The John Chard Medal is a military long service medal which was instituted by the Union of South Africa on 6 April 1952. The medal was awarded to all ranks of the Citizen Force for twelve years efficient service, not necessarily continuous. After a further eight years a recipient could qualify for the award of the John Chard Decoration (JCD). This was later changed in 1986 to allow Citizen Force members to earn the John Chard Medal after ten years service, not necessarily continuous and the John Chard Decoration after twenty years.
When the National Party took South Africa out of the Commonwealth they embarked on a campaign to change the South African military emblems, insignia and medals and rid the SADF of anything “British” (especially the Queen’s crown which now had to go). In many instances these changes where resisted and a number of civilian force “Regiments” where able to hold onto some of their British heritage – however the medal sets where all changed and new medals instituted, except the John Chard Service medal series which survived the changes.
The John Chard Medal was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II on 6 April 1952, during the Tercentenary Van Riebeeck Festival, to replace the Efficiency Medal and the Air Efficiency Award which had been awarded to members of the Citizen Force between 1939 and 1952. It was named after John Chard VC, the lieutenant in command of the supply depot at Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War, when it was attacked by Zulus in January 1879. The story of John Chard was captured in the movie, Zulu (1964) and is currently available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmPYoKK1zXw
This remembrance coin commemorates Lt John Chard and every coin is uniquely numbered for the serious collector.
The John Chard decoration/medal series continued in the SANDF from 1994, but was finally discontinued in 2003 and replaced by the SANDF’s new long service medals. This was done when when the new political dispensation did a sweeping change to all military emblems and insignia to rid it of anything the nationalists instituted.