Background: Originally created in 1901 as the Conspicuous Service Cross for award to Warrant Officers and junior officers who were ineligible for the DSO. The award was renamed the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in October 1914 and became the third level gallantry decoration for officers in the Army. Its eligibility was extended to include officers of the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Merchant Navy. Since 1993, the DSC may be awarded to all ranks of the Services in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea. The DSC may be awarded posthumously. Just over 2,000 awards of the DSC have been made.

Design: The DSC is a plain silver cross with rounded edges. The obverse shown here has a circular centre within which is the Royal Cypher of the reigning monarch at the time of award. From 1940, the year of issue has been engraved on the lower limb of the cross. The reverse is plain apart from the hallmark and the ribbon is attached via a hall-marked silver ring. The ribbon has three equal vertical stripes of dark blue, white and dark blue.

Bars: Since 1916, personnel who perform a further act of such gallantry which would have merited a second award of the DSC are issued with a silver bar, with rounded ends, ornamented by a crown.