Military Cross
Military Cross
TypeMilitary decoration
Awarded for... gallantry during active operations against the enemy.[1]
DescriptionObverse: Straight armed silver cross, Royal Cypher in centre
Reverse: plain
Presented byUnited Kingdom and Commonwealth
EligibilityBritish, (and formerly) Commonwealth and allied forces
Established28 December 1914
First awarded1 January 1915 to 98 officers and warrant officers.[2]
TotalIncluding further awards:[3]
George V: c. 43,500
George VI: over 11,500
Elizabeth II: c. 750
Charles III: 0
Total recipients52,000+[4]

Military Cross ribbon:
without bar, and with one and two bars
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Conspicuous Gallantry Cross[5]
Next (lower)Distinguished Flying Cross[5]
RelatedMilitary Medal

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level (second-level until 1993) military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth 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 the British Armed Forces of any rank.[6] In 1979, Queen Elizabeth II approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could be recommended posthumously.[7]


The award was created on 28 December 1914 for commissioned officers of the substantive rank of captain or below and for warrant officers. The first 98 awards were gazetted on 1 January 1915, to 71 officers, and 27 warrant officers. Although posthumous recommendations for the Military Cross were unavailable until 1979, the first awards included seven posthumous awards, with the word 'deceased' after the name of the recipient, from recommendations that had been raised before the recipients died of wounds or died from other causes.[2]

Awards are announced in The London Gazette, apart from most honorary awards to allied forces in keeping with the usual practice not to gazette awards to foreigners.[8]

From August 1916, recipients of the Cross were entitled to use the post-nominal letters MC,[9] and bars could be awarded for further acts of gallantry meriting the award,[10] with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon when worn alone to denote the award of each bar.

From September 1916, members of the Royal Naval Division, who served alongside the Army on the Western Front, were made eligible for military decorations, including the Military Cross, for the war's duration.[11] Naval officers serving with the division received 140 MCs and eight second award bars.[3]

In June 1917, eligibility was extended to temporary majors, not above the substantive rank of captain.[12] Substantive majors were made eligible in 1953.[13]

In 1931, the award was extended to equivalent ranks in the Royal Air Force for actions on the ground.[14]

After the Second World War, most Commonwealth countries created their own honours system and no longer recommended British awards. The last Military Cross awards for the Canadian Army were for Korea. The last four Australian Army Military Cross awards were promulgated in The London Gazette on 1 September 1972 for Vietnam as was the last New Zealand Army Military Cross award, which was promulgated on 25 September 1970. Canada, Australia and New Zealand have now created their own gallantry awards under their own honours systems.

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, formerly the third-level decoration for other ranks, was discontinued. The MC is now the third-level award for all ranks of the British Armed Forces for "exemplary gallantry" on land, not to the standard required to receive the Victoria Cross (for "the most conspicuous bravery") or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.[15]


The Military Cross was designed by Henry Farnham Burke,[16][17] while its ribbon was created by Victoria Ponsonby, Baroness Sysonby.[17]

In the Medal Yearbook 2015 it is described as follows:[18]


Numbers awarded

Since 1914, over 52,000 Military Crosses and 3,717 bars have been awarded.[4][3] The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries:

Period Medals 1st bar 2nd bar 3rd bar Honorary
MC bars
World War I 1914–20 37,104 2,984 169 4 2,909[20]
Inter–War 1920–39 349 31
World War II 1939–46 10,386 482 24 438 3
Post–War 1947–79 643 20
Total 1914–79 48,482 3,517 193 4 3,347 3

In addition, approximately 375 MCs have been awarded since 1979, including awards for Northern Ireland, the Falklands, and the wars in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan.[21]

The above table includes awards to the Dominions:

Notable awards

See also: Category:Recipients of the Military Cross

Albert Jacka's MC[25] and bar[26]
MC awarded to 2nd Lt. E. W. Fane de Salis (1894–1980)[27]

See also


  1. ^ "Defence FactSheet: Military Honours and Awards". Archived from the original on 17 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b "No. 29024". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1914. pp. 7–9.
  3. ^ a b c d e Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd ed.. pp. 220–222.
  4. ^ a b Jenn Stowell (9 December 2020). "All The Gen On The Military Cross". Forces Network. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A–1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 August 2020. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  6. ^ "No. 56693". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 October 2002. p. 11146.
  7. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd ed.. p. xx.
  8. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition. p. 219.
  9. ^ Revised Royal Warrant, clause 8. "No. 29725". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 August 1916. p. 8472.
  10. ^ Revised Royal Warrant, clause 5. "No. 29725". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 August 1916. p. 8471.
  11. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd ed.. p. 217.
  12. ^ "The Military Cross, Royal Warrant of 25th June, 1917, amending the Third Clause of The Military Cross Warrant of 23rd August, 1916", War Office 3 July 1917 "No. 30161". The London Gazette. 3 July 1917. p. 6550.
  13. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd ed. p. 218.
  14. ^ "No. 33700". The London Gazette. 20 March 1931. p. 1890.
  15. ^ "Military Cross (MC)". Ministry of Defence. 12 December 2012 [Last updated 30 November 2021].
  16. ^ "The Military Cross: The New British War Decoration", Illustrated London News, vol. 146, no. 3959 (6 March 1915): 1.
  17. ^ a b Hoyte C. Evans, "Kitchener and the Military Cross", Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of America (March–April 1957): 14–15, accessed 3 November 2020,
  18. ^ a b John Mussell, Philip Mussell, Medal Yearbook 2015. p. 87.
  19. ^ Peter Duckers, British Gallantry Awards 1855–2000, pp. 26–27.
  20. ^ The World War I records are incomplete, see p. 220, British Gallantry Awards, (2nd ed), Abbott & Tamplin.
  21. ^ Post 1979 MCs include 16 for the Falklands (London Gazette Supplement, 8 October 1982); 11 for Gulf War (London Gazette Supplement, 29 June 1991); 84 for Iraq and 215+1 bar for Afghanistan, plus awards for Northern Ireland and smaller conflicts.
  22. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada – Military Cross (Retrieved 7 November 2018)
  23. ^ "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  24. ^ New Zealand Defence Force: British Commonwealth Gallantry Awards – The Military Cross (Retrieved 7 November 2018)
  25. ^ "No. 29824". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 November 1916. p. 11074.
  26. ^ "No. 30135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1917. p. 5983.
  27. ^ "No. 30111". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1917. p. 5478.
  28. ^ a b Scott Addington; For Conspicuous Gallantry... Winners of the Military Cross and Bar during the Great War. Volume 1 – Two Bars & Three Bars, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2006, pp. 343–352.
  29. ^ "No. 30901". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 September 1918. p. 10877. (Wallington)
  30. ^ "No. 31158". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 January 1919. p. 1617. (Bentley, Gilkes & Timms)
  31. ^ "The Award of the Military Cross to the City of Ypres, Belgium". Imperial War Museums.
  32. ^ Compton McKenzie (1951), Eastern Epic, Chatto & Windus, London, pp. 440–441.
  33. ^ "No. 48346". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 October 1980. p. 14608. (Westmacott)
  34. ^ "No. 58183". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 December 2006. p. 17359. (Norris)
  35. ^ Glendinning, Lee (22 March 2007). "Historic award for female private". The Guardian. UK. p. 8. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  36. ^ "No. 59182". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 September 2009. p. 15640. (Nesbitt)
  37. ^ "First female Royal Navy medic awarded Military Cross". The Daily Telegraph. London. 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  38. ^ "No. 58633". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 2008. p. 3613.
  39. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard (22 September 2009). "Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Has Been Awarded Military Cross". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2012.