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Distinguished Flying Medal
Distinguished Flying Medal ribbon.svg
Obverse (top left) and reverse (top right) of the medal.
Awarded by UK and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration.
Eligibility British and (formerly) Commonwealth forces
Awarded for for exceptional valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy
Status Discontinued in 1993
Established 3 June 1918
First awarded 1918
Next (higher) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Equivalent Distinguished Service Medal
Military Medal
Air Force Medal
Next (lower) Mention in Despatches

The Distinguished Flying Medal was (until 1993) a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force (United Kingdom) and the other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".

The medal was established on 3 June 1918. It was the other ranks' equivalent to the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was awarded to commissioned officers and Warrant Officers (although WOs could also be awarded the DFM), although it ranked below the DFC in order of precedence, between the Military Medal and the Air Force Medal. Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Medal are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DFM". In 1993 the DFM was discontinued, and since then the Distinguished Flying Cross has been awarded to personnel of all ranks.

During World War I, approximately 105 DFMs were awarded, with 2 first award bars. During World War II, 6,637 DFMs were awarded, with 60 first award bars. Some 165 were awarded to aircrew from other non- Commonwealth countries.

A second bar to the DFM was uniquely awarded to Flight Sergeant Donald Ernest Kingaby in November 1941.


  • An oval, silver medal, 35 mm wide and 41 mm long. The obverse shows a bareheaded effigy of the reigning sovereign.
  • The reverse shows Athena Nike seated on an aeroplane, a hawk rising from her right arm above the words FOR COURAGE, all within a laurel wreath.
  • A bomb is attached to the clasp and ribbon by two wings.
  • The ribbon is 32 mm wide, and consists of alternate violet and white stripes (1/16 inch wide) leaning 45 degrees to the left. A violet stripe is to appear in the bottom left and upper right corners when viewed on the wearer's chest. Until 1919, the stripes were horizontal.
  • Further awards are signified by a straight slip-on silver bar with an eagle in the centre.
Distinguished Flying Medal ribbon bars
DFM DFM and Bar
DFM 1918 ribbon.svg
DFM 1918 w Bar ribbon.svg
Distinguished Flying Medal ribbon.svg
DFM w Bar ribbon.svg

See also

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