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Distinguished Service Cross

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A frosted silver cross with rounded ends. The obverse (shown here) bears in the centre the Royal Cypher surmounted by the Imperial Crown. The reverse is plain in design, though from 1940 onwards the year of the award was engraved on the lower limb of the cross.


A silver bar, with rounded ends, ornamented by the Crown may be issued to DSC holders performing a further act of such gallantry which would have merited award of the DSC.


A central stripe of white flanked by equally sized stripes of dark blue.

Awarded to

All ranks of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, and RAF in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea.


Instituted in 1901, this award was originally known as the Conspicuous Service Cross and was issued for gallantry in presence of the enemy to warrant and subordinate officers of the Royal Navy who were ineligible (on account of their rank) for the Distinguished Service Order. Renamed the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in 1914, it also became available to naval junior officers. In 1940, it also became available to Army and RAF officers serving aboard naval vessels.

The equivalent award for the Other Ranks for gallantry at sea in presence of the enemy was the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) which had been instituted in 1914 and, similarly to the DSC, later became available to Army and RAF other ranks serving at sea.

Following the 1993 review, the DSM was discontinued and the DSC became available to all ranks of all services for exemplary gallantry at sea in presence of the enemy. It is at a level below the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and is at the equivalent level to the Military Cross.

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