Distinguished Service Cross (United Kingdom)

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Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross, Obverse, 1937-47.jpg
Obverse of the Cross
Distinguished Service Cross, second award bar.png
Ribbon bar for further award
Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
TypeMilitary decoration
EligibilityBritish, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces
Awarded forGallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea
StatusCurrently awarded
DescriptionPlain silver cross with rounded ends, 43mm max height and width
Statistics
Established15 June 1901 (as Conspicuous Service Cross), renamed October 1914
Total awardedAt least 6,658 Crosses and 603 bars
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Royal Red Cross, First Class [1]
Next (lower) Military Cross [1]
Related Distinguished Service Medal
UK Distinguished Service Cross BAR.svg

UK DSC w bar BAR.svg

UK DSC w 2bars BAR.svg
Distinguished Service Cross ribbon:
without bar, and with one and two bars

The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is a third level military decoration awarded to officers, and since 1993 ratings and other ranks, of the British Armed Forces, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and British Merchant Navy, and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Naval rating enlisted member of a countrys navy

In a navy, a rate, rating or bluejacket is a junior enlisted member of that navy who is not a warrant officer or commissioned officer. Depending on the country and navy that uses it, the exact term and the range of ranks that it refers to may vary.

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.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary civilian-manned fleet owned by the United Kingdoms Ministry of Defence

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is a naval auxiliary fleet owned by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence and is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. Its purpose is to support the Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment at sea (RAS). It also transports Army and Royal Marine personnel, as well as supporting training exercises, and engaging in anti-piracy, anti-drug smuggling, and humanitarian operations.

Contents

The DSC is "awarded in recognition of an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea." [2] [3] Since 1979 it can be awarded posthumously. [2]

History

The award was originally created in 1901 as the Conspicuous Service Cross, for award to warrant and subordinate officers, including midshipmen, ineligible for the Distinguished Service Order. It was renamed the Distinguished Service Cross in October 1914, eligibility being extended to all naval officers (commissioned and warrant) below the rank of lieutenant commander. [4]

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.

A midshipman is an officer of the junior-most rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Canada, Australia, Bangladesh, Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.

Distinguished Service Order UK military decoration

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.

From March 1915 foreign officers of equivalent rank in allied navies could receive honorary awards, and in August 1916 bars were introduced to reward further acts of gallantry meriting the Cross, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon when worn alone to denote the award of each bar. [4] During World War I officers of the Merchant and Fishing Fleets had been awarded the DSC and their eligibility was legally clarified by an order in council in 1931. [5]

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.

World War II saw a number of changes. In December 1939 eligibility was extended to Naval Officers of the rank of Commander and Lieutenant-Commander. [5] In April 1940 equivalent ranks in the Royal Air Force serving with the Fleet could receive the DSC, and from November 1942 so could those in the Army aboard defensively equipped merchant ships. [4]

Commander is a common naval and air force officer rank. Commander is also used as a rank or title in other formal organisations, including several police forces.

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 Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Since the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the Distinguished Service Medal, formerly the third level decoration for ratings, has been discontinued. The DSC now serves as the third level award for gallantry at sea for all ranks, not to the standard required to receive the Victoria Cross or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. [6]

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 gallantry "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.

The DSC had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by 1990's most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were establishing their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours. [7]

Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal "DSC". [5]

Description

The DSC is a plain silver cross with rounded ends with a width of 43 millimetres (1.7 in) and with the following design: [8]

Recipients

Numbers awarded

Since 1901 at least 6,658 Crosses and 603 bars have been awarded. The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries: [10]

PeriodCrosses1st bar2nd bar3rd bar
Pre 19141901–19138
World War I1914–19201,983 [11] 9110
Inter–War1921–19387
World War II1939–19464,524434441
Post–War1947–2016136 [12] 185
Total1901–20166,658543591

A number of honorary awards were made to members of allied foreign forces, including 151 for World War I and 228, with 12 first bars and 2 second bars, for World War II. Eight honorary awards were made in 1955 to members of the US Navy for service in Korea. [10]

The above table includes awards to the Dominions:
In all, 199 DSCs have gone to those serving with Canadian forces, with 34 first bars and five second bars. [13] It was replaced in 1993 by the Medal of Military Valour.
182 were awarded to Australians, in addition to 13 first bars and three second bars. Last awarded to an Australian in 1972, it was replaced in 1991 by the Medal for Gallantry. [14]

Four-time recipient

Only one person has ever been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross four times. Norman Eyre Morley served in the Royal Naval Reserve during World War I and World War II. He was awarded the DSC for the first time in 1919. He was awarded his second DSC in 1944. He was awarded the DSC a further two times in 1945. He gained an entry into the Guinness Book of Records as the most decorated reserve naval officer. [15] [16]

List of three time recipients

Collective Award

In 1919 the Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to the City of Dunkirk for the gallant behaviour of its citizens during World War I, and the Cross appears in the coat of arms of the city. [18] [19]

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 "No. 56693". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 October 2002. p. 11145.
  3. Defence FactSheet Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 28 June 2007.
  4. 1 2 3 Abbott & Tamplin, pages 107-109.
  5. 1 2 3 Dorling, page 40.
  6. "Distinguished Service Cross". Ministry of Defence . Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  7. Mussell, pages 390, 429, 459.
  8. 1 2 Mussell, page 86.
  9. 1 2 Duckers, pages 24-25.
  10. 1 2 Abbott & Tamplin, pages 110-111.
  11. Abbott & Tamplin, page 110 gives varying figures from several sources, this being the highest figure.
  12. Abbott & Tamplin, page 111 confirms 95 DSCs for 1947-79. A further 41 awarded 1980-2016: 30 for South Atlantic (London Gazette Supplements, 3 June 1982 & 8 October 1982); 7 for Gulf War (London Gazette Supplement, 29 June 1991); 1 for Iraq War (London Gazette Supplement 31 October 2003); and 3 for smaller conflicts:(London Gazette Supplements 6 April 2001, 23 March 2012 & 18 March 2016).
  13. Veterans Affairs Canada – Distinguished Service Cross (Retrieved 7 November 2018)
  14. "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  15. "No. 37127". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 1945. p. 3088.
  16. "An important collection of Royal Navy items relating to Commander Norman Morley DSC". Bonhams. 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  17. "No. 39854". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 May 1953. p. 2765.
  18. "Traces of War". TracesOfWar. Retrieved 2 Aug 2018.
  19. "La Grande Guerre (fr)". Dunkerque & vous. Retrieved 11 November 2018.

Bibliography

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