Castle of Good Hope Decoration

Castle Of Good Hope Decoration

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Castle of Good Hope Decoration

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The Castle of Good Hope Decoration was South Africa's highest military honour from 1952 to 2003. It was introduced on 6 April 1952, and formally authorised by Queen Elizabeth II on 26 January 1953, as a substitute for the Victoria Cross, for which South African servicemen had previously been eligible.

The conditions for award were "most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty" in the presence of the enemy in wartime. In 1986, the restriction to wartime was removed to make the decoration available in other military operations. The decoration was never awarded, and was superseded by the Nkwe ya Gauta with effect from 27 April 2003.

The CGH is a gold pentagon, representing the outline of South Africa's oldest military building, the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. The obverse displays a scene of three ships sailing into Table Bay in 1652, surrounded by the name of the decoration in English and Afrikaans. The reverse displays the 1910-pattern South African coat of arms, and specimens struck before the country became a republic in 1961 also have Queen Elizabeth's royal cipher (E II R).

The ribbon is plain green. It was designed to be worn around the neck, in the manner of the American Medal of Honor, but it was altered to a chest decoration in the 1990s.


  • Alexander, E. G. M., Barron G. K. B. and Bateman, A. J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau.

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