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Victory Medal (South Africa)
Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India
Country South Africa Union of South Africa
Type Military Campaign medal
Eligibility South African forces
Awarded for Campaign service
Campaign First World War, 1914–1919
Established 1919
First awarded 1919
Total awarded Approximately 75,000
South African order of wear
Next (higher) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg British War Medal
Next (lower) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Mercantile Marine War Medal
Related Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Victory Medal (United Kingdom)
Ribbon - Victory Medal.png Ribbon - Victory Medal MID.png
Ribbon bars without and with MID emblem

The Victory Medal (South Africa) is the Union of South Africa's version of the Victory Medal (United Kingdom), a First World War campaign medal of Britain and her colonies and dominions. The medal, never awarded singly, was awarded all those South Africans who were awarded the 1914–15 Star and to all those who were awarded the British War Medal. The set of three medals were irreverently nicknamed "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred". In the case of those who were not awarded the 1914–15 Star and only the British War Medal and Victory Medal, the pair was referred to as "Mutt and Jeff".[1][2]


The Victory Medal, also known as the Inter-Allied Victory Medal, was instituted to celebrate the Allied victory in the Great War, in accordance with a decision of the Inter-Allied Peace Conference that preceded the Treaty of Versailles. The common award was first proposed by French marshal Ferdinand Foch, supreme commander of the Allied Forces during the war.[1][2][3]

The same ribbon and variations of the basic medal design were adopted by Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Siam, South Africa, the United Kingdom and her colonies and dominions and the United States of America. Most of the medals depict the Winged Victory, a female winged figure representing Nike, the mythological Greek goddess of victory. A particular form of the historic Greek monument to Nike or her Roman equivalent Victoria was chosen by each nation for its version of the medal, except by Japan and Siam where the concept of a winged victory was not culturally relevant. The years of the war were shown as 1914 to 1918 in every case, except on the two medal versions of the British Empire which show the years 1914 to 1919.[1][2][3]

The British version of the Victory Medal was awarded to British combatants as well as to those from the dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Empire of India. The Union of South Africa awarded its own version of the Victory Medal, identical to the British version on the obverse but with the inscription on the reverse in English and Dutch, the two official languages of South Africa at the time.[2]

Award criteria[]

Recipients had to have entered a theatre of the war between 5 August 1914, the day following the British declaration of war against the German Empire, and the armistice of 11 November 1918, both dates inclusive. The medal was never awarded singly, but to all those who were awarded either the 1914 Star or the 1914–15 Star or to all of those who were awarded the British War Medal.[1]

South African order of precedence[]

Until 5 April 1952 the position of the Victory Medal (South Africa) in the official order of precedence was prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. With effect from 6 April 1952 these awards continued to be worn in the same order of precedence but, with the exception of the Victoria Cross, took precedence after all South African orders, decorations and medals awarded to South Africans on or after that date.[4][5][6]

British War Medal Victory Medal (South Africa) Mercantile Marine War Medal


The medal was struck in bronze and is a disk 36 millimetres in diameter.[1]


The obverse shows the winged, full-length and full-front figure of Victoria, the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike, with her left arm extended and holding a palm branch in her right hand.[1]


The reverse is inscribed "THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION" in three lines above and "DE GROTE OORLOG VOOR DE BESCHAVING" in three lines below, with the English and Dutch inscriptions separated by "•••••" and with the years "1914–1919" at the bottom, all completely surrounded by a laurel wreath.


The ribbon is 38 millimetres wide and of watered silk with a double rainbow design, violet at the edges and progressing through the spectrum to red in the centre. It attaches to the medal through a large ring suspender.[1]

Mentioned in Despatches

Recipients that were mentioned in despatches between 4 August 1914 and 10 August 1920 may wear an oak leaf cluster emblem on the medal ribbon, or on the ribbon bar when medals are not worn.[1]


The trio of World War I medals, either one of the 1914 Star or 1914–15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, were collectively irreverently referred to as "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred" after three comic strip characters, a dog, a penguin and a rabbit, that were popular in the immediate post-war era. Pip represented either of the two Stars, Squeak represented the British War Medal and Wilfred represented the Victory Medal.[7][8][9]

Similarly, when only the British War Medal and Victory Medal were awarded, they were referred to as as the "Mutt and Jeff" pair.[9]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "The Long, Long Trail". The Long, Long Trail. Archived from the original on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred". First World Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 The interallied victory medals of World War I by Alexander J. Laslo, Dorado Publishing, Albuquerque. 1986 Edition.
  4. Government Notice no. 1982 of 1 October 1954 – Order of Precedence of Orders, Decorations and Medals, published in the Government Gazette of 1 October 1954.
  5. "No. 56878". 17 March 2003. 
  6. Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  7. "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred". The Long, Long Trail. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008. 
  8. "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred". First World Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Great War 1914–1918 – A Guide to British Campaign Medals of WW1

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