Military Cross

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Military Cross
Military Cross.jpg
Military Cross
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
Description Silver cross with straight arms, Royal Cypher in centre (obverse)
(reverse) plain
Established 28 December 1914
First awarded 1 January 1915 to Lieutenant G. F. H. Brooke, 16th Lancers (Staff Captain).[2]
Total awarded George V: over 40,000
George VI: over 11,000
Elizabeth II: not published[3]
over 48,000
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Distinguished Service Cross[4]
Next (lower) Distinguished Flying Cross[4]
Related Military Medal
Military cross BAR.svg

Military cross w bar BAR.svg

Military cross w 2bars BAR.svg

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 used to be awarded 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".[5] In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could be awarded posthumously.[6]


The award was created on 28 December 1914[7] 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[8] and recipients of a bar continue to use postnominal letters MC.[9] 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.[10]


  • 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.

Notable awards[edit]

Albert Jacka's MC and bar, gazetted in 1916
MC awarded to 2nd Lt. E. W. Fane de Salis (1894-1980).[11]
  • During World War I, Acting Captain Francis 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).[12][13] 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.[12][14]
  • 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."[15]
  • 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.[16]
  • 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.[17][18][19]
  • 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.[20][21][22]
  • Sergeant Michael Lockett MC was the first holder of the MC to be killed in action since World War II.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Defence FactSheet: Military Honours and Awards". Archived from the original on 17 Apr 2010.
  2. ^ "No. 29024". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1914. pp. 7–9.
  3. ^ Mussell, John W. (2014). Medal Yearbook 2014. Honiton, Devon: Token Publishing. ISBN 978-1-908-828-11-8.
  4. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  5. ^ "No. 56693". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 October 2002. p. 11146.
  6. ^ P E Abbott and J M A Tamplin; British Gallantry Awards, 1981, Nimrod Dix and Co, ISBN 0-902633-74-0, p. xx.
  7. ^ Royal Warrant: "No. 29024". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1914. p. 7.
  8. ^ Clause 5 The Military Cross. Revisied Royal Warrant. "No. 29725". The London Gazette. 25 August 1916. p. 8471.
  9. ^ Clause 8 The Military Cross. Revisied Royal Warrant. "No. 29725". The London Gazette. 25 August 1916. p. 8472.
  10. ^ "Military Cross (MC)". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  11. ^ Given whilst serving with 1/8th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (D.C.O.) or later when with K.R.R.C. (from 31.8.1915)
  12. ^ a b Scott Addington; For Conspicuous Gallantry... Winners of the Military Cross and Bar during the Great War. Volume 1 – Two Bars & Three Bars, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2006, pp.343–352.
  13. ^ "No. 30901". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 September 1918. p. 10877. (Wallington)
  14. ^ "No. 31158". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 January 1919. p. 1617. (Bentley, Gilkes & Timms)
  15. ^ Compton McKenzie (1951), Eastern Epic, Chatto & Windus, London, pp. 440–1.
  16. ^ "No. 48346". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 October 1980. p. 14608. (Westmacott)
  17. ^ "No. 58183". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 December 2006. p. 17359. (Norris)
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "No. 59182". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 September 2009. p. 15640. (Nesbitt)
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "First female Royal Navy medic awarded Military Cross". Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2010.


  • Mackay, J and Mussell, J (eds) – Medals Yearbook – 2005, (2004), Token Publishing.

External links[edit]