|Distinguished Service Cross|
| Obverse of the Cross|
Ribbon bar for further award
|Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Eligibility||British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces|
|Awarded for||Gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea|
|Description||Plain silver cross with rounded ends, 43mm max height and width|
|Established||15 June 1901 (as Conspicuous Service Cross), renamed October 1914|
|Total awarded||At least 6,658 Crosses and 603 bars|
|Order of Wear|
|Next (higher)||Royal Red Cross, First Class|
|Next (lower)||Military Cross|
|Related||Distinguished Service Medal|
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.
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.
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.
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.
The DSC is "awarded in recognition of an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea."Since 1979 it can be awarded posthumously.
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.
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.
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.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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal "DSC".
The DSC is a plain silver cross with rounded ends with a width of 43 millimetres (1.7 in) and with the following design:
Since 1901 at least 6,658 Crosses and 603 bars have been awarded. The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries:
|Period||Crosses||1st bar||2nd bar||3rd bar|
|World War I||1914–1920||1,983||91||10||–|
|World War II||1939–1946||4,524||434||44||1|
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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".
The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded "for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger", not in the presence of the enemy, to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians. Posthumous awards have been allowed since it was instituted. It was previously awarded to residents of Commonwealth countries, most of which have since 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 including police, emergency services and merchant seamen. Many of the awards have been personally presented by the British monarch to recipients or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.
The George Medal (GM), instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI, is a decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, awarded for gallantry "not in the face of the enemy" where the services were not so outstanding as to merit the George Cross.
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.
The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) was a military decoration awarded until 1993 to personnel of the Royal Navy and members of the other services, and formerly to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, up to and including the rank of Chief Petty Officer, for bravery and resourcefulness on active service at sea.
The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
The Air Force Cross (AFC) is a military decoration awarded to officers, and since 1993 other ranks, of the United Kingdom Armed Forces, and formerly also to officers of the other Commonwealth countries. It is granted for "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry while flying, though not in active operations against the enemy". A bar is added to the ribbon for holders who are awarded a further AFC.
A member of the armed forces mentioned in dispatches is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which his or her gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Royal Red Cross is a military decoration awarded in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth for exceptional services in military nursing.
The Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM) is a United Kingdom decoration awarded for exemplary acts of bravery by civilians, and by members of the Armed Forces "not in the face of the enemy", where the services were not so outstanding as to merit the George Cross or the George Medal, but above the level required for the Queen's Commendation for Bravery.
The Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct, formerly the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct, acknowledged brave acts by both civilians and members of the armed services in both war and peace, for gallantry not in the presence of an enemy. Established by King George VI in 1939, the award was discontinued in 1994 on the institution of the Queen's Commendation for Bravery.
Captain Thomas Frederick Le Mesurier DSC & Two Bars was a British flying ace of the First World War credited with seven aerial victories. Le Mesurier was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and Two Bars for his conspicuous service in bombing operations.
Vice Admiral Sir Patrick Uniacke Bayly & Two Bars was a Royal Navy officer who became President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
Commander Norman Eyre Morley, was a British Naval Reserve officer who served in both World Wars, becoming the most decorated reserve officer in the Royal Navy, and the only person to have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross four times.