Distinguished Conduct Medal
The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was (until 1993) an extremely high level award for bravery. It was a second level military decoration
Military decoration
A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. They are designed to be worn on military uniform....

 awarded to other ranks
Other Ranks
Other Ranks in the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force are those personnel who are not commissioned officers. In the Royal Navy, these personnel are called ratings...

 of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...


The medal was instituted in 1854, during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

, to recognise gallantry within the other ranks, for which it was equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 (DSO) awarded for bravery to commissioned officers, but the DCM ranked well below the DCO 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 VC".
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 specifically for gallantry and of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal was, until 1993, a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Armed Forces and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy at sea...

). These three decorations were replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is a second level military decoration of the United Kingdom armed forces. Created in 1993 and first awarded in 1995, it was instituted after a review of the British honours system to remove distinctions of rank in the awarding of gallantry decorations...

, which now serves as the second level award for gallantry for all ranks across the whole armed forces.

Medal bar
A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It is most commonly used to indicate the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the...

 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
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...



  • A silver medal 36 mm 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
    Bay Laurel
    The bay laurel , also known as sweet bay, bay tree, true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree, or simply laurel, is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. It is the source of the bay leaf used in cooking...

     wreaths in 1916.

Ribbon bars of the Distinguished Conduct Medal


DCM and Bar

Example of citation from London Gazette (10 January 1920, page 430)

See also

  • :Category:Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • British and Commonwealth orders and decorations
  • Veterans Affairs Canada: DCM
  • Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal 1914-1920 by Robert Walker ISBN (090745500X).
  • Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1855–1909, A List with other Details of all who Received the Medal before the Outbreak of World War 1 by Peter E. Abbott ISBN (0903754096)

External links

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