British Imperial Military Awards

     included are the United States equivalent



The British Commonwealth Honours and Awards has developed over many centuries and unlike the USA system there was the division between OFFICERS (THE KNIGHTS) and OTHER RANKS (THE SOLDIERS). This division will be demonstrated below when Officers' received a Cross while Soldiers' received Medals for the same gallantry. This system  has been the core of the recognition for gallantry and service used in all the colonies and nations that were part of the British Empire.

Australia had the British Commonwealth Honours and Awards system since federation, 1901, and ceased in 1991. It has  encompassed all of  the wars and armed conflicts Australia has been involved with. These are; WW I, WW II, Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Viet Nam. 

In early 2002 after the thirty years embargo was lifted on government papers it was revealed the a British Army Lieutenant Colonel questioned the integrity and merit to a recommendation for the award of the Victoria Cross to Kevin "Dasher" WHEATLY,  who was a member of The Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV).

During the early 1990s Australian developed and gazetted its own Military and Civil Honours and Awards and disclosed in these pages. Successive Australian governments never pull the scab off the sore and exposed the souring relations between Australia and Britain over the Vietnam War. The British were not involved but Australia and New Zealand were and the Commonwealth military award system was used. It is now understood by the owner and developer of this site why it was most important that Australia develop its own system of recognition for bravery and service.







Bravery Award




















Mention in Dispatches this image illustrates the MID was awarded during Viet Nam service.  This is award is always attached to ribbon applicable to when the award was made. 





Information about the award


Ever since its institution the Cross has been supplied by the well-known London jewelers, Messrs. Hancocks and Co., now of Burlington Gardens London. The Cross and suspender are first cast in gunmetal and then chased and finished by hand; from 1914 to 1950 a die-cast suspender was used. The metal is taken from guns captured from the Russians in the Crimean War although during and after the First World War it is fairly certain that metal from captured Chinese guns was used for a short period. The components of the decoration are then treated chemically to obtain the uniform dark brown finish which is darker on some issues than on others.  




The DSO was instituted in 1886 in order to fill a gap that had long existed in rewarding officers below the rank of major for distinguishing themselves on active service; previously, the CB was the only possible award, and was very rarely issued to junior officers. The DSO was to be awarded to both the Army and the Navy. The first issue of the DSO was in gold, and these were awarded between 1886 and 1890. After 1890 the award was issued in silver-gilt .The reverse has carried four variations of the crown in the center and there are six types of reverse - VR, EVIIR, GVR, GVIR first and second types, and EIIR. The DSO has always been issued unnamed, although from about 1940 the year of award has been engraved on the reverse of the lower suspension bar There are generally no citations in the London Gazette for DSOs before 1914, though reference to dispatches and regimental histories may give a better picture of precisely why the award was made. In the First World War, many DSOs carry a specific citation, but there are periodic lists of recipients without citations.


Instituted in June 1901 as a reward for Warrant and Subordinate officers of the Royal Navy, as these ranks were not eligible to receive the DSO. Originally called the Conspicuous Service Cross. In October 1914 there were two major changes to the CSC; firstly it was renamed the Distinguished Service Cross, and secondly the rules on eligibility were changed so that officers below the rank of Lieutenant Commander could receive it. In 1931 the Merchant Navy was made eligible for the DSC in certain circumstances. There are five types of obverse; EVIIR {on the CSC), GVR, GVIR first and second types and EIIR. The reverse of the DSC is common to all issues, but from 1940 onwards the year of award was engraved on the lower limb. All recipients are listed in the London Gazette


Instituted in 1854 to for "distinguished, gallant and good conduct" by troops in the Crimea. At first intended to be issued on a quota basis for each regiment, due to the fixed amount of money available for the accompanying annuity. There are eight issues, all having a common reverse: VR, EV I I R, GV R, GV R crowned head, GVIR first and second types, EIIR first and second types. All issued DCMs are named, and there are a variety of types of naming; however, virtually all awards since 1914 are impressed. Two types of second award bars have been issued; the first type has the date of the second award on it, with the second type being plain. The early dated bars are rare. There are generally no citations in the London Gazette for DCMs before 1914. After 1914, most DCMs appear in the London Gazette with a citation, although there are periodic lists of recipients, which do not include citations.


Instituted in 1855 as a reward for gallantry for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and intended to be a counterpart to the DCM for the Army. The first issue was made to ten recipients for gallantry in the Baltic and Crimea. These medals had the date '1848' on the obverse under the Queen's bust. The naming was in engraved serif capitals. the medal was issued with the following obverses; Victoria (without date), EVIIR, GVR, and GVIR. From 1901, nearly all CGMs have citations.



              MILITARY CROSS                          

Instituted in December 1914 as a reward for gallantry for officers of the rank of Captain or below, and for warrant officers. The reverse of the MC is common to all issues, and is usually plain. From 1940 onwards the date of award was engraved on the lower limb of the reverse. There are four different obverse issues; GVR, GVIR first and second types, and EIIR. The MC was always issued unnamed, although some recipients had the reverse engraved privately. A bar was awarded for each further award of the Cross. All awards of the MC are listed in the London Gazette



 The DFC was instituted in 1918 as an award to officers and warrant officers who displayed courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations. The design of the obverse is common to all issues whilst the reverse center has one of four ciphers; GVR, GVIR first type GRI, second type GVIR), and EIIR.



             MILITARY MEDAL                        

Instituted in March 1916 as an award for NCOs and men of the Army for acts of bravery and Later extended to women who showed bravery under fire. A bar is awarded for each further act of bravery. There are six obverse types: GVR, GVR crowned head, GVIR first and second types, and EIIR first and second types. In addition, there are four different reverses in that each monarch had the relevant cipher in the reverse field. All MMs issued to British personnel are named, usually in impressed capitals. All issued MMs have a notification in the London Gazette.






The Mention in Dispatches (MID), an Oak Leaf emblem attached to the campaign ribbon, is awarded for valour and or service. Only the Victoria Cross and MID are awarded posthumously. Many were killed in action whilst doing gallant deeds and awarded the MID and not the VC.






The USA Equivalent




Medal Of Honor













 USA Distinguished Service Cross covers the following awards


















is the equivalent to the following








USA BRONZE STAR like the MID is the last in the list of the bravery awards and includes a "V" on the ribbon for Valor