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05/08/2021 02:07am

Sierra Leone General Service Medal

For General Service In Sierra Leone Between 1962 - 1963.
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
The Sierra Leone General Service Medal was a campaign medal presented for service in Sierra Leone and adjacent countries. The medal was instituted in 1965 and was awarded to members of the British forces that were on secondment to the Royal Sierra Leone Military Forces between 26 January 1962 and 28 February 1963, provided that their service had not been acknowledged by any other General Service Medal.
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in bronze. The obverse of this medal bears the crowned head and shoulders portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the inscription; ‘QUEEN ELIZABETH II’.
The reverse depicts the arms of Sierra Leone centrally inscribed; ‘FOR GENERAL SERVICE / SIERRA LEONE’.
The medal is surmounted by a laterally pierced ball suspension.
The medal was issued un-named.
The ribbon is 32mm wide and red in colour with narrow blue, white and green strips along either edge.
This medal was issued with the following bar:-
Awarded for service secondment to the Royal Sierra Leone Military Forces between 26 January 1962 and 28 February 1963, provided that their service had not been acknowledged by any other General Service Medal.
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
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Sierra Leone General Service Medal
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Further Historical Context
This section contains information on:-
- Sierra Leone And Independence.
Sierra Leone And Independence - On 20 April 1960, Sir Milton Margai led the twenty four members of the Sierra Leonean delegation at the constitutional conferences that were held with Queen Elizabeth II and British Colonial Secretary Iain Macleod in the negotiations for independence held at the Lancaster House in London.
On the conclusion of talks in London on 4 May 1960, the United Kingdom agreed to grant Sierra Leone Independence on 27 April 1961. However, the outspoken trade unionist Siaka Stevens was the only delegate who refused to sign Sierra Leone's declaration of Independendence on the grounds that there had been a secret defence pact between Sierra Leone and Britain; another point of contention by Stevens was the Sierra Leonean government's position that there would be no elections held before independence which would effectively shut him out of Sierra Leone's political process.
The delegates received a hero's welcome on their return to Freetown. While back in Freetown, Stevens was promptly expelled from the People's National Party (PNP).
On September 24, 1960, outspoken critic of the SLPP government, Siaka Stevens, who hailed from the south of Sierra Leone, formed an alliance with several prominent northern politicians including Christian Alusine-Kamara Taylor, Sorie Ibrahim Koroma, Mohammed Bash-Taqui, Mucktarru Kallay', Kawusu Konteh and Allieu Badarra Koroma to form their own political party called the All People's Congress (APC) in opposition of the SLPP government.
Stevens took advantage of the dissatisfaction with the ruling SLPP among some prominent politicians from the Northern part of Sierra Leone to form the APC; and Stevens used the Northern part of Sierra Leone as his political base.
On 27 April 1961, Sir Milton Margai led Sierra Leone to independence from Great Britain and became the country's first Prime Minister. Thousands of Sierra Leoneans across the newly independent nation took to the street in celebration of independence. Sierra Leone retained a parliamentary system of government and was a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The leader of the main opposition APC, Siaka Stevens, along with outspoken critic of the SLPP government, Isaac Wallace-Johnson, were arrested and placed under house arrest in Freetown, along with sixteen others charged with disrupting the independence celebration. In May 1962, Sierra Leone held its first general election as an Independent nation. The Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) won plurality of seats in parliament and Sir Milton Margai was re-elected as prime minister.
An important aspect of Sir Milton's character was his self-effacement. He was neither corrupt nor did he make a lavish display of his power or status. Sir Milton's government was based on the rule of law and the notion of separation of powers, with multiparty political institutions and fairly viable representative structures.
Margai used his conservative ideology to lead Sierra Leone without much strife. He appointed government officials with a clear eye to satisfy various ethnic groups. Margai employed a brokerage style of politics by sharing political power between political groups and the paramount chiefs in the provinces.
Upon Sir Milton's unexpected death in 1964, his half-brother, Sir Albert Margai, was appointed as Prime Minister by parliament. Sir Albert's leadership was briefly challenged by Sierra Leone's Foreign Minister John Karefa-Smart, who questioned Sir Albert's succession to the SLPP leadership position.
Karefa-Smart received little support in Parliament in his attempt to have Margai stripped of the SLPP leadership. Soon after Margai was sworn in as Prime Minister, he immediately dismissed several senior government officials who had served under his elder brother Sir Milton's government, as he viewed them as a threat to his administration.
Unlike his late brother, Sir Milton, Sir Albert resorted to increasingly authoritarian actions in response to protests and enacted several laws against the opposition All People's Congress (APC) whilst attempting to establish a single-party state.
Unlike his late brother Milton, Sir Albert was opposed to the colonial legacy of allowing the country's Paramount Chiefs executive powers, many of whom where key allies of his late brother Sir Milton; and he was seen as a threat to the existence of the ruling houses across the country. In 1967, Riots broke out in Freetown against Sir Albert's policies; in response Margai declared a state of emergency across the country.
Sir Albert was accused of corruption and of a policy of affirmative action in favour of his own Mende ethnic group. Although Sir Albert had the full backing of the country's security forces, he called for free and fair elections.
The APC, with its leader Siaka Stevens, narrowly won a small majority of seats in Parliament over the SLPP in a closely contested 1967 Sierra Leone general election and Stevens was sworn in as Prime Minister on 21 March 1967.
Within hours after taking office, Stevens was ousted in a bloodless military coup led by the commander of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces Brigadier General David Lansana, a close ally of Sir Albert Margai who had appointed him to the position in 1964. Brigadier Lansana placed Stevens under house arrest in Freetown and insisted the determination of office of the Prime Minister should await the election of the tribal representatives to the house.
On 23 March 1967, a group of senior military officers in the Sierra Leone Army led by Brigadier Andrew Juxon-Smith overrode this action by seizing control of the government, arresting Brigadier Lansana, and suspending the constitution. The group constituted itself as the National Reformation Council (NRC) with Brigadier Andrew Juxon-Smith as its chairman and Head of State of the country.
On 18 April 1968, a group of senior military officers who called themselves the Anti-Corruption Revolutionary Movement led by Brigadier General John Amadu Bangura overthrew the NRC junta. The ACRM juntas arrested many senior NRC members. The constitution was reinstated, and power was returned to Stevens, who at last assumed the office of Prime Minister.
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.