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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
Next (higher) Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
Equivalent Distinguished Service Cross, Military Cross
Next (lower) Mentioned in Despatches

The Distinguished Flying Cross is a 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".


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 the Second World War it was also 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 as well; the Distinguished Flying Medal, previously 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 the Great War, a total of 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.[2] 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.[3][4]


The cross 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 front of the medal 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.[5]

Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon bars
DFC DFC and Bar DFC and Two Bars
UK DFC 1918 BAR.svg
UK DFC 1918 w bar BAR.svg
UK DFC 1918 w 2bars BAR.svg
since 1919
United Kingdom Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg
UK DFC w bar BAR.svg
UK DFC w 2bars BAR.svg

See also


  1. Defence FactSheet Accessed 28 June 2007.
  2. Carter, Nick and Carter, Carol, The Distinguished Flying Cross and How It Was Won 1918-1995, (London): Savannah, 1998, ISBN 1-902366-00-X.
  3. "No. 58633". 7 March 2008. 
  4. "The brown-eyed, blonde RAF hero who is proud to wear her uniform". The Daily Mail. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  5. Crompton, Ann, Edward Carter Preston 1885 - 1965, (Liverpool): University of Liverpool Art Gallery, 1999, ISBN 0-85323-792-1

External links

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