RAF Medals

RAF Medals

The Royal Air Force had its own gallantry medals during World War One and these were used during the Battle of Britain. Up until 1993, officers and warrant officers received different styles of medals when compared to other ranks officers being awarded a cross of some description while non-officers a medal of some description. A Victoria Cross, the highest medal for gallantry in the face of the enemy in the British and Commonwealth military, was awarded only once during the Battle of Britain to James Nicolson. Other than the VC, the highest medals for valour awarded to personnel in Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain were the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). The Air Force Cross and the Air Force Medal were also awarded.

 

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) was awarded on numerous occasions during the Battle of Britain. From its inception, the Distinguished Flying Cross was only awarded to officers and warrant officers in the Royal Air Force and air forces from Commonwealth countries; non-commissioned ranks were awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. During World War Two the Distinguished Flying Cross was also awarded to men in the Army who flew gliders during airborne attacks such as at D-Day.

 

The criteria considered for the medal is for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".

 

The Distinguished Flying Cross was first awarded on June 3rd 1918 and was designed by Edward Carter Preston.

 

It replaced the DFM for non-commissioned officers in 1993; after this date, non-commissioned ranks received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

 

During World War Two, 20,354 DFCs were awarded more than any other bravery award. 1,550 bars were awarded to those already holding a DFC while 45 men received a second bar to their medal. 964 honorary DFCs were awarded to aircrew from air forces that were not from the Commonwealth.

 

The Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) was awarded to non-commissioned ranks in the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth air forces though Warrant Officers could also be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1993, the Distinguished Flying Cross replaced the Distinguished Flying Medal and the DFC is now awarded to all ranks. The DFM was awarded for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".

 

The medal was introduced on June 3rd 1918.

 

During World War One, 105 DFMs were awarded.

 

During World War Two, 6,637 DFMs were awarded. Sixty of these recipents later added a bar to their medal. Only one man, Flight Sergeant Donald Kingaby, was awarded a second bar to his DFM.

 

165 DFMs were awarded during the war in an honorary capacity to airmen from non-Commonwealth countries.

 

The Air Force Cross was introduced in June 1918 and was awarded for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy". The Air Force Cross was originally intended for RAF commissioned officers and Warrant Officers only but this was expanded after World War Two to include the Army and Navy. In 1993, in a move similar to the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Flying Medal, the Air Force Cross replaced the Air Force Medal for non-commissioned personnel.

 

In World War One 680 Air Force Crosses were awarded and in World War Two 2,001 with 26 recipients adding a bar after being awarded the AFC twice. In 1944, Wing Commander H Wilson was awarded a second bar to his AFC the only man to be honoured in this way. During World War Two, 58 honorary AFCs were awarded to non-Commonwealth personnel.


MLA Citation/Reference

"RAF Medals". HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2011. Web.






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