Distinguished Service Order

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Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order badge (United Kingdom) - Tallinn Museum of Orders.jpg Distinguished Service Order, King George V reverse.jpg
Obverse and reverse, reign of George V
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth
Type Order with one degree
Established6 September 1886
EligibilityMembers of the armed forces
Awarded for"Distinguished services during active operations against the enemy." [1]
StatusCurrently awarded
Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II
GradesCompanion
Statistics
Total inductees
Precedence
Next (higher) Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [4]
Next (lower) Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
Dso-ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar of the order
Ribbon bar for 2nd award Distinguished Service Order, ribbon bar.png
Ribbon bar for 2nd award
Major Marie-Edmond Paul Garneau, of the Royal 22 Regiment, with the DSO he received for "gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe" after his investiture at Buckingham Palace in October 1942 DSO1.jpg
Major Marie-Edmond Paul Garneau, of the Royal 22 Régiment, with the DSO he received for "gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe" after his investiture at Buckingham Palace in October 1942

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.

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

Instituted on 6 September 1886 by Queen Victoria in a Royal Warrant published in The London Gazette on 9 November, [6] the first DSOs awarded were dated 25 November 1886. [7]

Queen Victoria British monarch who reigned 1837–1901

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

A warrant is generally an order that serves as a specific type of authorization, that is, a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is performed.

<i>The London Gazette</i> journal of record of the British government

The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, and the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published. The London Gazette claims to be the oldest surviving English newspaper and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the UK, having been first published on 7 November 1665 as The Oxford Gazette. This claim is also made by the Stamford Mercury (1712) and Berrow's Worcester Journal (1690), because The Gazette is not a conventional newspaper offering general news coverage. It does not have a large circulation.

The order was established to reward individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war. It was a military order, until recently for officers only, and typically awarded to officers ranked major (or equivalent) or higher, with awards to ranks below this usually for a high degree of gallantry, just short of deserving the Victoria Cross. [8] While normally given for service under fire or under conditions equivalent to service in actual combat with the enemy, a number of awards made between 1914 and 1916 were under circumstances not under fire, often to staff officers, causing resentment among front-line officers. After 1 January 1917, commanders in the field were instructed to recommend this award only for those serving under fire. [9]

Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world.

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.

From 1916, ribbon bars could be authorised for subsequent awards of the DSO, worn on the ribbon of the original award. [9] In 1942, the award was extended to officers of the Merchant Navy who had performed acts of gallantry while under enemy attack. [10] A requirement that the order could be given only to someone mentioned in despatches was removed in 1943. [9]

Modern era

Since 1993, reflecting the review of the British honours system which recommended removing distinctions of rank in respect of operational awards, the DSO has been open to all ranks, with the award criteria redefined as 'highly successful command and leadership during active operations'. [11] At the same time, the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross was introduced as the second highest award for gallantry. [12] Despite some very fierce campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the DSO has yet to be awarded to a non-commissioned rank.

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 DSO had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by the 1990s most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were establishing their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours. [13]

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.

Nomenclature

Recipients of the order are officially known as Companions of the Distinguished Service Order, and are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DSO". All awards are announced in the London Gazette. [14]

Description

Recipients

Numbers awarded

From 1918 to 2017 the insignia of the Distinguished Service Order has been awarded approximately 16,935 times, in addition to 1,910 bars. The figures to 1979 are laid out in the table below, [16] the dates reflecting the relevant entries in the London Gazette:

PeriodCrosses1st bar2nd bar3rd bar
Pre World War I1886–19131,732
World War I1914–19199,881768767
Inter–War1919–193914816
World War II1939–19464,880947598
Post–War1947–19792042051
Total1886–197916,8451,75114016

In addition, between 1980 and 2017 approximately 90 DSOs have been earned, including awards for the Falklands and the wars in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to three second-award bars. [17]

The above figures include awards to the Commonwealth:
In all, 1,220 DSOs have gone to Canadians, plus 119 first bars and 20 second bars. [8]
From 1901 to 1972, when the last Australian to receive the DSO was announced, 1,018 awards were made to Australians, plus 70 first bars and one second bar. [18]
The DSO was awarded to over 300 New Zealanders during the two World Wars. [10]

Honorary awards to members of allied foreign forces include at least 1,329 for World War I, [16] with further awards for World War II.

Notable recipients

The following received the DSO and three bars (i.e., were awarded the DSO four times):

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. Defence Internet|Fact Sheets|Guide to Honours Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards, 1981. pp. 124-125. Confirms 1,732 prior to World War I: 1,646 to 1902, 78 to 1910 and 8 to 1914.
  3. 1 2 Medal Yearbook 2015. Honiton, Devon: Token Publishing. 2015. p. 83. ISBN   978-1-908-828-16-3.
  4. "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3351.
  5. "No. 35729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 October 1942. p. 4328.
  6. "No. 25641". The London Gazette . 9 November 1886. pp. 5385–5386.
  7. "No. 25650". The London Gazette . 9 November 1886. pp. 5975–5976.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Veterans Affairs Canada – Distinguished Service Order (Retrieved 8 December 2018)
  9. 1 2 3 P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards. pp. 119-121. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981. ISBN   0-902633-74-0
  10. 1 2 "British Commonwealth Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards – Companion of the Distinguished Service Order". New Zealand defence force. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  11. "Distinguished Service Order". Ministry of Defence . Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  12. 1 2 Peter Duckers. British Gallantry Awards 1855 – 2000. pp. 18-23. Shire Publications, Oxford, 2010. ISBN   978-0-7478-0516-8.
  13. Medal Yearbook 2015. Honiton, Devon: Token Publishing. 2015. p. 90, 429, 459. ISBN   978-1-908-828-16-3.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards. pp. 122-124. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981. ISBN   0-902633-74-0
  15. "The British (Imperial) Distinguished Service Order". Vietnam veterans association of Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  16. 1 2 P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards. pp. 124-129. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981. ISBN   0-902633-74-0
  17. Post 1979 DSOs include 19 for the Falklands (London Gazette Supplement, 8 October 1982); 1 for Sierra Leone (London Gazette Supplement, 30 September 2003); 8 for Gulf War (London Gazette Supplement, 29 June 1991 Late award: 21 November 1994); 18 bars for Iraq and 43+3 second award bar for Afghanistan, plus awards for smaller conflicts.
  18. "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government . Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  19. 1 2 3 "No. 31583". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 October 1919. p. 12213.
  20. "No. 31183". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 February 1919. p. 2363.
  21. "No. 36081". The London Gazette . 2 July 1943. p. 3056.
  22. "No. 36771". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 October 1944. p. 4977.
  23. Bourne, John. "Edward Allan Wood". Centre for First World War Studies. Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham. Retrieved 6 December 2018.