The Rhodesian Independence Commemorative Medal
It has long been recognised that Rhodesian honours and awards were not given lightly and that recipients, pro rata of population, were fewer than in first-world countries faced with lesser national trials. Acknowledged too is the fact that thousands of Rhodesians who gave valuable service went unnoticed and unrewarded. Though late, this situation has now been addressed.
In the absence of any official authority to rectify omissions of the past, such shortfalls can only be addressed by Rhodesia’s highest residual influence now residing in associations formed by the BSA Police, the Rhodesian Army, and the Rhodesian Air Force. It is from a joint committee of UK-based association branches that a recommendation to produce a medal for past services has been attended. The resultant 36mm medal, named the Rhodesian Independence Commemorative Medal (RICM), as well as its miniature, will be available from 1st February 2009, that being in the 30th year since Rhodesia ceased to exist. Application may however be made from 22 November 2008.
The RICM Committee accepts that Rhodesians were the product of a unique society in which any resident of the country calling himself or herself a Rhodesian was automatically accepted as such. Ignoring the multitude of political issues, the committee maintains that nationality and ethnic grouping played no part in identifying who was and who was not a Rhodesian. It was for this reason that, when times got tough, invisible bonds between individuals brought about inter-cooperation that was born of passionate national identity and intimate camaraderie. This had no equal in any other country on earth. That almost indefinable characteristic existed at every level of Rhodesian society; and it lives on to this day.
In one form or another most men and many women gave uniformed service to combat the ever-mounting threats between November 1965 and December 1979 that arose from communist designs on Africa and international sanctions against Rhodesia. But such service alone was not what made Rhodesia tick. Consider isolated farmers’ wives who braved greater threats than most servicemen. Railway operators, civilian airmen, firemen and many other service providers faced dangers that few around them even recognised. Wives of uniformed men were regularly without husbands but they doggedly strived to keep the families and homes of their men in a manner that allowed husbands to get on with what they needed to do without undue domestic concerns. Consider also those in offices and factories who could not be spared or were unfit for uniformed service but were no less important in keeping the national fabric whole. In fact every Rhodesian, even students attending standard and advanced schooling, gave service whether in great or small measure.
Consequently the RICM is available to anyone who remains proud to call himself or herself a Rhodesian. Those wishing to do so may now demonstrate their pride by owning and, on appropriate occasion, displaying their RICM.
Based on research undertaken prior to the production of the RICM, it was realised that those men and women who already display decorations and awards would be proud to add this distinguished commemorative issue and support the idea of an RICM being available to Rhodesians seeking to express continued loyalty to the memory of Rhodesia. They even like the idea of awarding their wives and relatives an RICM in recognition of past loyalty to Rhodesia and as an expression of personal thanks for love and support.
The RICM proudly commemorates the fourteen-year era in which Rhodesia stood against a hostile world determined to uphold responsible government for the good of the entire nation. Although we were eventually destroyed by governments that were both unable to understand or accept Rhodesia’s determination to prevent greedy men from destroying a wonderfully developed country, we nevertheless remain proud of what we so valiantly sought to protect. Mugabe has shown the world that we were right in attempting to move at a sensible rate towards majority rule. Yet that same world still harbours a wildly distorted impression of an era that only we Rhodesians can proudly commemorate.
RICM is a non-political commemorative emblem that deliberately avoids displaying any political personality. The Obverse (front) face states INDEPENDENT RHODESIA 11.11.1965 – 11.12.1979 around the outline of Rhodesia with a snarling lion infill to symbolise Rhodesian defiance.
The Reverse (back) face is that of the Rhodesian Coat of Arms surrounded by fourteen stars for 14 years of Rhodesian Independence.
The medal is suspended from a brooch pin by a ribbon in Rhodesia’s green and white colours.
Since this is not an officially government-gazetted medal, it stands last in the line of precedence given to Rhodesia’s official medals but ahead of any Zimbabwean item. For those who prefer to wear their existing awards and medals without adding the RICM into the cluster, the medal may be worn below and central to their existing arrangement. For those wearing only an RICM, it will be displayed on the left breast in the normal way. Alternatively, those who choose to display the RICM on behalf of deceased parents may wear it in the customary posthumous position on the right breast.
This very distinctive medal will be available in full-size (36mm) and miniature (18mm) and comes ribboned and fitted with an individual brooch bar ready to wear. The cost of the full-size medal is £32.50 and the miniature is £12.50 plus postage though total cost will depend on options provided in the application form. Full details are required for each full-size medal ordered.
For application form and details of this medal (send no money now) contact:
Award Productions Ltd (Dept. RICM),
PO Box 300, Shrewsbury SY5 6WP, U.K.
Tel: 01952 510053 Fax: 01952 510765 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or apply on line at: www.awardmedals.com/RICM
- Beaver Shaw
- Nairobi, Kenya
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