Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)

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Distinguished Flying Cross

Obverse of the decoration. Ribbon: 30mm, diagonal alternate stripes of white and deep purple.
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
Established3 June 1918
Total awardedGeorge V: 11,227
George VI: 21,657
Total: 32,884[2]
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Military Cross[3]
Next (lower)Air Force Cross[3]
RelatedDistinguished Flying Medal

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is the third-level military medal given to members of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services. It was also given to members of other Commonwealth countries. The medal was awarded for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".[4]

History[change | change source]

The award was established on 3 June 1918, shortly after the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was originally awarded to RAF officers. During the Second World War, it was also awarded to Royal Artillery officers serving with the RAF as pilots and artillery observers. In 1993 the medal replaced the Distinguished Flying Medal, which had until then been awarded to other ranks. People awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross are allowed to use the post-nominal letters "DFC". A bar is added to the ribbon for holders of the DFC who received a second award.

During the First World War, about 1,100 DFCs were awarded, with 70 first bars and 3 second bars. During the Second World War, 20,354 DFCs were awarded, the most of any award, with about 1,550 first bars and 45 second bars.[5]

Honorary awards were made on 964 occasions to people from other non-Commonwealth countries.

Description[change | change source]

The decoration is a cross flory and is 2⅛ inches wide. The horizontal and bottom bars have bumps at the end, while the upper bar has a rose. The front of the medal has aeroplane propellers, placed on the vertical arms of the cross, and wings on the horizontal arms. In the centre is a laurel wreath around the RAF monogram, with a heraldic Imperial Crown on the top.

The back of the medal has the Royal Cypher in the centre and the year of issue engraved on the lower arm. The decoration is issued named.

The ribbon was originally white with purple broad horizontal stripes. This was changed in 1919 to the current white with purple broad diagonal stripes.

The decoration was designed by Edward Carter Preston.[6]

Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon bars
DFC DFC and Bar DFC and Two Bars
since 1919

Notable award winners[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility". Ministry of Defence. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  2. Mussell, John W. (1 September 2012). Medal Yearbook 2013. Honiton: Token Books. p. 86. ISBN 978-1908828002. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "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.
  4. "No. 31674". The London Gazette. 5 December 1919. p. 15049
  5. Carter, Nick; Carter, Carol (1998). The Distinguished Flying Cross and How It Was Won. London: Savannah Publications. ISBN 190236600X.
  6. Crompton, Ann, ed. (1999). Edward Carter Preston, 1885–1965: Sculptor, Painter, Medallist. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Art Gallery. ISBN 0853237921.
  7. "Recommendation: Distinguished Flying Cross". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 16 June 2016.[permanent dead link]
  8. 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.
  9. "No. 58633". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 2008. p. 3616.

Other websites[change | change source]