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 British Merchant Navy, and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
|Distinguished Service Cross|
Obverse of the Cross
Ribbon bar for further award
|Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Eligibility||British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces|
|Awarded for||Gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea|
|Description||Plain silver cross with rounded ends, 43mm max height and width|
|Established||15 June 1901 (as Conspicuous Service Cross), renamed October 1914|
|Total awarded||At least 6,658 Crosses and 603 bars|
|Order of Wear|
|Next (higher)||Royal Red Cross, First Class|
|Next (lower)||Military Cross|
|Related||Distinguished Service Medal|
Distinguished Service Cross ribbon:
without bar, and with one and two bars
The award was originally created in 1901 as the Conspicuous Service Cross, for award to warrant and subordinate officers, including midshipmen, ineligible for the Distinguished Service Order. It was renamed the Distinguished Service Cross in October 1914, eligibility being extended to all naval officers (commissioned and warrant) below the rank of lieutenant commander.
From March 1915 foreign officers of equivalent rank in allied navies could receive honorary awards, and in August 1916 bars were introduced to reward further acts of gallantry meriting the Cross, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon when worn alone to denote the award of each bar. During World War I officers of the Merchant and Fishing Fleets had been awarded the DSC and their eligibility was legally clarified by an order in council in 1931.
World War II saw a number of changes. In December 1939 eligibility was extended to Naval Officers of the rank of Commander and Lieutenant-Commander. In April 1940 equivalent ranks in the Royal Air Force serving with the Fleet could receive the DSC, and from November 1942 so could those in the Army aboard defensively equipped merchant ships.
Since the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the Distinguished Service Medal, formerly the third level decoration for ratings, has been discontinued. The DSC now serves as the third level award for gallantry at sea for all ranks, not to the standard required to receive the Victoria Cross or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
The DSC had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by 1990's most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were establishing their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours.
Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal "DSC".
The DSC is a plain silver cross with rounded ends with a width of 43 millimetres (1.7 in) and with the following design:
Since 1901 at least 6,658 Crosses and 603 bars have been awarded. The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries:
|Period||Crosses||1st bar||2nd bar||3rd bar|
|World War I||1914–1920||1,983||91||10||–|
|World War II||1939–1946||4,524||434||44||1|
A number of honorary awards were made to members of allied foreign forces, including 151 for World War I and 228, with 12 first bars and 2 second bars, for World War II. Eight honorary awards were made in 1955 to members of the US Navy for service in Korea.
The above table includes awards to the Dominions:
In all, 199 DSCs have gone to those serving with Canadian forces, with 34 first bars and five second bars. It was replaced in 1993 by the Medal of Military Valour.
182 were awarded to Australians, in addition to 13 first bars and three second bars. Last awarded to an Australian in 1972, it was replaced in 1991 by the Medal for Gallantry.
Only one person has ever been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross four times. Norman Eyre Morley served in the Royal Naval Reserve during World War I and World War II. He was awarded the DSC for the first time in 1919. He was awarded his second DSC in 1944. He was awarded the DSC a further two times in 1945. He gained an entry into the Guinness Book of Records as the most decorated reserve naval officer.
Sir Allan Herbert Percy Noble, DSO, DSC (1908–1982) was an English naval commander, politician, and diplomat.Andrew Woodhouse
The Ven. Andrew Henry Woodhouse DSC (born 30 January 1923) is an Anglican priest: he was the Archdeacon of Ludlow from 1970 to 1982; and Archdeacon of Hereford from 1982 to 1991.
He was educated at Lancing College, The Queen's College, Oxford . His time at Oxford was split with wartime service with the RNVR. He was ordained in 1951 after a period of study at Lincoln Theological College. After a curacy at Curate of All Saints, Poplar he was Vicar of St Martin, West Drayton from 1956 to 1970; Rural Dean of Hillingdon from 1967 to 1970; Rector of Wistanstow from 1970 to 1982; and a Canon Residentiary at Hereford Cathedral from 1982 to 1991.Arthur Reginald Evans
Arthur Reginald Evans, DSC (14 May 1905 – 31 January 1989) was an Australian coastwatcher in the Pacific Ocean theatre in World War II. He is chiefly remembered for having played a significant part in the rescue of future US President John F. Kennedy and his surviving crew after their Motor Torpedo Boat, PT-109, was sunk by enemy action in August 1943.David Dunbar-Nasmith
Rear Admiral David Arthur Dunbar-Nasmith (21 February 1921 – 15 September 1997) was a former Royal Navy officer who became Naval Secretary.David Foster (Royal Navy officer)
David Ramsey Foster, DSO, DSC and bar (24 May 1920 – 4 June 2010) was a decorated pilot in the British Royal Navy during World War II and a business executive.Edmund Rushbrooke
Vice-Admiral Edmund Gerard Noel Rushbrooke, CBE, DSC (15 December 1892 – 9 October 1972) was a Royal Navy officer.Herbert Rayner
Vice Admiral Herbert Sharples Rayner DSC & Bar, CD (16 January 1911 – 30 May 1976) was a Royal Canadian Navy officer who served as Chief of the Naval Staff from 1960 to 1964.Horace Law
Admiral Sir Horace Rochfort Law (23 June 1911 – 30 January 2005) was Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command.James Johnson (South African Navy officer)
Vice-Admiral James 'Johnny' Johnson (10 February 1918 – 2 October 1990) was a former Chief of the South African Navy (1 April 1972 to 30 September 1977).
He was nicknamed "Flam" after his wartime red beard - "Vlambaard" in Afrikaans.John Bush (Royal Navy officer)
Admiral Sir John Fitzroy Duyland Bush (1 November 1914 – 10 May 2013) was a British Royal Navy officer who served as Commander-in-Chief Western Fleet.John Eaton (Royal Navy officer)
Vice Admiral Sir John William Musgrave Eaton, (3 November 1902 – 21 July 1981) was a Royal Navy officer who served as Commander-in-Chief America and West Indies Station from 1955 to 1956.Maurice Wood
Maurice Arthur Ponsonby Wood, (26 August 1916 – 24 June 2007) was an Anglican bishop in the Evangelical tradition. He was a Royal Navy commando chaplain in World War II and later the Bishop of Norwich.Nilakanta Krishnan
Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan, PVSM, DSC (1919 – January 1982) was an Indian Navy Admiral. He was the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. He is credited with using a very innovative strategy, while commanding the Eastern Navy which had the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, in the Bay of Bengal. He is believed to have tricked the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi, which was on a search and destroy mission, into entering Visakhapatnam; where it was eliminated.Owen Woodhouse
Sir Arthur Owen Woodhouse (18 July 1916 – 15 April 2014) was a New Zealand jurist and chair of government commissions.Patrick Graham (Royal Navy officer)
Rear-Admiral Patrick Walter Willingdon Graham, CB, DSC (26 February 1915 – 31 May 1980) was a Royal Navy officer.Peter Bull
Peter Cecil Bull, (21 March 1912 – 20 May 1984) was a British character actor who appeared in supporting roles in such film classics as The African Queen, Tom Jones and Dr. Strangelove.Peter Hellings
General Sir Peter William Cradock Hellings, (6 September 1916 – 2 November 1990) was a Royal Marines officer who served as Commandant General Royal Marines from 1968 to 1971.Phil Connolly
Philip George Connolly (14 November 1899 – 13 February 1970) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.William Anderson (bishop of Salisbury)
William Louis Anderson DSC (11 February 1882 – 5 March 1972) was the Church of England Bishop of Portsmouth and then the Bishop of Salisbury. He also held what is believed to be the unique distinction of being the only bishop to have served in all three of the armed services.
|Orders of chivalry|
Sorted in order of wear per era or 1994 constituent force
until 6 April 1952