Military honours and decorations awarded during WWI

Prior to 1975 Australian military decorations and service medals were awarded through the British Imperial system. There were a number of awards that an individual might receive for a conspicuous and gallant act of valour whilst serving in the armed forces during WWI. Awards were also issued for distinguished and meritorious service.

This is a summary of the British honours and decorations awarded to officers, nurses and other ranks of the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War.

Victoria Cross (VC) – 64
The highest award for acts of bravery in wartime.

Order of the Bath – Knight Commander (KCB) – 8
Awarded to senior military officers for services in action.

Order of the Bath – Companion (CB) – 47

Order of St Michael and St George – Knight Grand Cross (GCMG) – 2
To acknowledge military exploits.

Order of St Michael and St George – Knight Commander (KCMG) – 11

Order of St Michael and St George – Companion (CMG) – 150

Order of the British Empire – Knight Commander (KBE) – 3
To reward service to the British Empire in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Order of the British Empire – Commander (CBE) – 35

Order of the British Empire – Officer (OBE) – 157

Order of the British Empire – Member (MBE) – 114

Distinguished Service Order (DSO) – 620
To reward military officers for distinguished services under fire or under conditions equivalent to service in actual combat with the enemy.

Distinguished Service Order (DSO) 1 Bar – 41

Distinguished Service Order (DSO) 2 Bars – 1

Royal Red Cross (RRC) – 43
For exceptional devotion or competency in performance of nursing duties with the Army in the field, or an exceptional act of bravery or devotion to the post of duty. This was an award exclusively for women.

Royal Red Cross (RRC) 1 Bar – 1

Royal Red Cross (ARRC) – 143

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) – 2
Awarded to naval officers below the rank of Lieutenant Commander for gallantry at sea in the presence of the enemy.

Military Cross (MC) – 2,366
For lower ranking Army officers (Captain or less) and Warrant Officers for distinguished and meritorious services.

Military Cross (MC) 1 Bar – 170

Military Cross (MC) 2 Bars – 4

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) – 59
Awarded to officers for acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) 1 Bar – 5

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) 2 Bars – 2

Air Force Cross (AFC) – 14
Awarded to officers for acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy.

Air Force Cross (AFC) 1 Bar – 2

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) – 1,767
Awarded to non-commissioned officers for distinguished conduct in action in the field.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) 1 Bar – 28

Military Medal (MM) – 9,926
Awarded to other ranks for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire.

Military Medal (MM) 1 Bar – 472

Military Medal (MM) 2 Bars – 15

Military Medal (MM) 3 Bars – 1

Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) – 17
Awarded to ranks up to and including Chief Petty Officer.for bravery whilst on active service at sea.

Air Force Medal (AFM) 2
Awarded to for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying though not in active operations against the enemy.

Air Force Medal (AFM) 1 Bar – 2

Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) – 1,237
For non-operational gallantry or meritorious service connected with the war effort.

Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) 1 Bar – 1

Mentioned in Despatches emblem – 5,798

With the diggers 1914-1918, 1933, Fourth Division AMC Association, Melbourne.
*  Williams, Reginald David 2000, Medals to Australia from 1858-1999, with valuations, Downie’s, Melbourne
Australian War Memorial Encyclopedia. Statistics – military

Further reading:
Imperial Awards
A Guide to British Awards for Gallantry or Meritorious Service in WW1

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This entry was posted on April 8th, 2014.