Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)

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Distinguished Flying Cross
DistinguishedFlyingCrossUKObv.jpg
Obverse of the decoration.
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth
TypeMilitary decoration
EligibilityBritish, Commonwealth, and allied forces
Awarded for... exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy in the air. [1]
StatusCurrently awarded
Statistics
Established3 June 1918
Total awardedTo 2017: 22,322 crosses; 1,737 bars
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Military Cross [2]
Next (lower) Air Force Cross [2]
Related Distinguished Flying Medal
DistinguishedFlyingCrossUKRibbon.jpg
Ribbon: diagonal alternate white and purple stripes
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]

Royal Air Force Aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

British Armed Forces combined military forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The British Armed Forces, also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military services responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its overseas territories and the Crown dependencies. They also promote Britain's wider interests, support international peacekeeping efforts and provide humanitarian aid.

Commonwealth of Nations Intergovernmental organisation

The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.

Contents

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]

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

Warrant officer Military rank

A warrant officer (WO) is an officer in a military organisation who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, and a non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer, often by virtue of seniority.

Fleet Air Arm aviation branch of the British Royal Navy

The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. and is responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm recently started operating the F-35 Lightning II in a Maritime Strike Role, the AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin in both Commando and Anti-Submarine roles, and the BAE Hawk. Helicopters such as the Lynx and Westland Wasp were previously deployed on smaller vessels since 1964, taking over the roles once performed by biplanes such as the Fairey Swordfish.

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]

Distinguished Flying Medal

The Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) 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 "exceptional valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy". The award was discontinued in 1993 when all ranks became eligible for the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) as part of the reform of the British honours system.

Other ranks (ORs) in the Royal Marines, British Army, Royal Air Force and in the armies and air forces of many other Commonwealth countries are those personnel who are not commissioned officers, usually including non-commissioned officers (NCOs). Colloquially, members of the other ranks are known as "rankers".

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 orders, decorations, and medals of Canada comprise a complex system by which Canadians are honoured by the country's sovereign for actions or deeds that benefit their community or the country at large. Modelled on its British predecessor, the structure originated in the 1930s, but began to come to full fruition at the time of Canada's centennial in 1967, with the establishment of the Order of Canada, and has since grown in both size and scope to include dynastic and national orders, state, civil, and military decorations; and various campaign medals. The monarch in right of each Canadian province also issues distinct orders and medals to honour residents for work performed in just their province. The provincial honours, as with some of their national counterparts, grant the use of post-nominal letters and or supporters and other devices to be used on personal coats of arms.

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]

Victoria Cross Highest military decoration awarded for valour in armed forces of various Commonwealth countries

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been personally presented by the British monarch. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.

Conspicuous Gallantry Cross

The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) is a second level military decoration of the British Armed Forces. Created in 1993 and first awarded in 1995, it was instituted after a review of the British honours system to remove distinctions of rank in the awarding of gallantry decorations. The Victoria Cross is the only higher combat gallantry award presented by the United Kingdom.

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]

Medal bar

A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It most commonly indicates the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the recipient has met the criteria for receiving the medal in multiple theatres.

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

Distinguished Service Order UK military decoration

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Distinguished Conduct Medal United Kingdom military decoration for bravery

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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Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

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Air Force Cross (United Kingdom) British military decoration

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Military Medal military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services

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.

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal courage award

The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) was, until 1993, a British military decoration for gallantry in action for petty officers and seaman of the Royal Navy, including Warrant Officers and other ranks of the Royal Marines. It was formerly awarded to personnel of other Commonwealth countries. In 1943 a Royal Air Force version was created for conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy in the air.

Royal Red Cross order

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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.

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Peter Malam Brothers British flying ace

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.

Air Commodore John Marlow Thompson, was a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer and a flying ace of the Second World War.

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.

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.

Air Commodore Philip Jeremy Robinson, is a British pilot and decorated Royal Air Force officer. From October 2015 to October 2017, he was the Commanding Officer of RAF Odiham. Having flown Chinooks, he has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) three times for service during the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. As of April 2019, he is the Assistant Chief of Staff at the Permanent Joint Headquarters.

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 . 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. Harris, Paul (8 March 2008). "The brown-eyed, blonde RAF hero who is proud to wear her uniform". The Daily Mail . Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  22. "No. 58633". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 2008. p. 3616.
  23. "BBC News | UK | Queen honours brave pilots". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2019.