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WWII Medal Bar to a south african soldier

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I got this nice 5 place medal bar to a south african, who served in africa and Italy.

I know, that the records are not available online but is anyone able to give some basic information about the designation on the medals: 21723 N. P. Williamson ?

According to my information, the numeral "8" was just worn on the ribbon bar and the clasp on the fullsized medal. In this case, there´s no clasp and

just the number on the Africa Star, I guess not everyone strictly adhered to the rules!?

Medalbar South Africa.jpg

Medalbar South Africa reverse.jpg

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You are correct the Africa star should have an 8th Army Clasp and the numeral be on his ribbon bar.

I have just myself become aware that lots of South African medals have a prefix, of which a few are:

C-Cape Corps

M-Indian & Malay Corps

N-Native Military Corps

These 3 groups relating to coloured recipients.

F-Women's Auxiliary Air Force

W-Women's Auxiliary Army Service

These 2 obviously to women.

I believe you can presume your recipient was a white South African and if you would like research Dewald Nel who is based in South Africa provides a service (when lockdown ends). dewald@nelantiques.co.za 

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I was going to say I hadn't come across that combination and ask for an image, but Marcon1 appears to have answered correctly in relation to the opening image that they are his initials.

The prefix I have mentioned would come in front of the number eg F123456 would be awarded to someone in   SAWAAF 

Edited by Shots Dave
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  • 3 months later...



M Indian & Malay Corps

H Indian & Malay Corps (Hindu)

C Cape Corps

CJ Junior Cape Corps

N Native Military Corps

CN Cape Navy (Coloured personnel serving in the SANF)

F Womans Auxiliary Air Force

W Womans Auxiliary Army Service

WN Womans Auxiliary Navy Service

P South African Permanent Force

ACF Other Ranks serving in the part-time Active Citizen Force including units such as the NVB, SACDC, MEB, R&H Bde (Part Time), etc.

MN Merchant Navy( Merchant Navy personnel did not qualify for
the Africa Service Medal unless they had also attested into the UDF and volunteered for service outside South Africa)

ESPC Essential Services Protection Corps (Most ESPC medals do not carry this prefix and have the number only. Number blocks allocated to ESPC were 639640 to 640640 and 700000 upwards. Highest number issued was

A few ESPC medals carry Company prefixes as follows:-

CT Cape Town ESPC Companies

D Durban

EL East London

PE Port Elizabeth

Rly Railways

NL Natal

NRB Roads ESPC Companies

SARP South African Railways Police (Serving policemen who volunteered to serve outside South Africa)

SAP South African Police Battalions (1st & 2nd)

(SAP) South African Police (Serving policemen who volunteered to serve outside SA) (SAP) is placed after the police number)

SR Southern Rhodesian serving in the South African Forces.

NRV National Reserve Volunteers

N.N. or N/N No Number. (Some N.N. or N/N prefixes have been seen followed by (ACF)) Persons with no military number who applied for WW2 campaign awards. Approximately 80 are recorded. They include, for e.g., Officers of School Cadet Detachments, Medical Officers in Protective Rank, War Correspondents, Chaplains,S.A. Red Cross Personnel, Censors, Railway Movement Control Officers,Campaign Stars to Senior Officers of the R&H Bde. for visits for less than 30 days duration to areas in the “fire zone”, and classified as of unusual importance to actual operations, and a variety of others.

No number Officer in the ACF (Active Citizen Force)

No prefix White male full time volunteers and members of the South African Military Nursing Service

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  • 1 month later...

Very interesting to see all the classifications, by race and by type of service and, oddly to me at least, that one could be a 'full time volunteer' in or member of the Military Nursing Service without being issued a number.

Can I assume that "Essential Services Protection Corps " were Black and/or Coloured?  Armed?  Thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have not posted for some time, so am in the process of catching up, when I noticed this thread. Not sure if you have reached out to Dewald as yet, but in looking at his force number of 21 723, some info can be gleaned:

1. Based on the block numbering used by the Union Forces, it indicates that he was a member of "Regiment President Steyn"

2. The South Africans who went "up North" were all volunteers. He was amongst the first 22 000 volunteers for the UDF. 

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