Background: The Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) was created on 3 June 1918, along with the Distinguished Flying Cross, as the equivalent third level award to Other Ranks of the RAF for “an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.” Due to its late introduction, only 104 Distinguished Flying Medals were awarded during WW1 with one second award. A further 79 awards of the DFM were made between the wars. In WW2 a total of 6,637 DFMs were awarded, with 60 second award bars. At least 170 Honorary DFM’s and 2 Honorary Bars have been awarded to aircrew from other non-Commonwealth countries. The DFM was discontinued in 1993 and from that date, the Distinguished Flying Cross can be awarded to personnel of all ranks.

Design: The silver medal is different in that it is oval in shape being 35 mm wide and 41 mm long. The obverse shows a bareheaded effigy of the reigning sovereign. The reverse shown here shows a representation of Athena Nike seated on an aeroplane, a hawk rising from her right arm above the words ‘FOR COURAGE’, all contained within a laurel wreath. A bomb is attached to the clasp and ribbon by two wings. The ribbon is 32 mm wide and consists of alternate violet and white diagonal stripes leaning 45 degrees to the left. A violet stripe is to appear in the bottom left and upper right corners when viewed on the wearer’s chest. Until 1919, the stripes were horizontal.

Bars: Further awards of the DFM are signified by a straight slip-on silver bar with an eagle in the centre worn on the ribbon. When the ribbon only is worn, a silver rosette is worn centrally on the ribbon.