Military decorations

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the Armed Forces. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command.

The Distinguished Conduct Medal was, until 1993, an extremely high level award for bravery.  It was a second level military decoration. It was instituted in 1854 during the Crimean War to recognise gallantry. Bars were awarded to the DCM in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award.

The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. It was instituted in 1886 by Queen Victoria. It is typically awarded to officers ranked Major or higher, but the honour has sometimes been awarded to especially valourous junior officers. A total of 8.981 DSOs were awarded during the First World War, each award being announced in the London Gazette.

The Military Cross is the third level of military decoration awarded to officers. The Military Cross is granted in recognition of "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land to all members of any rank in Our Armed Forces." The award was created in 1914 for commissioned officers of the substantive rank of Captain or below and for Warrant Officers.  The MC serves as the third level of gallantry on land for all ranks of the British Armed Forces. Bars are awarded to the MC in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award.

The Military Medal was, until 1993, awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services for bravery in battle on land.  The Military Medal was established in wartime Britain by King George V in 1916.  Its inception was intended to meet the high demand for medals during the First World War.  The Military Medal ranked below the Military Cross and the Distinguished Conduct Medal which was also awarded to non-commissioned members of the Army.  Since it was discontinued in 1993 the Military Cross has been awarded to personnel all ranks.

The Distinguished Flying Order was, until 1993, awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force for acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty while flying in active operations against the enemy.