Munroe Swirsky

My interest in medals started when I was a young child. The fact that one could actually have in my possession a medal to a military veteran fascinated me. I bought my first medal, a WW 2 Africa Star to a South African, using all my savings for the princely sum of SA Rand 2 (10 pence) in 1977.  It was during these early years that I was exposed to the doyens of medal collecting being Dr Frank Mitchell, Ricky De Meneaud and Peter Digby. These men had a profound influence on me and my hobby.

 Four years later, my entire collection consisted of six mixed WW1 and WW2 medals.  However, my military book collection extended to over 100 books. Second-hand books cost a fraction of a medal, and the information contained there within ignited and fuelled my imagination. This was a time before the internet and “Google”, and every book had to be carefully read. The SA Defence Force military records were kept in an old dusty building in Pretoria, under the control of a grumpy yet kind Sgt-Major. He allowed me, as a schoolboy, to wander around the files and keep him company while he worked. A time that can never be repeated.

 Now 40 years later after avid and very possibly over-enthusiastic collecting, I can honestly say I have seen almost everything possible with regards to South African Medals and Decorations. It is now time to share all that I have experienced, seen and been taught with anyone who has a genuine interest.

 I am reminded of a comment made in the service records of a Royal Navy officer, the comment read “this officer plays the bagpipes”; to which a reviewing officer commented; “any negative comments regarding an officer should be recorded in red”.  I was trained to play the bagpipes at Pretoria Boys High and ended my piping career as Pipe-Major 1st Battalion Transvaal Scottish Pipe & Drums in 1990.

 I trust that everyone will enjoy the information contained in this website in a good spirit, as this is only a hobby, and will not be commented on in red.