me have a picture of the real thing...

As for the references, they have told me that they will pass on earlier Gazettes than are available online :) Not sure how early they can go, and I shall have to hunt for the Royal Warrant, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...