|Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth|
|Eligibility||British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces|
|Awarded for||... gallantry during active operations against the enemy.|
|Description||Silver cross with straight arms, Royal Cypher in centre (obverse)
|Established||28 December 1914|
|First awarded||1 January 1915 to Lieutenant G. F. H. Brooke, 16th Lancers (Staff Captain).|
|Total awarded||George V: 40,555
George VI: 11,658
|Next (higher)||Conspicuous Gallantry Cross|
|Equivalent||Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross|
|Next (lower)||Mention in Despatches|
Ribbon of the Military Cross; without, with bar, and with two bars
The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
The MC 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…". In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could in the future be awarded posthumously.
The award was created on 28 December 1914 for commissioned officers of the substantive rank of Captain or below and for Warrant Officers. In August 1916 Bars were awarded to the MC in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award and recipients of a bar continue to use postnominal letters MC. In 1931 the award was extended to Majors and also to members of the Royal Air Force for actions on the ground.
Since the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the Military Medal, formerly the third-level decoration for other ranks, has been discontinued. The MC now serves as the third-level award for gallantry on land for all ranks of the British Armed Forces.
- 46 mm max height, 44 mm max width
- Ornamental silver cross with straight arms terminating in broad finials, suspended from plain suspension bar.
- Obverse decorated with imperial crowns, with the Royal Cypher in centre.
- Reverse is plain, but from 1938 the name of the recipient and year of issue has been engraved on lower limb of cross.
- The ribbon width is 32 mm and consists of three equal vertical moire stripes of white, purple, and white.
- For more information, see categories:
- Recipients of the Military Cross
- Recipients of the Military Cross and Bar
- Recipients of the Military Cross and two Bars
- During World War I, Acting Captain Francis Victor Wallington of the Royal Field Artillery was the first person to be awarded the MC and three bars when he was invested with his third bar on 10 July 1918 (gazetted 13 September 1918: he had obtained the first three awards as a second lieutenant). Three other officers were subsequently awarded a third bar, Percy Bentley, Humphrey Arthur Gilkes and Charles Gordon Timms, all of whose awards were gazetted in a supplement to the London Gazette of 31 January 1919.
- During World War II Captain Sam Manekshaw, Indian Army (who eventually rose to the rank of Field Marshal), was leading a counter-offensive operation against the invading Japanese Army in Burma. During the course of the offensive, he was hit by a burst of machine-gun fire and severely wounded in the stomach. Major General D.T. Cowan spotted Manekshaw holding on to life and was aware of his valour in face of stiff resistance from the Japanese. Fearing the worst, Major General Cowan quickly pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on to Manekshaw saying, "A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross."
- The first posthumous Military Cross was that awarded to Captain Herbert Westmacott (491354), Grenadier Guards for gallantry in Northern Ireland during the period 1 February 1980 to 30 April 1980.
- In 2004 Sergeant Brian Wood of the Prince of Wales's Regiment was awarded an MC for his part in the Battle of Danny Boy.
- The first woman to be awarded the Military Cross was Private Michelle Norris of the Royal Army Medical Corps, while attached to The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in Iraq. Norris was awarded her medal personally by Queen Elizabeth II on 21 March 2007 as the result of her actions in Iraq on 11 June 2006.
- Able Seaman Kate Nesbitt, second woman, first in the Royal Navy, for acts in Afghanistan in March 2009 as a Medical Assistant attached to 1 RIFLES, 3 Commando Brigade.
- Also in 2009, Lieutenant James Adamson of the Royal Regiment of Scotland was awarded an MC for bayonet charging a Taliban fighter. After shooting one insurgent, Adamson ran out of ammunition. He immediately bayonet charged a second insurgent and bayonetted him.
- Sergeant Michael Lockett MC was the first holder of the MC to be killed in action since World War II.
- Category:Recipients of the Military Cross
- British and Commonwealth orders and decorations
- List of British gallantry awards for the Iraq War
- UK Defence FactSheet, accessed 28 June 2007.
- The London Gazette: . 29 December 1914.
- Medal Yearbook 2013. Honiton, Devon: Token. 2013. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-908-828-00-2.
- The London Gazette: . 17 October 2002.
- P E Abbott and J M A Tamplin; British Gallantry Awards, 1981, Nimrod Dix and Co, ISBN 0-902633-74-0, p. xx.
- Royal Warrant: The London Gazette: . 29 December 1914.
- Clause 5 The Military Cross. Revisied Royal Warrant. The London Gazette: . 25 August 1916.
- Clause 8 The Military Cross. Revisied Royal Warrant. The London Gazette: . 25 August 1916.
- "Military Cross (MC)". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
- Scott Addington; For Conspicuous Gallantry... Winners of the Military Cross and Bar during the Great War. Volume 1—Two Bars and Three Bars, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2006, pp. 343–352.
- The London Gazette: . 13 September 1918. Retrieved 17 March 2008. (Wallington)
- The London Gazette: . 31 January 1919. Retrieved 17 March 2008. (Bentley, Gilkes & Timms)
- Compton McKenzie (1951), Eastern Epic, Chatto & Windus, London, pp. 440–1.
- The London Gazette: . 20 October 1980. (Westmacott)
- The London Gazette: . 15 December 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2007. (Norris)
- Wilkes, David (10 August 2006). "Heroine teenage soldier to be decorated for bravery". Daily Mail (UK: Associated Newspapers). ISSN 0307-7578. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
- Glendinning, Lee (22 March 2007). "Historic award for female private". The Guardian (UK: Guardian Media Group). p. 8. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
- The London Gazette: . 11 September 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2010. (Nesbitt)
- Evans, Michael (11 September 2009). "Kate Nesbitt is first woman in Royal Navy to receive Military Cross". The Times (London: Times Newspapers). Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- "First female Royal Navy medic awarded Military Cross". Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). 27 November 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- "British officer wins two gallantry awards for fending off Taliban attack with bayonet". Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). 12 September 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- Mackay, J and Mussell, J (eds) – Medals Yearbook – 2005, (2004), Token Publishing.
- Database of Australian Awardees at the Australian Government Honours website
- Search recommendations for the Military Cross on The UK National Archives' website.
- "The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, (Lancaster), Military Cross". kingsownmuseum.plus.com.
- Notes on numbers awarded