Background: Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1854 to recognise the many acts of gallantry being performed by troops in the Crimea, specifically “distinguished, gallant and good conduct in the field”. The DCM preceeded the Victoria Cross by two years after which it became the second highest award for gallantry. It was the oldest awarded gallantry medal until its replacement by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) in 1992. Some 25,000 DCM´s were awarded during World War One with less than one tenth of this number awarded from 1939 until its replacement in the 1992 honours re-organisation. No longer awarded.
Design: The medal is struck in silver. Initially the medal bore a trophy of arms on the obverse but this was replaced by the head of the reigning monarch from the accession of King Edward VII. The reverse is inscribed “FOR DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT IN THE FIELD” underlined by a laurel wreath between two spear blades. The suspender of the medal is an ornamented scroll pattern. Each medal is engraved with the recipient’s number, rank, name and regiment or corps around the rim. The dark crimson ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 10 millimetres wide navy blue vertical band in the centre.
Bars: Bars to the medal were introduced in 1881 for subsequent acts of bravery for which the medal would have been awarded. Initially these bars carried the date of the action in raised characters on the face of the bar however these were replaced by a standard laurelled bar in 1916.