|Awarded for||... gallantry during active operations against the enemy.|
|Description||Obverse: Straight armed silver cross, Royal Cypher in centre|
|Presented by||United Kingdom and Commonwealth|
|Eligibility||British, (and formerly) Commonwealth and allied forces|
|Established||28 December 1914|
|First awarded||1 January 1915 to 98 officers and warrant officers.|
|Total||Including further awards: |
George V: c. 43,500
George VI: over 11,500
Elizabeth II: c. 750
|Total recipients||Over 52,000|
Military Cross ribbon:
without bar, and with one and two bars
|Order of Wear|
|Next (higher)||Conspicuous Gallantry Cross|
|Next (lower)||Distinguished Flying Cross|
The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level (second-level pre-1993) military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
The MC is granted in recognition of "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land" to all members of the British Armed Forces of any rank.In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could be recommended posthumously.
The award was created on 28 December 1914 for commissioned officers of the substantive rank of captain or below and for warrant officers. The first 98 awards were gazetted on 1 January 1915, to 71 officers, and 27 warrant officers. Although posthumous recommendations for the Military Cross were unavailable until 1979, the first awards included seven posthumous awards, with the word 'deceased' after the name of the recipient, from recommendations that had been raised before the recipients died of wounds or lost their lives from other causes.
Awards are announced in The London Gazette, apart from most honorary awards to allied forces in keeping with the usual practice not to gazette awards to foreigners.
From August 1916, recipients of the Cross were entitled to use the post-nominal letters MC,and bars could be awarded for further acts of gallantry meriting the award, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon when worn alone to denote the award of each bar.
From September 1916, members of the Royal Naval Division, who served alongside the Army on the Western Front, were made eligible for military decorations, including the Military Cross, for the war's duration.Naval officers serving with the division received 140 MCs and eight second award bars.
In June 1917, eligibility was extended to temporary majors, not above the substantive rank of captain.Substantive majors were made eligible in 1953.
In 1931, the award was extended to equivalent ranks in the Royal Air Force for actions on the ground.
After the Second World War, most Commonwealth countries created their own honours system and no longer recommended British awards. The last Military Cross awards for the Canadian Army were for Korea. The last four Australian Army Military Cross awards were promulgated in The London Gazette on 1 September 1972 for Vietnam as was the last New Zealand Army Military Cross award, which was promulgated on 25 September 1970. Canada, Australia and New Zealand have now created their own gallantry awards under their own honours systems.
Since the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the Military Medal, formerly the third-level decoration for other ranks, has been discontinued. The MC now serves as the third-level award for all ranks of the British Armed Forces for gallantry on land, not to the standard required to receive the Victoria Cross or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
The Military Cross was designed by Henry Farnham Burke,while its ribbon was created by Victoria Ponsonby, Baroness Sysonby.
In the Medal Yearbook 2015 it is described as follows:
Since 1914, over 52,000 Military Crosses and 3,717 bars have been awarded.The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries:
|Period||Medals||1st bar||2nd bar||3rd bar||Honorary|
|World War I||1914–20||37,104||2,984||169||4||2,909||–|
|World War II||1939–46||10,386||482||24||–||438||3|
In addition, approximately 375 MCs have been awarded since 1979, including awards for Northern Ireland, the Falklands, and the wars in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The above table includes awards to the Dominions:
In all, 3,727 Military Crosses have been awarded to those serving with Canadian forces, including 324 first bars and 18 second bars.
A total of 2,930 were awarded to Australians, in addition to 188 first bars and four second bars. Of these, 2,403 MCs, 170 first Bars and four second Bars were for World War I.
Over 500 MCs were awarded to New Zealanders during World War I and over 250 in World War II. The most recent awards were for service in Vietnam.
The honorary MC awards were made to servicemen from fifteen Allied countries in World War I, and nine in World War II.
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 highest award bestowed by the British government for non-operational gallantry or gallantry not in the presence of an enemy. In the UK honours system, the George Cross is equal in stature to the Victoria Cross, the highest military gallantry award. This has been the case since the introduction of the award in 1940. 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 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 it has been awarded specifically for 'highly successful command and leadership during active operations', with all ranks being eligible.
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 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 the British Merchant Navy have been included. Additionally, the award was formerly awarded to members of other Commonwealth countries.
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 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.
To be mentioned in dispatches describes a member of the armed forces whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which their 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 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 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 seamen 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 British Empire Medal (BEM) is a British and Commonwealth award for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown. The current honour was created in 1922 to replace the original medal, which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.
The Royal Red Cross (RRC) 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 Fire Service Medal, introduced in 1954, is awarded to members of the fire services in the United Kingdom for distinguished service or gallantry. It was also formerly awarded by Commonwealth countries, most of which now have their own honours systems.
The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) is a British medal awarded to sergeants and warrant officers of the British armed forces for long and meritorious service. From 1916 to 1928, eligibility was extended to cover both valuable services by selected other ranks irrespective of length of service, and for gallantry not in the face of the enemy.
The Burma Gallantry Medal (BGM) was a military decoration awarded for acts of gallantry, in both war and peace, by Governor's commissioned officers, non-commissioned Officers and other ranks of the British Burmese military. These included its Army, Frontier Force, Military Police, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and Auxiliary Air Force. Clasps, attached to the ribbon, could be awarded to mark further awards of the medal.