|Country South Africa|
Status Discontinued in 2003
|Type Military decoration for merit|
Awarded for Exceptionally meritorious service and particular devotion to duty
The Southern Cross Medal of 1975, post-nominal letters SM, is a military decoration which was instituted by the Republic of South Africa on 1 July 1975. It was awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for exceptionally meritorious service and particular devotion to duty.
The South African military
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).
The Southern Cross Medal of 1975, post-nominal letters SM, was instituted by the State President on 1 July 1975 and replaced the Southern Cross Medal of 1952.
It was awarded to officers of the South African Defence Force for exceptionally meritorious service and particular devotion to duty. The use of post-nominal letters by all recipients was allowed from 1993. A bar, instituted in 1993 as well, could be awarded in recognition of further similar displays of meritorious service and devotion to duty.
While not prescribed, the practice was generally that recipients must already have received the Military Merit Medal. The equivalent award for other ranks was the Pro Merito Medal of 1975.
Although a rare occurrence, some officers were awarded both versions of the Southern Cross Medal, one such example being Vice-Admiral Lambert Jackson Woodburne DVR, SD, SM, former Chief of the Navy. In such cases, the post-nominal letters "SM" are used once only.
Order of wear
The position of the Southern Cross Medal of 1975 in the official order of precedence was revised three times after 1975, to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first upon the integration into the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994, again when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted in April 1996 for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and again when a new series of military orders, decorations and medals was instituted in South Africa on 27 April 2003. Its position remained unchanged, as it was on 27 April 1994, upon the latter two occasions.
The Southern Cross Medal of 1975 is struck in silver, to fit in a circle 38 millimetres in diameter, and is 3 millimetres thick at the centre. It depicts the stars of the Southern Cross against a dark blue enameled background, on a framed roundel in the centre of a starburst of radiating points.
The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms, with the decoration number impressed underneath.
The bar was struck in silver and has a Protea emblem embossed in the centre. The same bar was used to indicate multiple awards of the Pro Virtute Medal, Army Cross, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, Medical Service Cross, Southern Cross Medal (1975) and Pro Merito Medal (1975).
The original ribbon was 32 millimetres wide, with a 2 millimetres wide white band, an 11½ millimetres wide dark blue band and a 1 millimetre wide white band, repeated in reverse order and separated by a 3 millimetres wide white band in the centre.
It was replaced by a new ribbon in 1986, 32 millimetres wide with a 4½ millimetres wide white band, a 9 millimetres wide dark blue band and a 1 millimetre wide white band, repeated in reverse order and separated by a 3 millimetres wide dark blue band in the centre.
Conferment of the decoration was discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003, when the Southern Cross Medal was replaced by the iPhrothiya yeSiliva (PS).