This article is organised as follows:

PART FOUR: LEVEL TWO AWARDS

4.0     Introduction

This part of the article outlines the Level Two awards available to Service personnel for acts of bravery.

Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC)

Royal Red Cross Class 1 (RRC)

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

Military Cross (MC)

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

Air Force Cross (AFC)

Royal Red Cross Class 2 (ARRC)

George Medal (GM)

Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM)

Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM)

4.1     Distinguished Service Order

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) was instituted on 06 September 1886 and is awarded “for distinguished services during active operations against the enemy”.

The DSO is an operational gallantry award given for highly successful command and leadership during active operations, and is available to all ranks of the Services. Personnel who perform a further act of such leadership which would have merited a second award of the DSO would be issued with a gold bar. It may be awarded to all ranks of the services. This award is not available posthumously. The MOD Medal Office does not issue this award. Individuals who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited a second award of the DSO would be issued with a bar.

During its history, the DSO has also been used on occasion to recognise individual acts of gallantry, but since 1993 the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross has been awarded in such circumstances.

4.2     Conspicuous Gallantry Cross

The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) was instituted on 07 February 1995 and is awarded “in recognition of an act or acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy”.

The CGC is an operational gallantry award given to all ranks of the Services. Personnel who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited a second award of the CGC would be issued with a silver bar. This award is available posthumously.

Members, of any rank, of a commonwealth/foreign naval, land, or air force who have been associated with operations of the UK Armed Forces are eligible for the award of the CGC on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for Defence with the agreement of the Government of the said foreign country or Commonwealth State.

4.3     Royal Red Cross (Class I)

The Royal Red Cross (Class I) (RRC) was instituted on 23 April 1883 and is a meritorious award given “for exceptional devotion and competency in the performance of actual nursing duties…over a continuous and long period…”

The RRC originally had one class (termed Member) and was awarded to the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. A second, lower class (termed Associate) was added in 1917 during WWI (Section 4.8).

Holders of the first class decoration are known as Members (RRC) and is generally for OF-4 level officers (e.g. Lieutenant Colonel). These awards are only available to the nursing services and are not available posthumously.

Although the Royal Warrant still includes provision for award for acts of gallantry, it is not intended that this provision will be used. Level 3 gallantry awards are considered more appropriate.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 (approximate) award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

4.4     Distinguished Service Cross

The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) was instituted on 14 October 1914 and is awarded “for exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy” with the appropriate qualification ‘at sea’ (DSC), ‘on land’ (MC) (Section 4.5) or ‘while flying’ (DFC) (Section 4.6).

The DSC is available to all ranks. Personnel who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited a second award of the DSC are issued with a silver bar, with rounded ends, ornamented by a crown. This award is available posthumously.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

4.5     Military Cross

The Military Cross (MC) was instituted on 28 December 1914 and is awarded “for exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy” with the appropriate qualification ‘at sea’ (DSC), ‘on land’ (MC) or ‘while flying’ (DFC).

Members of the Royal Air Force may be recommended for the MC for gallant and distinguished services in action on the ground. Foreign officers, of all ranks, who have been associated in operations with the British armed forces are also eligible for award of the MC.

The MC is available to all ranks. Personnel who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited a second award of the MC will be issued with a silver bar ornamented by the crown. This award is available posthumously.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

In 2014, “A British Army major who was awarded one of the country’s highest honours for gallantry has been stripped of his medal after being found guilty of exaggerating his own bravery.” (Sawer, 2014). The Major had been awarded the MC following an incident in Helmand in 2009. He faced a court martial in February 2012, admitting four charges of conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline. He was dismissed and sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for two years. It was understood to be the first time the Queen had rescinded a medal for gallantry issued to a serviceman (Sawer, 2014).

4.6     Distinguished Flying Cross

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) was instituted on 03 June 1918 and is awarded “for exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy” with the appropriate qualification ‘at sea’ (DSC), ‘on land’ (MC) or ‘while flying’ (DFC).

The DFC is available to all ranks. Personnel who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited a second award of the DFC would be issued with a silver bar ornamented by an eagle. This award is available posthumously.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

4.7     Air Force Cross

The Air Force Cross (AFC) was instituted on 03 June 1918 and is awarded “for exemplary gallantry while flying but not on active operations against the enemy”.

The AFC is a non-operational award given to all ranks of the services in recognition of exemplary gallantry while flying not in the presence of the enemy. Personnel who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited the award of a second AFC are issued with a silver bar. This award is available posthumously.

Eligibility for the award of the AFC may include flying, parachuting or when part of a Search and Rescue crew, but is not limited to these.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

4.8     Royal Red Cross (Class II)

The Royal Red Cross (Class II) (ARRC) was instituted in 1917 and is a meritorious award given “for special devotion and competency in the performance of actual nursing duties…over a continuous and long period…”

Holders of the second class decoration are known as Associates (ARRC) and it is generally for OF-3 level officers and below (e.g. Majors, Captains, and Lieutenants). Holders of a Royal Red Cross (Class II) (ARRC) who merit a second award are promoted to a Royal Red Cross (Class I) (RRC) (Section 4.3). These awards are only available to the nursing services and are not available posthumously.

Although the Royal Warrant still includes provision for award for acts of gallantry, it is not intended that this provision will be used. Level 3 gallantry awards are considered more appropriate.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 (approximate) award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

4.9     George Medal

The George Medal (GM) was instituted on 24 September 1940 and is awarded “for acts of conspicuous bravery” not in the presence of the enemy, at a level below that of the George Cross. The GM can be awarded to civilians and Service personnel.

The GM is intended primarily for civilians and military personnel for actions for which purely military honours are not normally granted. Foreign persons may be eligible for the award of the GM, with civilians being recommended by the Foreign Secretary and military personnel being recommended by the Defence Secretary.

A silver bar may be issued to GM holders who perform a further act of such bravery which would have merited award of a second GM. This award is available posthumously.

4.10     Queen’s Gallantry Medal

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM) was instituted on 29 June 1974 and is awarded to civilians or military personnel “for acts of exemplary bravery” at a level below that of the George Medal.

The QGM is also awarded to military personnel, of all ranks, for acts which military honours would not normally be granted, such as acts of exemplary bravery not in the presence of the enemy. A silver bar may be issued to QGM holders who perform a further act of such bravery which would have merited award of the QGM. This award is available posthumously. The MOD Medal Office does not issue this award.

Between 1974 and 2013, 1044 including 19 bars had been awarded.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

4.11     Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal

The Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) was instituted by Royal Warrant on 29 March 1999. It is a meritorious award given “For members of any rank of the Volunteer Reserve Forces, for devotion to duty and exemplary service over a period usually of at least 10 years that has been of particular value and an outstanding example to others.” This award is not available posthumously.

It is not available to Regular or Non-Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS), or to officers/adult instructors of the Cadet Forces. 10 years’ service in the Volunteer Reserves is usually required to be eligible for the award. Clasps are available for additional periods of 5 years. There is an annual allocation of 13 awards, across all the three Services, which is fixed and outside the Quinquennial Review.

Noted as a Level 2 award in the Army Dress Regulations (All Ranks) (February 2017) and as a Level 3 (approximate) award in JSP 761 (October 2016).

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