A bronze, 36mm circular medal carrying on the obverse, an effigy of the head of Cecil John Rhodes. The reverse is plain. The recipient's name is etched on the rim. A bronze bar (not pictured) is for a second award.


Members of the Security Forces and civilians were entitled to be recipients of the award.


There were numerous awards made of this medal including 13 posthumously. The medal was also awarded to foreign nationals such as Mr and Mrs D. Plumsteel of South Africa. The City of Umtali became a recipient in February 1979. The crew of four of the Viscount Hunyani shot down by terrorists during the war, were posthumous recipients of the award.


In spite of certain members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, such as the Administration Re-inforcement Units, being specifically and actively deployed, fully armed and uniformed, to seek out, engage and eliminate terrorists, this "non-combatant" award was the highest recognition they would receive. There is no doubt whatsoever that some, had they been entitled, would have been awarded the Bronze Cross of Rhodesia - a travesty and insult to the men of Intaf who performed so gallantly during Rhodesia's Bush War.



Rhodesia Prison Medal for Gallantry (RPM)

For gallantry

A bronze, 38mm Maltese Cross with, at the centre, a full-face bronze lion on a circle of white enamel, surrounded by a bronze laurel wreath on a black background. The reverse is plain and carries the name of the recipient. A bronze bar is for a second award.


The different coloured ribbons denote the three arms of the Security Forces: red the Army, plum the Air Force and brown Guard Force.


​There were 133 gazetted awards, including seven posthumously.



Police Cross for Distinguished Service (PCD)

For distinguished service

A silver and gold-plated 38mm Maltese Cross with, at the centre a gold lion and spear police crest on a circle of white enamel, surrounded by the words in gold lettering "For Distinguished Police Service" on a blue background. The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient. A gold-plated bar was for a second award.


There were 34 recipients of this exclusively British South Africa Police award, mainly Senior Assistant Commissioners.



Defence Cross for Distinguished Service (DCD)

For distinguished service.

This award will be worn on the breast.


A bronze and silver-plated 38mm Maltese Cross with, at the centre, the green shield of armorial bearings on a silver-edged circle of blue enamel. This is surrounded by four gold Zimbabwe birds on a silver wreath. The reverse is plain. The bronze rosette and red stripe on the ribbon denote the Military Division of the award.


​There were numerous recipients.



Police Decoration for Gallantry (PDG)

For gallantry

A silver 36mm circular medal, with the obverse carrying the national armorial bearings. The reverse carries a truncheon on a laurel wreath, with the words "For Gallantry". A silver bar (not pictured) is for a second award. The recipient's name is etched on the rim.


Exclusive to the British South Africa Police, there were 22 recipients, including one posthumous award.



Bronze Cross of Rhodesia (BCR)

​For gallantry

​​A gold-plated and silver with blue enamel 38mm Maltese Cross with, on a white enamel centre, the gold lion and spear crest of the British South Africa Police. The is encircled in blue, with gold lettering "For Conspicuous Gallantry". The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient. The gold-plated bar is for a second award.


Exclusive to serving members of the BSAP, this was the highest police award. There were only ever five recipients of this award: Constable C. Kampaundi, Patrol Officer D.G Edwards, Constable S.M. Manyawu, Constable E. Mazarire and Lance Section Officer L.R. O'Brien.



Silver Cross of Rhodesia (SCR)

For conspicuous gallantry

A silver, 38mm Maltese Cross with, in the centre, a silver lion's head on a circle of white enamel, surrounded by a silver laurel wreath on a black background. The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient. The silver bar is for a second award.


The medal was awarded to members of the Army and the Air Force.


34 silver crosses were awarded, and two bars to the medal. There were two posthumous awards.



Prison Cross for Gallantry (RPC)

For conspicuous gallantry

A silver with green enamel 38mm Maltese Cross with, at the centre, a green Zimbabwe bird in a silver circle with a green border, the latter carrying the words "For Conspicuous Gallantry". This is surrounded by a silver laurel wreath. The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient.


Exclusive to members of the Rhodesia Prison Services, no awards were ever gazetted.



Officer of the Legion of Merit (OLM)

For distinguished service to Rhodesia

This award will be worn on the breast.


A silver and gold-plated 38mm Maltese Cross with, at the centre, the green shield of armorial bearings on a gold-edged circle of blue enamel. This is surrounded by four silver Zimbabwe birds on a gold wreath.  The reverse is plain. The silver rosette and the red stripe on the ribbon denotes the Military Division of the award.


There were numerous recipients.



Member of the Legion of Merit

For distinguished service to Rhodesia

A  bronze, 36mm, circular medal.  The obverse carries the armorial bearings surrounded by the words "Commemoration of Independence; Rhodesia". The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient .


The numerous recipients included civilians, military personnel, African chiefs, senators and politicians.



Commander of the Legion of Merit (CLM)

For distinguished service to Rhodesia

A neck badge will be worn on formal occasions.


The neck badge is a silver and gold plated, 51mm Maltese Cross with, in the centre, the green armorial shield on blue enamel. This is surrounded by four silver Zimbabwe birds on a gold wreath. The reverse is identical. The red stripe and red rosette on the neck ribbon denote the Military Division.


Awards are dominated by civilians, including senior members of the British South Africa Police. There were only four recipients in the Military Division: Air Marshal Mick McLaren (Air Force), Major Ron Reid-Daly (Selous Scouts), Lt General Peter Walls (Army) and Air Marshal Frank Mussell (Air Force).



Police Cross for Conspicuous Gallantry (PCG)

For Conspicuous Gallantry

A silver, 36mm, circular medal.  The obverse carries the armorial bearings surrounded by the words "Eleventh November, Rhodesia Independence, 1965. The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient. 


The recipients were largely senior politicians, dominated by the signatories to the Declaration of Independence and others present at the signing ceremony. All awards were made on 11 November 1970, with the exception of that to Central Intelligence Organisation head, Ken Flower, who became a recipient on 20 April 1979.



Independence Commemorative Decoration (ICD)

For persons rendering valuable sewrvice to Rhodesia

A silver star and neck badge to be worn on formal occasions.


The badge is a silver and gold plated, white enamel, 51mm Maltese Cross with, in the centre, the shield of armorial bearings on a blue circle. This is surrounded by four silver Zimbabwe birds on a gold wreath. The reverse is identical. The 75mm multi-pointed star, with a silver Zimbabwe bird surrounded by a silver laurel wreath at its centre, is worn on the left breast. The red stripe on the neck ribbon denotes the Military Division.


There were numerous awards in the Civil Division, but only one in the Military Division, to Lt General Peter Walls, OLM, DCD, MBE.



Independence Decoration (ID)

For persons who played a notable and significant part in the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965

On formal occasions a sash, badge and gold star were worn.


The badge is a gold and silver, white enamel, 51mm Maltese Cross with, in the centre, the shield of armorial bearings on a blue circle. This is surrounded by four silver Zimbabwe birds on a gold wreath. The reverse is identical. The 95mm multi-pointed star contains Rhodesian emeralds and is worn on the left breast. The red stripe on the riband denotes the Military Division.


There were only two civilian recipients, President Clifford Dupont and Prime Minister Ian Smith. No awards were made in the Military Division.



​Grand Officer of the Legion of Merit (GLM)

For outstanding service to Rhodesia

A silver, 36mm circular medal. The obverse has a gold lion and spear. This is surrounded by the words "For Conspicuous Gallantry".The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient. The silver clasp on the ribbon is for a second award.


This award could be made to civilians and members of the Security Forces and was the second highest award for gallantry. There were only ever three awards of this medal: Mr R.J. Kogler, Mr J.G. Scott and Mr S. Tegere.



Grand Commander of the Legion of Merit (GCLM)

For outstanding service to Rhodesia

Rhodesian Honours and Awards


In March 1970, five years after UDI, Rhodesia became a republic, severing its ties with the British Crown. Up until this time, British medals were awarded to Rhodesians who provided noteworthy service both as civilians and as men and women in uniform. Rhodesian awards would replace these; a single order of chivalry, and a range of gallantry, meritorious, long service and campaign medals were promulgated by warrants contained in Government Statutory Instruments. The Government Gazette replaced the London Gazette as the official medium for the legitimisation of such awards.


Matthews Manufacturing in Bulawayo established the Livingstone Mint, responsible for creating the appropriate moulds and striking medals as ordered by Government. In spite of considerable research, the design artists are unknown to me.


I have arranged the medals and awards in Order of Wear (or precedence), that strict protocol of hierarchy that dictates the positioning of any given medal in an individual's group. Where applicable, the post nominal letters which gives the recipient entitlement to list these after his or her name, is shown after the medal sub-heading. Not all medals carry post nominals.I do not list all recipients as this will take up too much space, so recommend David Saffrey's outstanding book, the Rhodesia Medal Roll for anyone who may be interested. The accompanying photographs of individual medals are from my personal full collection. In terms of nomenclature, 'obverse' refers to the front or face of the medal, as opposed to the 'reverse'.

A silver 

​A British award. A rhodium-plated cupronickel, 36mm circular medal, the obverse (not shown) carries the crowned bust of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse, pictured above (image Medal Yearbook 2013), carries the sable antelope, encircled with the words The Rhodesia Medal" and "1980".  There are no clasps. 


This medal was issued to personnel serving in Rhodesia for 14 days from 1 December 1979 to 20 March 1980 pending the elections for an independent Zimbabwe. It was awarded to British armed forces and Royal Air Force personnel and British police serving in Rhodesia during this period.


A cupronickel, 36mm circular medal, the obverse (not pictured) carried an effigy of King George VI. The reverse, shown above (image Medal Yearbook 2013), carried the national armorial bearings, encircled with the words "For Service in Southern Rhodesia 1939-1945". There were no clasps.


A very scarce medal.



Zimbabwe Independence Medal

A silver or bronze, 36mm circular medal with, on the obverse (pictured above), a representation of the Zimbabwe Ruins with a crossed rifle and hoe, encircled by the words "18th April 1980 - Zimbabwe Independence". The reverse, not shown, is a representation of a mythical bird being reborn out of fire. Recipient names are not etched on the rim, only a number.


This medal was promulgated by Warrant 1 of 1980 as contained in Statutory Instrument 216G of 1980, signed by the Governor of Rhodesia, Lord Christopher Soames.


In terms of eligibility, the warrant simply states that the award "...may be awarded to any person or group nominated by the Prime Minister".



Rhodesia Medal

A silver, 36mm circular medal, the obverse depicting a kneeling pioneer rifleman, with the words "The President's Medal" below.  The obverse carries crossed .303 and FN rifles and pioneer-era bandolier, encircled with the words "Champion Shot in the Rhodesian Security Forces". A silver year clasp (not pictured) is displayed on the ribbon.


The medal was won eight times with Inspector D. Toddun, Station Sergeant G. James and Field Reservist W. Tarr each being awarded a bar for a subsequent award.



Other related medals:


British South Africa Company's Medal

A silver, 36mm circular medal, the obverse carrying the old head bust of Queen Victoria, encircled with the words "Victoria Regina". The reverse (pictured above right, image Medal Yearbook 2013) features a charging lion impaled by a spear, with a mimosa bush in the background and a litter of assegais and a shield on the ground (the future badge of the British South Africa Police), encircled by the words "British South Africa Police" and "Matabeleland 1893". An unusually ornate suspender has roses, thistles, shamrocks and leeks entwined.


This medal was originally instituted in 1896 to reward those troops who had seen service in the dismantling of the amaNdebele nation in 1893. This was later extended to cover operations during the Matabele and Mashona Rebellions from 1896 to 1897. The obverse of subsequent medals therefore carried the words "Rhodesia 1896" and "Mashonaland 1897". It was only in 1927 that the government decided to issue medals for the Mashonaland settlement in 1890 by the pioneers.  This date, however, was not inscribed on the reverse of the medal, though the date appeared on a clasp. 


Clasps:

  • "Mashonaland 1890"
  • "Matabeleland 1893"
  • "Rhodesia 1896"
  • ​"Mashonaland 1897"

Only 200 of the 705 eligible claimed the medal and clasp.


Southern Rhodesia War Service Medal (1939-45)

​For service in Southern Rhodesia for those not eligible for one of the campaign stars or medals

​A bronze, 36mm x 44mm oval medal, the obverse carries a silver Zimbabwe bird on a rectangular green background. The reverse is plain and carries the name of the recipient.



President's Medal for Shooting

Awarded to the champion shot of the Rhodesian Security Forces

A silver, 36mm rose-shaped medal, the obverse carrying a fireman's helmet and crossed axes. The reverse carries the words "For Long Service and Good Conduct" and the word "Rhodesia" below.


Awarded after 18 years. A silver clasp after 25 years and a second clasp after 30 years.


Rhodesia Badge of Honour

For long service and devotion to duty in government, municipal or private service

Above left: the medal for Chiefs, a silver, 36mm x 44mm oval medal, on the obverse carrying the national armorial bearings. The reverse is plain and carries the recipient's name.

Above right: the medal for Headman, the only difference being that this one was struck in bronze.


Only 18 Chiefs and 9 Headman received these awards.



Rhodesia General Service Medal

For service on operations undertaken for the purpose of combating terrorist or enemy incursions into Rhodesia

A silver, 36mm circular medal carrying on the obverse the national armorial bearings, encircled by the words Rhodesia Prison Service. The reverse carries the Zimbabwe bird encircled by the words "For Meritorious Service". The name of the recipient is etched on the rim. A silver bar (not pictured) is for a second award.


There were 40 gazetted recipients of this award.



President's Medals for Chiefs and Headmen

For Chiefs and Headmen who had rendered conspicuous service

A silver, 36mm circular medal carrying on the obverse the national armorial bearings. The reverse carries the lion and tusk and eagle emblems of the Combined Services, surrounded by a wreath of flame lilies, This is surrounded by the words "For Meritorious Service". The name of the recipient is etched on the rim. A silver bar (not pictured) is for a second award.


There were numerous awards to members of the Army, Air Force and Guard Force.



Rhodesia Prison Medal for Meritorious Service (PMS)

For meritorious service

A silver, 36mm circular medal carrying the national armorial bearings on the obverse. The reverse carries a truncheon on a laurel wreath at the centre, encircled by the words "For Meritorious Police Service". The name of the recipient is etched on the rim. A silver bar (not pictured) is for a second award.


Only members of the British South Africa Police were eligible to receive this award.


There were numerous recipients, from Assistant Commissioners to Station Sergeants.



Defence Forces Medal for Meritorious Service (DMM)

For meritorious service

​A silver, 36mm circular medal, with the obverse carrying the national armorial bearings encircled by the words "Rhodesia Prison Service". The reverse carries the Zimbabwe bird encircled by the words "For Gallantry". The recipient's name is etched on the rim. A silver bar (not pictured) is for a second award.


​There was only ever one recipient gazetted, that of Warder Noah Masukume.



Medal for Meritorious Service

For resource and devotion to duty, and exemplary voluntary service.

A silver, 36mm circular medal, with the obverse carrying the national armorial bearings. The reverse carries the pick from the shield of the armorial bearings encircled by the words "For Meritorious Service". The recipient's name is etched on the rim. A silver bar (not pictured) is for a second award. There were two Divisions of the medal, a Civil Division with a plain ribbon, and a Military Division with multi-coloured stripes.


There were are large number of recipients from all sections of the population, including the civil service, local authorities, professionals, and the territorial, volunteer and reserve forces.



Police Medal for Meritorious Service (PMM)

For meritorious service

A silver 38mm Maltese Cross with, at the centre, a full-face silver lion on a circle of white enamel, surrounded by the words in silver lettering "For Distinguished Service" on a black background. The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient. A silver bar was for a second award.


There were 19 recipients of this award from the Army and Air Force.



Prison Cross for Distinguished Service (PSC)

For distinguished service

A silver and green enamel, 38mm Maltese Cross with, at the centre, the green Zimbabwe bird on a silver circle, surrounded by silver lettering the words "For Distinguished Service" encircled by a silver laurel wreath. The reverse is plain and carried the recipient's name. The silver bar is for a second award.


​There were only three recipients of this exclusively Rhodesia Prison Service award.



Meritorious Conduct Medal (MCM)

For brave and gallant action and above the call of duty in a non-combatant capacity

The Rhodesian Soldier

A silver, 32mm x 38mm oval medal, the obverse carrying a bronze bar lion and tusk and crossed batons on a laurel wreath. The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient.


The basic qualification was 12 years. A silver clasp was for 18 years.


Awarded to members of the Army and Air Force.



Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

For long service in a Fire Brigade

A silver, 36mm circular medal, the obverse carrying the shield of the armorial bearings. The reverse carries the words "For Exemplary Service" encircled by a wreath of leaves.


The award was made after 18 years service. A silver clasp was awarded after 27 years.



Prison Long Service Medal

For long and exemplary service

A silver, 36mm circular medal, the obverse carrying the national armorial arms encircled by the words "Rhodesia Prison Service". The reverse carries the Zimbabwe bird encircled by the words "For Long Service and Good Conduct".


The award was made after 18 years. A silver clasp (not pictured) was awarded after 25 years and a second clasp after 30 years.



Police Reserve Long Service Medal

The basic qualification for this award was nine years' voluntary service in the British South Africa Police 'A' Reserve, or 15 years' service in the Field Reserve.

A silver, 36mm circular medal, the obverse carrying the national armorial bearings. On the reverse, the words "For Faithful Service" above a spray of flame lilies, below the Words "Police Reserve". A silver calsp (not pictured) was awarded after each successive 10 years after the initial qualifying period.



Medal for Territorial or Reserve Service

For long service in the Territorial, Volunteer and Reserve Forces

A silver, 36mm circular medal, the obverse carrying the national armorial bearings. The reverse carries a truncheon on a laurel wreath, encircled by the words "For Long Service and Good Conduct".


The award was made after 18 years service. A silver clasp (not pictured) was awarded after 25 years and a second clasp after 30 years service.


There was a separate award for the Police Reserve.



Exemplary Service Medal

For long and exemplary service

A cupronickel, 36mm circular medal, the obverse carrying an effigy of the head of Cecil John Rhodes. There were two editions of this medal, with the first specifically covering the period immediately after UDI, 1965-1968. While the obverse remained the same, the obverse of the earlier one carries a sheathed sword encircled with the words "For Service 1965-1968" (pictured above in the centre). The second edition carried the words "For Service", the years left off. The name of the recipient is etched on the rim.



Police Long Service Medal

For long and exemplary Service

A cupronickel, 36mm circular medal, carrying on the obverse an effigy of the head of Cecil John Rhodes. The reverse carries the words "For Service" encircled by a wreath of flame lilies. The recipient's name is etched on the rim.


A controversial medal which, whilst defining the same eligibility as that of the RGSM, was only awarded to black District Assistants and District Security Assistants of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.



Prison Service Medal

For the part played in maintaining law and order

​From left to right above:


1. The Military Forces' Commendation, a silver (operational) or bronze (non-operational) pick device from the shield of the national armorial bearings, to be worn on the ribbon of the Rhodesian General Service Medal.


​2. The Police Commissioner's Special Commendation for bravery, a silver baton, and the Police Commissioner's Commendation for bravery, a bronze baton, to be worn on the ribbon of the appropriate campaign medal.


3. The Secretary for Internal Affairs Commendation, an infantry powder horn, or oliphant, to be worn on the ribbon of either the Rhodesian General Service Medal or the District Service Medal.


4.The Director of Prisons Commendation, a bronze key, to be worn on the ribbon of the Prison Service Medal.



The District Service Medal

For service on operations undertaken for the purposes of combating terrorist or enemy incursions into Rhodesia.

The Rhodesia General Service Medal, or RGSM, in the middle is the oldest, struck in the late 1960s. This medal is that of my oldest brother Attie, who served in the Rhodesian Light Infantry from 1967 to 1978. The crispness in definition of Rhodes' head and the suspender is very clear. The one on the extreme left is mine, struck in 1975/1976. The one on the extreme right is from a collector's set, the quality of both metal and definition poor in comparison.


Of importance to note also is the name etching on the rim. If you lay the medal flat with Rhodes' face uppermost, the name, rank and number on the rim can be read as they are the right way up. On the very early version, however, the etching appears upside down. Apart from obvious quality, this is a good way of determining approximate age of a RGSM.



Commendation Devices

For an act of bravery, distinguished service or continuous devotion to duty

A cupronickel, 36mm circular medal, the obverse carrying an effigy of the head of Cecil John Rhodes. The reverse carries the national armorial bearings, the only Rhodesian medal to have the country's coat of arms on the reverse. The name of the recipient is etched on the rim. This was the country's only true campaign medal.


Rules as contained in the Rhodesia Government Notice 836 of 1978, amendment No 6 to Rhodesia Warrant 1 of 1969, published in Rhodesia Government 893A of 1969, recipients had to qualify for one or more of the following to be eligible:


a. after completion of initial training, have served in the Security Forces or in any other military force for periods amounting in the aggregate to at least 91 days; or

b. have completed an aggregate of 14 days' operational service in the Security Forces or any other military force; or

c. were engaged in active combat or was in close contact with terrorists or the enemy.


It is obvious from medals struck at different times during the 1970s, that successive moulds had been made and used. Sadly, however, and as can be seen from the photograph below, overall quality of metal and image appeared to wane over the years.

Grand Cross of Valour (GCV)

For conspicuous valour by members of the Security Forces in combat

A 9ct gold, 38mm Maltese Cross. The obverse has a white enamel roundel with a golden lion's head in the centre. This is surrounded by black enamel carrying the words "For Valour Rhodesia". The reverse is plain and carried the name of the recipient. The gold clasp on the ribbon is for a second award.

​This was Rhodesia's highest award for gallantry. There were only ever two awards of this medal: Acting Captain Chris Schulenberg, SCR, and Temp Major Grahame Wilson, SCR, BCR.


Conspicuous Gallantry Decoration (CGD)

For acts of the highest gallantry and brave conduct in a non-combatant capacity