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Distinguished Conduct Medal

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A silver medal 36mm in diameter. The original obverse of this medal depicted a trophy of arms as seen on early Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medals. However in 1902 this was replaced by the effigy of the reigning monarch.

The reverse on all issues bears the inscription 'FOR DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT IN THE FIELD'. The suspender is of an ornate scroll type. The ribbon is 32mm wide, with three equal parts crimson, dark blue, and crimson. Bars were authorised for subsequent awards originally bearing the date of the subsequent awards but changing to laurel wreaths in 1916.


The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was (until 1993) the second level military decoration awarded other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth countries.

The medal was instituted in 1854, during the Crimean War, to recognise gallantry within the other ranks. The medal was the other ranks' equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order when awarded for bravery to commissioned officers, although it ranked well below that order in precedence.

Although considered to be the army's second ranking gallantry award, the DCM was almost always seen as a "near miss for the Victoria Cross". From 1942, members of the Navy and Air Force were entitled to the award.

In the aftermath of the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the DCM was discontinued (along with the award of the DSO for gallantry and the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal). These three decorations were replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, which now serves as the second level award for gallantry for all ranks across the whole armed forces.

Bars were awarded to the DCM in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award. Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal letters DCM.