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The Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
(DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth of Nations, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.

Contents

1 Creation 2 Modern era 3 Nomenclature 4 Description 5 Notable recipients 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Creation[edit] Instituted on 6 September 1886 by Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
in a Royal Warrant published in The London Gazette
The London Gazette
on 9 November,[5] the first DSOs awarded were dated 25 November 1886.[6] It is typically awarded to officers ranked major (or its equivalent) or higher, but the honour has sometimes been awarded to especially valorous junior officers. During the First World War, 8,981 DSOs were awarded, each award being announced in The London Gazette. The order was established for rewarding individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war. It was a military order, until recently for officers only, and normally given for service under fire or under conditions equivalent to service in actual combat with the enemy, although it was awarded between 1914 and 1916 under circumstances which could not be regarded as under fire (often to staff officers, which caused resentment among front-line officers). After 1 January 1917, commanders in the field were instructed to recommend this award only for those serving under fire. Prior to 1943, the order could be given only to someone mentioned in despatches. The order is generally given to officers in command, above the rank of captain. A number of more junior officers were awarded the DSO, and this was often regarded as an acknowledgement that the officer had only just missed out on the award of the Victoria Cross.[7] In 1942, the award of the DSO was extended to officers of the Merchant Navy
Merchant Navy
who had performed acts of gallantry while under enemy attack.[8] Modern era[edit] Since 1993, its award has been restricted solely to distinguished service (i.e. leadership and command by any rank), with the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
being introduced as the second highest award for gallantry. It has, however, despite some very fierce campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, remained an officers-only award and it has yet to be awarded to a non-commissioned rank.[9] Nomenclature[edit] Recipients of the order are officially known as Companions of the Distinguished Service Order. They are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DSO". One or more gold medal bars ornamented by the Crown may be issued to DSO holders performing further acts of such leadership which would have merited award of the DSO. The bars are worn as clasps on the medal ribbon of the original award.[9] Description[edit]

The medal signifying its award is a gold (silver-gilt) cross, enamelled white and edged in gold. In the centre, within a wreath of laurel, enamelled green, is the imperial crown in gold upon a red enamelled background.[9] On the reverse is the royal cypher in gold upon a red enamelled ground, within a wreath of laurel, enamelled green. A ring at the top of the medal attaches to a ring at the bottom of a gold "suspension" bar, ornamented with laurel. At the top of the ribbon is a second gold bar ornamented with laurel.[7] The red ribbon is 1.125 in (2.86 cm) wide with narrow blue edges. The medals are issued unnamed but some recipients have had their names engraved on the reverse of the suspension bar.[7] The bar for an additional award is plain gold with an Imperial Crown in the centre. The back of the bar is engraved with the year of the award. A rosette is worn on the ribbon in undress uniform to signify the award of a bar.[10]

Notable recipients[edit] See also: Category:Companions of the Distinguished Service Order The following received the DSO and three bars (i.e., were awarded the DSO four times):

Archibald Walter Buckle, rose from being a naval rating in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve to command the Anson Battalion of the Royal Naval Division during the First World War. William Denman Croft,[11] First World War
First World War
army officer William Robert Aufrere Dawson, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment during the First World War, wounded nine times and mentioned in despatches four times Basil Embry, Second World War Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
officer Bernard Freyberg, also awarded Victoria Cross Edward Albert Gibbs, Second World War destroyer captain[12] Arnold Jackson, British Army officer and 1500 metres Olympic gold medal winner in 1912 Douglas Kendrew, served as a brigade commander in Italy, Greece and the Middle East between 1944 and 1946. Subsequently appointed Governor of Western Australia. Robert Sinclair Knox, First World War
First World War
British Army officer.[13] Frederick William Lumsden, British Army officer. Also awarded Victoria Cross Paddy Mayne, Special Air Service
Special Air Service
commander and Irish rugby player Sir Richard George Onslow, Second World War destroyer captain and later admiral[14] Alastair Pearson, a British Army officer who received his four awards within the space of two years during the Second World War James Brian Tait, RAF pilot also awarded the DFC and bar, completed 101 bombing missions in the Second World War. Frederic John Walker, Second World War British Navy captain and U-boat hunter Edward Allan Wood,[15] First World War
First World War
army officer

See also[edit]

Military awards and decorations of the United Kingdom British and Commonwealth orders and decorations

References[edit]

^ Defence InternetFact SheetsGuide to Honours Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Medal
Medal
Yearbook 2013. Honiton, Devon: Token. 2013. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-908828-00-2.  ^ Precedence of the British orders – Website of Burke's Peerage & Gentry ^ "No. 35729". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 2 October 1942. p. 4328.  ^ "No. 25641". The London Gazette. 9 November 1886. pp. 5385–5386.  ^ "No. 25650". The London Gazette. 9 November 1886. pp. 5975–5976.  ^ a b c "Orders and Decorations – Distinguished Service Order". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 17 February 2010.  ^ "British Commonwealth Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards – Companion of the Distinguished Service Order". New Zealand defence force. Retrieved 17 February 2010.  ^ a b c "Distinguished Service Order". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 17 February 2010.  ^ "The British (Imperial) Distinguished Service Order". Vietnam veterans association of Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2010.  ^ "No. 31183". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 14 February 1919. p. 2363.  ^ "No. 36081". The London Gazette. 2 July 1943. p. 3056.  ^ "No. 13510". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 8 October 1919. p. 3185.  ^ "No. 36771". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 27 October 1944. p. 4977.  ^ Bourne, John. "Edward Allan Wood". Centre for First World War Studies. Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Distinguished Service Order.

UK Cabinet Office, Honours System: Orders of Chivalry Search recommendations for the DSO on The UK National Archives' website.

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Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom

Orders

Current

Garter Thistle Bath Merit St Michael and St George Royal Victorian Distinguished Service British Empire Imperial Service Companions of Honour St John

Dormant

St Patrick Royal Guelphic Crown of India Star of India Indian Empire Indian Merit British India Burma

Other

Royal Victorian Chain Hereditary peerage Life peerage Privy Counsellor Baronet Knight Bachelor Aide-de-camp
Aide-de-camp
(ADC) Honours of other Commonwealth realms

Current awards

Level 1

Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
(VC) George Cross
George Cross
(GC)

Level 2A

Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
(DSO) Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
(CGC) Royal Red Cross
Royal Red Cross
Class I (RRC)

Level 2B

George Medal
Medal
(GM) Queen's Police Medal, for Gallantry (QPM) Queen's Fire Service Medal, for Gallantry (QFSM)

Level 3A

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Military Cross
Military Cross
(MC) Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Air Force Cross (AFC) Royal Red Cross
Royal Red Cross
Class II (ARRC)

Level 3B

Constabulary Medal
Medal
(Ireland) Sea Gallantry Medal
Medal
(SGM) Queen's Gallantry Medal
Medal
(QGM) Royal Victorian Medal
Medal
(RVM) British Empire Medal
Medal
(BEM) Queen's Police Medal, for Distinguished Service (QPM) Queen's Fire Service Medal, for Distinguished Service (QFSM) Queen's Ambulance Service Medal
Medal
(QAM) Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal
Medal
(QVRM) Polar Medal
Medal
(PM) Imperial Service Medal
Medal
(ISM) Overseas Territories Police Medal
Medal
(CPM) Merchant Navy
Merchant Navy
Medal
Medal
for Meritorious Service

Level 4

Mentioned in Despatches Queen's Commendation for Bravery Queen's Commendation for Bravery
Queen's Commendation for Bravery
in the Air Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service

Other

Badge of Honour

Obsolete awards

Level 1

Indian Order of Merit
Order of Merit
(First Class) (IOM) Albert Medal
Medal
(1st class) (AM) Edward Medal
Medal
(1st class) (EM) Empire Gallantry Medal
Medal
(EGM)

Level 2A

Indian Order of Merit
Order of Merit
(Second Class) (IOM) Distinguished Conduct Medal
Medal
(DCM) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Medal
(CGM) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Medal
(Flying) (CGM)

Level 2B

Albert Medal
Medal
(2nd class) (AM) Edward Medal
Medal
(2nd class) (EM) Union of South Africa
South Africa
King's Medal
Medal
for Bravery, Gold

Level 3A

Order of British India
Order of British India
(First Class) (OBI) Order of British India
Order of British India
(Second Class) (OBI) Indian Order of Merit
Order of Merit
(Third Class) (IOM) Royal West African Frontier Force Distinguished Conduct Medal King's African Rifles Distinguished Conduct Medal Indian Distinguished Service Medal
Medal
(IDSM) Distinguished Service Medal
Medal
(DSM) Military Medal
Medal
(MM) Distinguished Flying Medal
Medal
(DFM) Air Force Medal
Medal
(AFM) Burma Gallantry Medal
Medal
(BGM)

Level 3B

Union of South Africa
South Africa
Queen's Medal
Medal
for Bravery (Silver) Kaisar-i-Hind Medal
Medal
(Gold, Silver, Bronze) Indian Police Medal, for Gallantry Ceylon Police Medal, for Gallantry Sierra Leone Police Medal, for Gallantry Sierra Leone Fire Brigades Medal, for Gallantry Colonial Police Medal, for Gallantry (CPM) Canada Medal
Medal
(CM) Queen's Medal
Medal
for Chiefs Indian Police Medal, for Meritorious Service Ceylon Police Medal, for Merit Sierra Leone Police Medal, for Meritorious Service Sierra Leone Fire Brigades Medal, for Meritorious Service

Level 4

King's/Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct King's/ Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
in the Air

Royal family orders

King George IV Victoria and Albert King Edward VII King George V King George VI Queen Elizabeth II

See also British campaign medals Revocations

v t e

Former decorations of Australia

Australian Honours Order of Precedence prior to 6 October 1992

Orders of chivalry

Most Honourable Order of the Bath

Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
(GCB) Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
(KCB/DCB) Companion of the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
(CB)

Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George

Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG/DCMG) Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Order of St Michael and St George
(CMG)

Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

/ Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(GBE) / Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(KBE/DBE) / Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(CBE) / Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(OBE) / Member of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(MBE)

Imperial Service Order

Companion of the Imperial Service Order
Imperial Service Order
(ISO)

Order of the Companions of Honour

Companion of the Order of the Companions of Honour
Order of the Companions of Honour
(CH)

Miscellaneous

Hereditary peer Life peer Baronet Knight Bachelor

Military gallantry/bravery decorations

In the face of the enemy

Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
(VC) Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
(DSO) Distinguished Conduct Medal
Medal
(DCM) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Medal
(CGM) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Medal
(Flying) (CGM) Military Cross
Military Cross
(MC) Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Military Medal
Medal
(MM) Distinguished Flying Medal
Medal
(DFM) Mentioned in dispatches

Not the face of the enemy

Air Force Cross (AFC) Air Force Medal
Medal
(AFM) Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct

Distinguished service decorations

In the face of the enemy

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Distinguished Service Medal
Medal
(DSM)

Not the face of the enemy

Queen's Police Medal
Medal
for Distinguished Service (QPM) Queen's Fire Service Medal
Medal
for Distinguished Service (QFSM)

Civil bravery decorations

George Cross
George Cross
(GC) Albert Medal, First Class (AM) Albert Medal, First Class (Sea) (AM) Albert Medal, Second Class (AM) Albert Medal, Second Class (Sea) (AM) George Medal
Medal
(GM) Queen's Police Medal
Medal
for Gallantry (QPM) Queen's Fire Service Medal
Medal
for Gallantry (QFSM) Sea Gallantry Medal
Medal
(SGM) Queen's Gallantry Medal
Medal
(QGM) Edward Medal
Medal
(EM) Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct

Nursing service

Member of the Royal Red Cross
Royal Red Cross
(RRC) Associate of the Royal Red Cross
Royal Red Cross
(ARRC)

Meritorious service

/ British Empire Medal
Medal
(BEM) Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service

v t e

South African military decorations and medals

Sorted in order of wear per era or 1994 constituent force

Pre-Union until 6 April 1952

Victoria Cross Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst Distinguished Service Order Distinguished Service Cross Military Cross Distinguished Flying Cross Air Force Cross Distinguished Conduct Medal Distinguished Conduct Medal
Medal
(Natal) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Medal
(Flying) Distinguished Service Medal Military Medal Distinguished Flying Medal Air Force Medal British Empire Medal
Medal
(Military) South Africa
South Africa
Medal
Medal
(1854) South Africa
South Africa
Medal
Medal
(1880) Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal Queen's South Africa
South Africa
Medal Medalje voor de Anglo-Boere Oorlog Lint voor Verwonding King's South Africa
South Africa
Medal Natal Native Rebellion Medal 1914–15 Star British War Medal Victory Medal
Medal
(South Africa) Mercantile Marine War Medal 1939–1945 Star Atlantic Star Arctic Star Air Crew Europe Star Africa Star Pacific Star Burma Star Italy Star France and Germany Star Defence Medal War Medal Africa Service Medal King George V
George V
Coronation Medal King George V
George V
Silver Jubilee Medal King George VI
George VI
Coronation Medal Meritorious Service Medal
Medal
(United Kingdom) Meritorious Service Medal
Medal
(Cape of Good Hope) Meritorious Service Medal
Medal
(Natal) Meritorious Service Medal
Medal
(South Africa) Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
Medal
(Cape of Good Hope) Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
Medal
(Natal) Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas Medal Medal
Medal
for Long Service and Good Conduct (South Africa) Volunteer Officers' Decoration for India and the Colonies Volunteer Long Service Medal
Medal
for India and the Colonies Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal Efficiency Decoration (South Africa) Efficiency Medal
Medal
(South Africa) Decoration for Officers of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Long Service and Good Conduct Medal Air Efficiency Award King's Medal
Medal
for Champion Shots in the Military Forces Union of South Africa
South Africa
Commemoration Medal South African Medal
Medal
for War Services Sir Harry Smith's Medal
Medal
for Gallantry (Unofficial) Johannesburg Vrijwilliger Corps Medal
Medal
(Unofficial) Kimberley Star
Kimberley Star
(Unofficial) Cape Copper Company Medal
Medal
for the Defence of O'okiep (Unofficial)

1952–1994

Honoris Crux Gold Star of South Africa, Gold Star of South Africa, Silver Star of South Africa
South Africa
(1952) Louw Wepener Decoration Honoris Crux (1952) Honoris Crux Silver Van Riebeeck Decoration Honoris Crux (1975) Pro Virtute Decoration Southern Cross Decoration Pro Merito Decoration Van Riebeeck Medal Louw Wepener Medal Ad Astra Decoration Army Cross Air Force Cross Navy Cross Medical Service Cross Southern Cross Medal
Medal
(1952) Pro Merito Medal
Medal
(1967) Southern Cross Medal
Medal
(1975) Pro Merito Medal
Medal
(1975) Danie Theron Medal Jack Hindon Medal Military Merit Medal Korea Medal Pro Patria Medal Southern Africa Medal General Service Medal
Medal
(South Africa) Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
Coronation Medal Medal
Medal
for Distinguished Conduct and Loyal Service Good Service Medal, Gold John Chard Decoration De Wet Decoration Cadet Corps Medal Good Service Medal, Silver Union Medal Permanent Force Good Service Medal John Chard Medal Good Service Medal, Bronze De Wet Medal Queen's Medal
Medal
for Champion Shots in the Military Forces Commandant General's Medal SADF Champion Shot Medal National Cadet Bisley Grand Champion Medal

Transkei

Cross for Bravery Transkei Defence Force Medal Independence Medal
Medal
(Transkei) Military Rule Medal Faithful Service Medal

Bophuthatswana

Order of the Leopard, Military Division, Commander Distinguished Gallantry Cross Defence Force Merit Decoration Distinguished Gallantry Medal Defence Force Merit Medal Marumo Medal, Class I Defence Force Commendation Medal Marumo Medal, Class II Nkwe Medal General Service Medal
Medal
(Bophuthatswana) Independence Medal
Medal
(Bophuthatswana) Medal
Medal
for Long Service and Good Conduct, Gold Medal
Medal
for Long Service and Good Conduct, Silver Medal
Medal
for Long Service and Good Conduct, Bronze State President's Medal
Medal
for Shooting

Venda

Gallantry Cross, Gold Gallantry Cross, Silver Distinguished Service Medal, Gold Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Venda Defence Force Medal General Service Medal
Medal
(Venda) Independence Medal
Medal
(Venda) Long Service Medal, Gold Long Service Medal, Silver Long Service Medal, Bronze

Ciskei

Sandile Decoration Sandile Medal Chief C.D.F. Commendation Medal Ciskei Defence Medal Independence Medal
Medal
(Ciskei) Medal
Medal
for Long Service, Bronze President's Medal
Medal
for Shooting

Umkhonto we Sizwe

Star for Bravery in Gold Star for Bravery in Silver Conspicuous Leadership Star Decoration for Merit in Gold Merit Medal
Medal
in Silver Merit Medal
Medal
in Bronze Operational Medal
Medal
for Southern Africa South Africa
South Africa
Service Medal Service Medal
Medal
in Gold Service Medal
Medal
in Silver Service Medal
Medal
in Bronze

Azanian People's Liberation Army

Gold Star for Bravery Bravery Star in Silver Star for Conspicuous Leadership Gold Decoration for Merit Silver Medal
Medal
for Merit Bronze Medal
Medal
for Merit Operational Medal
Medal
for Southern Africa South Africa
South Africa
Service Medal Gold Service Medal Silver Service Medal Bronze Service Medal

From 1994

Nkwe ya Gauta Nkwe ya Selefera iPhrothiya yeGolide Nkwe ya Boronse iPhrothiya yeSiliva iPhrothiya yeBhronzi Tshumelo Ikatelaho Unitas Medal Closure Commemoration Medal Medal

.