Military Cross

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level 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.[5] In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could be recommended posthumously.[6]

Military Cross
Military Cross 3
Military Cross
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth
TypeMilitary decoration
EligibilityBritish, (and formerly) Commonwealth and allied forces
Awarded for... gallantry during active operations against the enemy.[1]
StatusCurrently awarded
DescriptionObverse: Straight armed silver cross, Royal Cypher in centre
Reverse: plain
Established28 December 1914
First awarded1 January 1915 to 98 officers and warrant officers.[2]
Total awardedIncluding further awards:[3]
George V: c. 43,500
George VI: over 11,500
Elizabeth II: c. 750
Over 52,000
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Conspicuous Gallantry Cross[4]
Next (lower)Distinguished Flying Cross[4]
RelatedMilitary Medal
Military cross BAR

Military cross w bar BAR

Military cross w 2bars BAR
Military Cross ribbon:
without bar, and with one and two bars


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 including one jamadar and three subadars, and 27 warrant officers. Although posthumous recommendations for the Military Cross would be 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.[2]

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.[7]

From August 1916, recipients of the Cross were entitled to use the post-nominal letters MC,[8] and bars could be awarded for further acts of gallantry meriting the award,[9] 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.[10] Naval officers serving with the division received 140 MCs and eight second award bars.[3]

In June 1917, eligibility was extended to temporary majors, not above the substantive rank of captain.[11] Substantive majors were made eligible in 1953.[12]

In 1931, the award was extended to equivalent ranks in the Royal Air Force for actions on the ground.[13]

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.[14]


The Military Cross has the following design:[15]

  • 46 mm maximum height, 44 mm maximum width.
  • Ornamental silver cross with straight arms terminating in broad finials, suspended from a plain suspension bar.
  • Obverse decorated with imperial crowns, with the Royal Cypher in centre.
  • Reverse is plain. From 1938 until 1957 the year of award was engraved on lower limb of cross,[16] and since 1984 it has been awarded named to the recipient.[15]
  • The ribbon width is 32 mm and consists of three equal vertical moire stripes of white, purple, and white.
  • Ribbon bar denoting a further award is plain silver, with a crown in the centre.


Numbers awarded

Since 1914 over 52,000 Military Crosses and 3,717 bars have been awarded.[3] The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries:

Period Medals 1st bar 2nd bar 3rd bar Honorary
MC bars
World War I 1914–20 37,104 2,984 169 4 2,909[17]
Inter–War 1920–39 349 31
World War II 1939–46 10,386 482 24 438 3
Post–War 1947–79 643 20
Total 1914–79 48,482 3,517 193 4 3,347 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.[18]

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.[19]
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.[20]
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.[21]

The honorary MC awards were made to servicemen from fifteen Allied countries in World War I, and nine in World War II.[3]

Notable awards

Military Cross awarded 1915 to 2nd Lt. E. W. Fane de Salis (1894-1980)
MC awarded to 2nd Lt. E. W. Fane de Salis (1894-1980)[24]
  • During World War I, Acting Captain Francis Wallington of the Royal Field Artillery was the first person to be awarded the MC and three bars when he was invested with his third bar on 10 July 1918 (gazetted 13 September 1918: he had obtained the first three awards as a second lieutenant).[25][26] Three other officers were subsequently awarded a third bar, Percy Bentley, Humphrey Arthur Gilkes and Charles Gordon Timms, all of whose awards appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette on 31 January 1919.[25][27]
  • For their key roles during World War I, the cities of Verdun and Ypres were awarded the Military Cross, in September 1916 and February 1920 respectively.[3] In May 1920, Field Marshal French presented the decoration to Ypres in a special ceremony in the city.[28]
  • During World War II Captain Sam Manekshaw, Indian Army (who eventually rose to the rank of Field Marshal), was leading a counter-offensive operation against the invading Japanese Army in Burma. During the course of the offensive, he was hit by a burst of machine-gun fire and severely wounded in the stomach. Major General D.T. Cowan spotted Manekshaw holding on to life and was aware of his valour in face of stiff resistance from the Japanese. Fearing the worst, Major General Cowan quickly pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on to Manekshaw saying, "A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross."[29]
  • The first posthumous Military Cross was that awarded to Captain Herbert Westmacott, Grenadier Guards for gallantry in Northern Ireland during the period 1 February 1980 to 30 April 1980.[30]
  • The first woman to be awarded the Military Cross was Private Michelle Norris of the Royal Army Medical Corps, while attached to The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment for her actions in Iraq on 11 June 2006. Norris was awarded her medal personally by Queen Elizabeth II on 21 March 2007.[31][32][33]
  • Able Seaman Kate Nesbitt, second woman, first in the Royal Navy, for acts in Afghanistan in March 2009 as a Medical Assistant attached to 1 RIFLES, 3 Commando Brigade.[34][35]
  • Sergeant Michael Lockett MC was the first holder of the MC to be killed in action since World War II.[36][37]

See also


  1. ^ "Defence FactSheet: Military Honours and Awards". Archived from the original on 17 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b "No. 29024". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1914. pp. 7–9.
  3. ^ a b c d e Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition. pp 220-222.
  4. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  5. ^ "No. 56693". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 October 2002. p. 11146.
  6. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition. p. xx.
  7. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition. page 219.
  8. ^ Revised Royal Warrant, clause 8. "No. 29725". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 August 1916. p. 8472.
  9. ^ Revisied Royal Warrant, clause 5. "No. 29725". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 August 1916. p. 8471.
  10. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition. page 217.
  11. ^ "The Military Cross, Royal Warrant of 25th June, 1917, amending the Third Clause of The Military Cross Warrant of 23rd August, 1916", War Office 3 July 1917 "No. 30161". The London Gazette. 3 July 1917. p. 6550.
  12. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition. page 218.
  13. ^ "No. 33700". The London Gazette. 20 March 1931. p. 1890.
  14. ^ "Military Cross (MC)". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  15. ^ a b John Mussell, Medal Yearbook 2015. page 87.
  16. ^ Peter Duckers, British Gallantry Awards 1855 – 2000. pp 26-27.
  17. ^ The World War I records are incomplete, see page 220, British Gallantry Awards, (2nd ed), Abbott & Tamplin.
  18. ^ Post 1979 MCs include 16 for the Falklands (London Gazette Supplement, 8 October 1982); 11 for Gulf War (London Gazette Supplement, 29 June 1991); 84 for Iraq and 215+1 bar for Afghanistan, plus awards for Northern Ireland and smaller conflicts.
  19. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada – Military Cross (Retrieved 7 November 2018)
  20. ^ "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  21. ^ New Zealand Defence Force: British Commonwealth Gallantry Awards - The Military Cross (Retrieved 7 November 2018)
  22. ^ "No. 29824". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 November 1916. p. 11074.
  23. ^ "No. 30135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1917. p. 5983.
  24. ^ "No. 30111". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1917. p. 5478.
  25. ^ a b Scott Addington; For Conspicuous Gallantry... Winners of the Military Cross and Bar during the Great War. Volume 1 – Two Bars & Three Bars, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2006, pp.343–352.
  26. ^ "No. 30901". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 September 1918. p. 10877. (Wallington)
  27. ^ "No. 31158". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 January 1919. p. 1617. (Bentley, Gilkes & Timms)
  28. ^ Award of the Military Cross to the City of Ypres, Imperial War Museum
  29. ^ Compton McKenzie (1951), Eastern Epic, Chatto & Windus, London, pp. 440–1.
  30. ^ "No. 48346". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 October 1980. p. 14608. (Westmacott)
  31. ^ "No. 58183". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 December 2006. p. 17359. (Norris)
  32. ^ Wilkes, David (10 August 2006). "Heroine teenage soldier to be decorated for bravery". Daily Mail. UK: Associated Newspapers. ISSN 0307-7578. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  33. ^ Glendinning, Lee (22 March 2007). "Historic award for female private". The Guardian. UK: Guardian Media Group. p. 8. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  34. ^ "No. 59182". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 September 2009. p. 15640. (Nesbitt)
  35. ^ "First female Royal Navy medic awarded Military Cross". Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  36. ^ "No. 58633". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 2008. p. 3613.
  37. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard (22 September 2009). "Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Has Been Awarded Military Cross". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2012.


  • Abbott, Peter and Tamplin, John. British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition (1981). Nimrod Dix and Co., London. ISBN 9780902633742.
  • Duckers, Peter. British Gallantry Awards 1855–2000 (2011). Shire Publications, Risborough, Buckinghamshire. ISBN 9780747805168.
  • Mussell, J. (ed.). Medals Yearbook 2015 (2014). Token Publishing, Honiton, Devon. ISBN 9781908828163.

External links

Alun Gwynne Jones, Baron Chalfont

Alun Arthur Gwynne Jones, Baron Chalfont, (born 5 December 1919) is a British politician, retired British Army officer and historian.

Basil Rathbone

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967) was an English actor. He rose to prominence in the United Kingdom as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in more than 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers and, occasionally, horror films.

Rathbone frequently portrayed suave villains or morally ambiguous characters, such as Mr. Murdstone in David Copperfield (1935) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). His most famous role, however, was heroic—that of Sherlock Holmes in fourteen Hollywood films made between 1939 and 1946 and in a radio series. His later career included roles on Broadway, as well as self-ironic film and television work. He received a Tony Award in 1948 as Best Actor in a Play. He was also nominated for two Academy Awards and was honored with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Christopher Hibbert

Christopher Hibbert (born Arthur Raymond Hibbert) MC (5 March 1924 – 21 December 2008), was an English author, historian and biographer. He has been called "a pearl of biographers" (New Statesman) and "probably the most widely-read popular historian of our time and undoubtedly one of the most prolific" (The Times). Hibbert was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of many books, including The Story of England, Disraeli, Edward VII, George IV, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, and Cavaliers and Roundheads.

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Ewart Horsfall

Ewart Douglas Horsfall DFC, MC (24 May 1892 – 1 February 1974) was a British rower who competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics and in the 1920 Summer Olympics.

Horsfall was born in Liverpool, the son of Howard Douglas Horsfall and was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford. He arrived at Oxford with an outstanding reputation as a rower and in 1912 was in the winning Oxford boat in the Boat Race. He joined Leander Club and was a member of the Leander eight which won the gold medal for Great Britain rowing at the 1912 Summer Olympics. At the age of 20, he was the youngest member of the crew.Horsfall stroked Oxford in the Boat Race in 1913 and became the first stroke to win the Boat Race after being behind at Barnes Railway Bridge. However Oxford lost in 1914, when Horsfall rowed at number four. He won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta four times – three times as a stroke – and he twice stroked the winning crew in the Stewards' Challenge Cup at Henley on the two occasions when he competed.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Horsfall joined the Rifle Brigade but later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps; He qualified as a pilot on 31 December 1914, and reached the rank of squadron leader. He achieved a rare double of being awarded the Military Cross in 1916 and the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1918.

After the war, he returned to Oxford to help re-establish rowing at the University. He was strokeman of the Leander eight which won the silver medal for Great Britain rowing at the 1920 Summer Olympics, coming within half a length of winning. In 1947 Horsfall was elected a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta and the following year he was manager of the British Olympic Rowing team.

Horsfall married Myra Downing Fullerton, daughter of Frederick Downing Fullerton in 1923. They had three children, Robin, Geoffrey and Anne.

G. B. Buckley

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Buckley was born in Saddleworth, Yorkshire the son of Arthur and Jane Buckley, his father was a solicitor. A surgeon by profession, he won the Military Cross in 1916 for working under fire when he was serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps in the First World War. He was a senior surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary and member of the Manchester Medical Society. Photographs of him as a surgeon and soldier (prisoner of war) are held in the University of Manchester Library Image Collections. After he retired, he devoted his time to researching early cricket history and travelled all over England to visit local libraries. He collected a mass of cricket historiana from old newspapers and dutifully noted every reference he could find relating to 18th century cricket. His researches were consolidated in his two classic books: Fresh Light on Eighteenth Century Cricket (1935) and Fresh Light on Pre-Victorian Cricket (1937).

He moved to Weston-super-Mare in 1938 and lived in a pleasant Victorian house just a stone's throw from the local cricket ground.

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Harry Altham

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Leslie Wormald

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Military Medal

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.

Percival Molson

Captain Percival Talbot "Percy" Molson, MC (August 14, 1880 – July 5, 1917) was a Canadian star athlete and soldier. After an outstanding sports career with McGill University, Molson joined its administration. Molson died fighting in World War I. In his will, he donated funds for McGill to build its football stadium, named Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in his honour.

Peter Cosgrove

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Cosgrove was Australia's Chief of Army from 2000 to 2002, and then Chief of the Defence Force from 2002 to 2005, receiving corresponding promotions to lieutenant general and general. Cosgrove retired from active service following the end of his term as Chief of the Defence Force, and subsequently served as leader of a taskforce helping to rebuild communities in Queensland after Cyclone Larry in 2006. In January 2014, Cosgrove was named to succeed Dame Quentin Bryce as Governor-General of Australia. He was sworn in on 28 March 2014, and made a Knight of the Order of Australia on the same date. Cosgrove retired as governor-general on 1 July 2019, and was succeeded by General David Hurley.

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Maxwell's death triggered the collapse of his publishing empire as banks called in loans. His sons briefly attempted to keep the business together, but failed as the news emerged that the elder Maxwell had stolen hundreds of millions of pounds from his own companies' pension funds. The Maxwell companies applied for bankruptcy protection in 1992.

Siegfried Sassoon

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World Military Cross Country Championships

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Ypres ( EE-prə; French: [ipʁ]; Dutch: Ieper [ˈipər]) is a Belgian municipality in the province of West Flanders. Though the Dutch Ieper is the official name, the city's French name Ypres is most commonly used in English. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote. Together, they are home to about 34,900 inhabitants.

During the First World War, Ypres (or "Wipers" as it was commonly known by the British troops) was the centre of the Battles of Ypres between German and Allied forces.

Royal family
Orders of chivalry
Civil bravery
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until 6 April 1952






we Sizwe

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