Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)

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Distinguished Flying Cross
DistinguishedFlyingCrossUKObv.jpg
Obverse of the decoration.
TypeMilitary decoration
Awarded for... exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy in the air. [1]
Presented byUnited Kingdom and Commonwealth
EligibilityBritish, Commonwealth, and allied forces
StatusCurrently awarded
Established3 June 1918
TotalTo 2017: 22,322 crosses; 1,737 bars
DistinguishedFlyingCrossUKRibbon.jpg
Ribbon:-

1918-1919: horizontal alternate white and purple stripes

1919-current: Diagonal alternate white and purple stripes

Contents

Order of Wear
Next (higher) Military Cross [2]
Next (lower) Air Force Cross [2]
Related Distinguished Flying Medal
Ribbon bar for a 2nd award Bar to the Air Force Cross.png
Ribbon bar for a 2nd award

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers, and since 1993 to other ranks, of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy". [3]

History

The award was established on 3 June 1918, shortly after the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF), with the Royal Warrant published on 5 December 1919. [3] It was originally awarded to RAF commissioned and warrant officers, including officers in Commonwealth and allied forces. In March 1941 eligibility was extended to Naval Officers of the Fleet Air Arm, and in November 1942 to Army officers, [4] including Royal Artillery officers serving on attachment to the RAF as pilots-cum-artillery observers. Posthumous awards were permitted from 1979. [5]

Since the 1993 review of the honours system as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in bravery awards, all ranks of all arms of the Armed Forces have been eligible, and the Distinguished Flying Medal, which had until then been awarded to other ranks, was discontinued. [6] While remaining a reward for "flying in active operations against the enemy", the requirement was changed from "valour, courage or devotion to duty" [3] to "exemplary gallantry". [7]

The DFC had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by the 1990s most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had established their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours. [8]

The DFC now serves as the third-level award for all ranks of the British Armed Forces for exemplary gallantry in active operations against the enemy in the air, not to the standard required to receive the Victoria Cross or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. [2] Apart from honorary awards to those serving with allied forces, all awards of the DFC are announced in the London Gazette . [4]

A bar is added to the ribbon for holders of the DFC who received a further award, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon when worn alone to denote the award of each bar. [9]

Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DFC". [9]

Description

The decoration, designed by Edward Carter Preston, [10] is a cross flory, 2.125 inches (54.0 mm) wide. The horizontal and bottom bars are terminated with bumps, the upper bar with a rose. The decoration's face features aeroplane propellers, superimposed on the vertical arms of the cross, and wings on the horizontal arms. In the centre is a laurel wreath around the RAF monogram, surmounted by a heraldic Imperial Crown. [4]

The reverse is plain, except for a central roundel bearing the reigning monarch's cypher and the date '1918'. Originally awarded unnamed, from 1939 the year of issue was engraved on the reverse lower limb of cross, [4] and since 1984 it has been awarded named to the recipient. [11]

The suspender is straight and decorated with laurel wreaths.

The ribbon bar denoting a further award is silver, with the Royal Air Force eagle in its centre. Bars awarded during World War II have the year of award engraved on the reverse. [4]

The 1.25-inch (32 mm) ribbon was originally white with deep purple broad horizontal stripes, but it was changed in 1919 to the current white with purple broad diagonal stripes. [4]

Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon bars
DFCDFC and BarDFC and Two Bars
1918–1919
UK DFC 1918 BAR.svg
UK DFC 1918 w bar BAR.svg
UK DFC 1918 w 2bars BAR.svg
since 1919
United Kingdom Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg
UK DFC w bar BAR.svg
UK DFC w 2bars BAR.svg

Recipients

Numbers awarded

From 1918 to 2017 approximately 22,322 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 1,737 bars have been awarded. The figures to 1979 are laid out in the table below, [12] the dates reflecting the relevant entries in the London Gazette:

PeriodCrosses1st bar2nd bar
World War I1918–191,045623
Inter–War1919–39165264
World War II1939–4520,3541,55042
Post–War1946–79678425
Total1918–7922,2421,68054

In addition, between 1980 and 2017 approximately 80 DFCs have been earned, including awards for the Falklands and the wars in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. [13] In addition, two second-award, [14] and one third-award bar [15] have been awarded.

The above figures include awards to the Dominions:
In all, 4,460 DFCs have gone to Canadians, including 256 first bars and six second bars. Of these, 193 crosses and nine first bars were for service with the RAF in World War I. For World War II, 4,018 DFCs with 213 first bars and six second bars were earned by members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, with a further 247 crosses and 34 first bars to Canadians serving with the RAF. [16]
From 1918 to 1972 the DFC was awarded to 2,391 Australians, along with 144 first Bars and five second Bars. [17]
Over 1,000 DFCs were awarded to New Zealanders during the World War II, with the most recent awards for service in Vietnam. In 1999 the DFC was replaced by the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration. [18]

A total of 1,022 honorary awards have been made to members of allied foreign forces. This comprises 46 for World War I, 927 with 34 first and three second award bars for World War II, eight with three bars to members of the US Air Force for the Korean War, [12] and one to the US Marine Corps during the Iraq War. [19]

Notable awards

See also

Related Research Articles

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Distinguished Conduct Medal Award

The Distinguished Conduct Medal, post-nominal letters DCM, was established in 1854 by Queen Victoria as a decoration for gallantry in the field by other ranks of the British Army. It is the oldest British award for gallantry and was a second level military decoration, ranking below the Victoria Cross, until its discontinuation in 1993 when it was replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. The medal was also awarded to non-commissioned military personnel of other Commonwealth Dominions and Colonies.

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Air Force Cross (United Kingdom) Award

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Military Medal

The Military Medal (MM) was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other arms of the armed forces, and to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land. The award was established in 1916, with retrospective application to 1914, and was awarded to other ranks for "acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire". The award was discontinued in 1993 when it was replaced by the Military Cross, which was extended to all ranks, while other Commonwealth nations instituted their own award systems in the post war period.

Air Force Medal

The Air Force Medal (AFM) was a military decoration, awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force and other British Armed Forces, and formerly to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy". The award was discontinued in 1993 when all ranks became eligible for the Air Force Cross (AFC) as part of the reform of the British honours system.

Distinguished Flying Medal

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Conspicuous Gallantry Medal British military decoration for courage in action

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Lance C. Wade British World War II flying ace

Wing Commander Lance Cleo "Wildcat" Wade DSO, DFC & Two Bars was an American pilot who joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War and became a flying ace. He remained with RAF until his death in a flying accident in 1944 in Italy. He was described as a "distinguished American fighter ace who epitomized perhaps more than any other American airman the wartime accords between Britain and the United States".

Air Marshal Sir Thomas Melling Williams, was an ace pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, scoring nine aerial victories, and a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and the following years.

Queens Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air

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Flight Lieutenant Michelle Jayne Goodman DFC is a retired Royal Air Force officer. She was the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), for her actions while serving in Iraq, and the first female officer to be awarded any British combat gallantry medal.

Peter Malam Brothers

Air Commodore Peter Malam "Pete" Brothers, was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot and flying ace of the Second World War. Brothers was credited with 16 aerial victories, 10 of which he achieved during the Battle of Britain.

Wing Commander John Robert Baldwin, was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot and the top scoring fighter ace flying the Hawker Typhoon exclusively during the Second World War. He was posted missing, presumed killed, during secondment service with the United States Air Force in the Korean War.

Dudley Lloyd-Evans, was a Welsh-born soldier, airman and flying ace. After being decorated for his infantry service during the First World War, he transferred to aviation, was credited with eight official aerial victories, and again won military honours for his valour. He remained in the Royal Air Force until the end of the Second World War.

Air Vice Marshal Edward Dixon Crew, was a Royal Air Force officer and a nightfighter ace of the Second World War. He shot down 15 enemy aircraft and was one of the top-scoring aces against the V-1 flying bomb.

Sir Alan Smith, CBE, DFC*, DL, was a British World War II Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire fighter ace and businessman.

Air Commodore Roy Gilbert Dutton, was a Royal Air Force officer and decorated flying ace. He flew Hurricanes during the Second World War and was credited with 19 confirmed aerial victories.

References

  1. "Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility". Ministry of Defence. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "JSP 761: Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. December 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 "No. 31674". The London Gazette . 5 December 1919. p. 15049.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards. pp. 91–95. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981. ISBN   0-902633-74-0
  5. P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards. p. xx. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981. ISBN   0-902633-74-0
  6. Peter Duckers. British Gallantry Awards 1855 – 2000. pp. 29–30. Shire Publications, Oxford, 2010. ISBN   978-0-7478-0516-8.
  7. "No. 56693". The London Gazette . 17 September 2002. p. 11147.
  8. John Mussell (ed). Medal Yearbook 2015. pp. 390, 429, 459. Token Publishing, Honiton, Devon. ISBN   978-1-908-828-16-3
  9. 1 2 Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. p. 41. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  10. Crompton, Ann, ed. (1999). Edward Carter Preston, 1885–1965: Sculptor, Painter, Medallist. University of Liverpool Art Gallery. ISBN   0853237921.
  11. John Mussell (ed). Medal Yearbook 2015. pp. 87. Token Publishing, Honiton, Devon. ISBN   978-1-908-828-16-3
  12. 1 2 3 P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards. pp. 95–98. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981. ISBN   0-902633-74-0
  13. Post 1979 DFCs include 9 for the Falklands (London Gazette Supplement, 8 October 1982); 5 for Sierra Leone (London Gazette Supplement, 30 September 2003); 14 for Gulf War (London Gazette Supplement, 29 June 1991 Late award: 21 November 1994) & 1 honorary award; 16 & 2 bars for Iraq and 29 & 1 second award bar for Afghanistan, plus awards for smaller conflicts.
  14. "No. 58092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 September 2006. p. 12274.
  15. "No. 58776". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 July 2008. p. 11242.
  16. Veterans Affairs Canada – Distinguished Flying Cross (Retrieved 25 November 2018)
  17. "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  18. New Zealand Defence Force: British Commonwealth Gallantry Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross (Retrieved 25 November 2018)
  19. 1 2 "Historic award for female private". The Guardian . Guardian Media Group. 22 March 2007. p. 8. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  20. "Recommendation: Distinguished Flying Cross". Australian War Memorial . Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  21. "No. 58633". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 2008. p. 3616.
  22. "First female pilot awarded cross". BBC News. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  23. "BBC News | UK | Queen honours brave pilots". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2019.