King's South Africa Medal (KSA)

Era: Boer War

This second campaign medal for the South African or ‘Boer War’ was instituted in 1902, for award to all those who were in theatre on or after the 1st January 1902, and had completed 18 months service in the conflict prior to 1st June 1902.  Service did not have to be continuous, but even with continuous service the recipient would have had to serve from December 1900 to have 18 months service before the war ended in May 1902 (and commencing before the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901). The medal was to recognise service in the difficult latter phases of the war and reward those who by their long service in field had brought the campaign to a successful conclusion.  The medal was never awarded singly and was always paired with the Queen’s South Africa Medal.


Materials:   The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issued in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:    Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Type – Campaign Medal.

Eligibility – Troops who served in South Africa on or after 1st January 1902, and completed 18 months service before 1st June 1902.

Awarded for – Campaign Service.

Clasps– Two issued.

(Medals supplied by us come with BOTH date clasps included in the price.)

Naming – Impressed in san serif capitals, in a style also found on the Queen’s South Africa Medal.  Some officers medals are encounter engraved.

Ribbon – 1.25 inches (32 mm) wide, and consists of three equal stripes (left to right): light green, white, and orange.

Established – 1902

A circular medal, made from silver, 1.52 inches (36 mm) in diameter. The obverse shows King Edward VII, in Field Marshal's uniform, facing left, with the legend ‘EDWARDVS VII REX IMPERATOR’.

On the reverse Britannia is depicted holding the Union Flag in her left hand and a laurel wreath in her right. The right background shows troops marching to the coast and the left shows two men-of-war. Around the top are the words: ‘SOUTH AFRICA’.


Clasps are commonly, though not strictly correctly, also referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating service in a particular campaign or battle.  The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned.  Usually the first earned Clasp is borne nearest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, though they can be found in the wrong order. 

South Africa 1901                  (1st January 1901 - 31st December 1901)

All those who served in South Africa between 1st January 1901 and the 31st December 1901, both dates inclusive.

South Africa: 1902:               (1st January 1902 - 31st May 1902)

All those who served in South Africa between 1st January 1902 and the 31st May 1902, both dates inclusive.

Medals supplied by us come with BOTH date clasps included in the price.



Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

< King%27s_South_Africa_Medal >

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