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Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)


Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Obverse of the medal. Ribbon: 30mm, diagonal alternate stripes of white and deep purple.
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration.
Eligibility British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces
Awarded for ... gallantry during active operations against the enemy.[1]
Status Currently awarded.
Established 3 June 1918
Total awarded George V: 11,227
George VI: 21,657
Total: 32,884[2]
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Military Cross[3]
Next (lower) Air Force Cross[3]
Related Distinguished Flying Medal

The Distinguished Flying Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".


  • History 1
  • Description 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The award was established on 3 June 1918, shortly after the formation of the RAF. It was originally awarded to air force commissioned officers and to warrant officers. During World War II it was awarded to Royal Artillery officers from the British Army serving on attachment to the RAF as pilots-cum-artillery directors. Since the Second World War, the award has been open to army and naval aviation officers, and since 1993 to other ranks; the Distinguished Flying Medal, awarded to other ranks, has been discontinued. Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DFC". A bar is added to the ribbon for holders of the DFC who received a second award.

During World War I, approximately 1,100 DFCs were awarded, with 70 first bars and 3 second bars. During the Second World War, 20,354 DFCs were awarded, the most of any award, with approximately 1,550 first bars and 45 second bars.[4] Honorary awards were made on 964 occasions to aircrew from other non-commonwealth countries.

In 2008, Flight Lieutenant Michelle Goodman became the first woman to receive the DFC.[5][6]

United States Marine Corps Captain Brian Jordan, a UH-1Y Venom helicopter pilot, received the Distinguished Flying Cross on 12 February 2014 at the British Embassy in Washington, for actions while deployed in Afghanistan in 2012. He is the second American to be awarded the DFC since WWII.


The medal is a cross flory and is 2⅛ inches wide. The horizontal and bottom bars are terminated with bumps, the upper bar with a rose. The medal's face features aeroplane propellers superimposed on the vertical arms of the cross and wings on the horizontal arms. In the centre is a laurel wreath around the RAF monogram surmounted by an Imperial Crown.

The reverse features the Royal Cypher in the centre and the year of issue engraved on the lower arm. The medal is issued named.

The ribbon was originally white with purple broad horizontal stripes, but changed in 1919 to the current white with purple broad diagonal stripes.

The medal was designed by Edward Carter Preston.[7]

Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon bars
DFC DFC and Bar DFC and Two Bars
since 1919

See also


  1. ^ Defence FactSheet Accessed 28 June 2007.
  2. ^  
  3. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces". p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Carter, Nick and Carter, Carol, The Distinguished Flying Cross and How It Was Won 1918-1995, (London): Savannah, 1998, ISBN 1-902366-00-X.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58633. p. 3616. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
  6. ^ "The brown-eyed, blonde RAF hero who is proud to wear her uniform".  
  7. ^ Crompton, Ann, Edward Carter Preston 1885 - 1965, (Liverpool): University of Liverpool Art Gallery, 1999, ISBN 0-85323-792-1

External links

  • Biography of Colonel Sir Richard M. Gorham, DFC.
  • Search recommendations for the Distinguished Flying Cross on The UK National Archives' website.
  • Page including text from the London Gazette dated 5 December 1919 establishing DFC, AFC, DFM and AFM
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