Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)

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Military decoration

3 June 1918

Currently awarded

Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)

British, Commonwealth, and allied forces

Awarded for
... exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy in the air.

Total awarded
George V: 11,227George VI: 21,657Total: 32,884

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, instituted for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".



The award was established on 3 June 1918, shortly after the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was originally awarded to RAF commissioned and warrant officers. During the Second World War, it was also awarded to Royal Artillery officers serving on attachment to the RAF as pilots-cum-artillery observers. Since the Second World War, the award has been open to army and naval aviation officers, and to other ranks since 1993, when the Distinguished Flying Medal, which had until then been awarded to other ranks, was discontinued. Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DFC". A bar is added to the ribbon for holders of the DFC who received a second award.

During the First World War, approximately 1,100 DFCs were awarded, with 70 first bars and 3-second bars. During the Second World War, 20,354 DFCs were awarded, the most of any award, with approximately 1,550 first bars and 45-second bars.

Honorary awards were made on 964 occasions to aircrew from other non-Commonwealth countries.


The decoration is a cross flory and is 2⅛ inches wide. The horizontal and bottom bars are terminated with bumps, the upper bar with a rose. The decoration's face features aeroplane propellers, superimposed on the vertical arms of the cross, and wings on the horizontal arms. In the centre is a laurel wreath around the RAF monogram, surmounted by an Imperial Crown.

The reverse features the Royal Cypher in the centre and the year of issue engraved on the lower arm. The decoration is issued named.

The ribbon was originally white with purple broad horizontal stripes, but it was changed in 1919 to the current white with purple broad diagonal stripes.

The decoration was designed by Edward Carter Preston.

Notable awards

  • John Balmer, RAAF pilot
  • Roy Calvert; RNZAF pilot who was awarded the DFC three times.
  • Harry Cobby; flying ace of the Australian Flying Corps who was awarded the DFC three times.
  • Gordon Cochrane; RNZAF pilot who was awarded the DFC three times.
  • Flight Lieutenant Michelle Goodman; in 2008, she became the first woman to be awarded the DFC.
  • Harold Whistler; Royal Flying Corps flying ace who was awarded the DFC three times
  • Arjan Singh; Indian Air Force was awarded the DFC. He later become Marshal of Indian Air Force
  • Mohinder Singh Pujji; Indian Air Force was awarded the DFC.
  • Wing Commander Anthony Francis Carlisle, RAF DFC & Bar – 21 Squadron 2nd Tactical Airforce awarded 26 July 1945 (taken from reverse of the medal)
  • Group Captain Peter Woolridge Townsend; Royal Air Force CVO, DSO, DFC & Bar (22 November 1914 – 19 June 1995) was a British Royal Air Force officer, flying ace, courtier and author. He was Equerry to King George VI 1944–1952 and held the same position for Queen Elizabeth II 1952–1953. Townsend also had a romance with Princess Margaret.
  • James Douglas Hudson; DFC AE RAFVR [1]
  • References

    Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom) Wikipedia