Military Cross
Overview
 
The Military Cross is the third-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 officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

; and formerly also to officers 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...

 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 in 1914 for commissioned officers
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 of the substantive rank of Captain or below and for Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

s.
Encyclopedia
The Military Cross is the third-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 officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

; and formerly also to officers 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...

 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.

History

The award was created in 1914 for commissioned officers
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 of the substantive rank of Captain or below and for Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

s. In 1931 the award was extended to Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

s and also to members of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 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
Military Medal
The Military Medal was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land....

, formerly the third-level decoration for 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...

, has been discontinued. The MC now serves as the third-level award for gallantry on land for all ranks of the British Armed Forces.

Bars
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...

 are awarded to the MC in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award. Recipients are entitled to the postnominal letters MC.

Description

  • 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
    Imperial State Crown
    The Imperial State Crown is one of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.- Design :The Crown is of a design similar to St Edward's Crown: it includes a base of four crosses pattée alternating with four fleurs-de-lis, above which are four half-arches surmounted by a cross. Inside is a velvet cap...

    , with the Royal Cypher
    Royal Cypher
    In modern heraldry, a royal cypher is a monogram-like device of a country's reigning sovereign, typically consisting of the initials of the monarch's name and title, sometimes interwoven and often surmounted by a crown. In the case where such a cypher is used by an emperor or empress, it is called...

     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

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
    Royal Field Artillery
    The Royal Field Artillery of the British Army provided artillery support for the British Army. It came into being when the Royal Artillery was divided on 1 July 1899, it was reamalgamated back into the Royal Artillery in 1924....

     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 I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    , the 39th Garhwal Battalion was led by Rana Jodha Jang Bahadur with great courage and gallantry which earnt him a Military Cross in the Battle of Loos in France. In spite of being wounded, he continued to lead his men against the Germans and did not desist until a second wound rendered him unconscious. He received 5 bullet wounds in the neck and upper shoulder during The Great War, and recovered in Europe.

  • During World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    , Captain Herbert Owen Meredith Lambert was commanding "A" Company of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment
    The Lincoln and Welland Regiment
    The Lincoln and Welland Regiment is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces based in St Catharines and Welland, Ontario.The Regimental Colonel-in-Chief is The Countess of Wessex and...

    , 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division. On the night of 28/29 October 1944 the Lincoln and Welland Regiment
    The Lincoln and Welland Regiment
    The Lincoln and Welland Regiment is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces based in St Catharines and Welland, Ontario.The Regimental Colonel-in-Chief is The Countess of Wessex and...

     was ordered to establish a bridgehead over the canals on the north edge of Bergen op Zoom
    Bergen op Zoom
    Bergen op Zoom is a municipality and a city located in the south of the Netherlands.-History:Bergen op Zoom was granted city status probably in 1266. In 1287 the city and its surroundings became a lordship as it was separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a margraviate...

    . The task was extremely difficult as the objective lay beyond two canals and a steep railway embankment. The water in the canals was deep and very cold and the banks were covered by wire obstructions. Captain Lambert was in command of “A” Company which was to lead the attack and, in view of the difficult conditions, he personally led the company to ensure that it would not become lost. The crossing was made in the face of intense mortar and MG fire. By the time the company reached the factory which was its objective, only 15 men were left. It was soon discovered that none of the weapons would fire due to the mud and water through which the men had passed. Captain Lambert decided that the position must be held, even though it meant facing a numerically superior enemy with a force armed with only bayonets, knives and 36 grenades. At about 0130 hours the enemy attacked the factory with grenades, infantry, anti-tank projectors and MG’s and continued to attack with increasing ferocity until the company was relieved at first light the following morning. Through it all the fifteen men led by Captain Lambert held firm. The 36 grenades were used with such care and accuracy that severe casualties were inflicted upon the enemy. When the relief was finally effected only two grenades were left. There can be no doubt that the example and inspired leadership shown by Captain Lambert resulted in the establishment of this bridgehead against seemingly overwhelming opposition. The courage and complete disregard for personal safety exhibited by this officer was an example and an inspiration to all ranks of the battalion. Captain Lambert was later promoted to Major. He died on 26 January 1945 at Kapelsche Veer during the Battle of the Scheldt
    Battle of the Scheldt
    The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations of the Canadian 1st Army, led by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands during World War II from 2 October-8 November 1944...

    , when a building he was taking with other members of his unit exploded. Major Lambert was known as the "Crazy Major". He was laid to rest at the Canadian Military cemetery in Bergen Op Zoom
    Bergen op Zoom
    Bergen op Zoom is a municipality and a city located in the south of the Netherlands.-History:Bergen op Zoom was granted city status probably in 1266. In 1287 the city and its surroundings became a lordship as it was separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a margraviate...

    .

  • During World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     Captain Sam Manekshaw
    Sam Manekshaw
    Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, MC "Sam Bahadur" was a Field Marshal of the Indian Army. His distinguished military career spanned four decades and five wars...

    , Indian Army
    Indian Army
    The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer 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
    Herbert Westmacott
    Captain Herbert Richard Westmacott MC was a Special Air Service officer who became the first person to be awarded a posthumous Military Cross...

     (491354), Grenadier Guards
    Grenadier Guards
    The Grenadier Guards is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It is the most senior regiment of the Guards Division and, as such, is the most senior regiment of infantry. It is not, however, the most senior regiment of the Army, this position being attributed to the Life 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
    Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire
    The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the King's Division. It was created in 1958 by the amalgamation of The West Yorkshire Regiment and The East Yorkshire Regiment...

     was awarded an MC for his part in the Battle of Danny Boy
    Battle of Danny Boy
    The Battle of Danny Boy took place at Al Amara in Iraq on 14 May 2004, between British soldiers and about 100 Iraqi insurgents, members of the Mahdi Army....

    .

  • The first woman to be awarded the Military Cross was Private Michelle Norris
    Michelle Norris
    Michelle Suzanne Claire “Chuck” Norris MC, RAMC is a British lance corporal and medic noted for heroism in the 2003 Iraq conflict.-Early life:Norris was born at Stourbridge, West Midlands, England.-Military career:...

     of the Royal Army Medical Corps
    Royal Army Medical Corps
    The Royal Army Medical Corps is a specialist corps in the British Army which provides medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace...

    , while attached to The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
    Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
    "PWRR" redirects here. For the railroad with these reporting marks, see Portland and Western Railroad.The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment is the senior English line infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Queen's Division...

     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
    Kate Nesbitt
    Kate Louise Nesbitt MC is the first female member of the British Royal Navy, and the second woman in the British Armed Forces, to be awarded the Military Cross...

    , 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
    Lieutenant
    A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

     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 ammo. He immediately bayonet charged a second insurgent and bayonetted him.

See also

:Category:Recipients of the Military Cross

External links

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