Military Cross

Military Cross
Military Cross
Military Cross.jpg
Military Cross
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration
Eligibility British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces
Awarded for ... gallantry during active operations against the enemy.[1]
Status Currently awarded
Description Silver cross with straight arms, Royal Cypher in centre (obverse)
(reverse) plain
Established 28 December 1914
Next (higher) Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
Equivalent Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross
Next (lower) Mention in Despatches
Military cross BAR.svg

Military cross w bar BAR.svg

Military cross w 2bars BAR.svg

Ribbon of the Military Cross; without, with bar, and with two bars
Albert Jacka's Military Cross and bar. Gazetted in 1916, the Cross displays the royal cypher of George V.

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also 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 any rank in Our Armed Forces…".[2] In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could in the future be awarded posthumously.[3]



The award was created in 1914 for commissioned officers of the substantive rank of Captain or below and for Warrant Officers. In 1931 the award was extended to Majors and also to members of the Royal Air Force for actions on the ground.

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, has been discontinued. The MC now serves as the third-level award for gallantry on land for all ranks of the British Armed Forces.[4]

Bars are awarded to the MC in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award. Recipients are entitled to the postnominal letters MC.


  • 46 mm max height, 44 mm max width
  • Ornamental silver cross with straight arms terminating in broad finials, suspended from plain suspension bar.
  • Obverse decorated with imperial crowns, with the Royal Cypher in centre.
  • Reverse is plain, but from 1938 the name of the recipient and year of issue has been engraved on lower limb of cross.
  • The ribbon width is 32 mm and consists of three equal vertical moire stripes of white, purple, and white.

Notable awards

For more information, see categories:
Recipients of the Military Cross
Recipients of the Military Cross and Bar
Recipients of the Military Cross and two Bars
  • During World War I, Acting Captain Francis Victor Wallington of the Royal Field Artillery was the first person to be awarded the MC and three bars when he was invested with his third bar on 10 July 1918 (gazetted 13 September 1918: he had obtained the first three awards as a second lieutenant).[5][6] Three other officers were subsequently awarded a third bar, Percy Bentley, Humphrey Arthur Gilkes and Charles Gordon Timms, all of whose awards were gazetted in a supplement to the London Gazette of 31 January 1919.[5][7]
  • During World War I, the 39th Garhwal Battalion was led by Rana Jodha Jang Bahadur with great courage and gallantry which earnt him a Military Cross in the Battle of Loos in France. In spite of being wounded, he continued to lead his men against the Germans and did not desist until a second wound rendered him unconscious. He received 5 bullet wounds in the neck and upper shoulder during The Great War, and recovered in Europe.
  • During World War II, Captain Herbert Owen Meredith Lambert was commanding "A" Company of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment, 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division. On the night of 28/29 October 1944 the Lincoln and Welland Regiment was ordered to establish a bridgehead over the canals on the north edge of Bergen op Zoom. The task was extremely difficult as the objective lay beyond two canals and a steep railway embankment. The water in the canals was deep and very cold and the banks were covered by wire obstructions. Captain Lambert was in command of “A” Company which was to lead the attack and, in view of the difficult conditions, he personally led the company to ensure that it would not become lost. The crossing was made in the face of intense mortar and MG fire. By the time the company reached the factory which was its objective, only 15 men were left. It was soon discovered that none of the weapons would fire due to the mud and water through which the men had passed. Captain Lambert decided that the position must be held, even though it meant facing a numerically superior enemy with a force armed with only bayonets, knives and 36 grenades. At about 0130 hours the enemy attacked the factory with grenades, infantry, anti-tank projectors and MG’s and continued to attack with increasing ferocity until the company was relieved at first light the following morning. Through it all the fifteen men led by Captain Lambert held firm. The 36 grenades were used with such care and accuracy that severe casualties were inflicted upon the enemy. When the relief was finally effected only two grenades were left. There can be no doubt that the example and inspired leadership shown by Captain Lambert resulted in the establishment of this bridgehead against seemingly overwhelming opposition. The courage and complete disregard for personal safety exhibited by this officer was an example and an inspiration to all ranks of the battalion. Captain Lambert was later promoted to Major. He died on 26 January 1945 at Kapelsche Veer during the Battle of the Scheldt, when a building he was taking with other members of his unit exploded. Major Lambert was known as the "Crazy Major". He was laid to rest at the Canadian Military cemetery in Bergen Op Zoom.
  • During World War II Captain Sam Manekshaw, Indian Army (who eventually rose to the rank of Field Marshal), was leading a counter-offensive operation against the invading Japanese Army in Burma. During the course of the offensive, he was hit by a burst of machine-gun fire and severely wounded in the stomach. Major General D.T. Cowan spotted Manekshaw holding on to life and was aware of his valour in face of stiff resistance from the Japanese. Fearing the worst, Major General Cowan quickly pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on to Manekshaw saying, "A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross."[8]
  • The first posthumous Military Cross was that awarded to Captain Herbert Westmacott (491354), Grenadier Guards for gallantry in Northern Ireland during the period 1 February 1980 to 30 April 1980.[9]
  • Able Seaman Kate Nesbitt, second woman, first in the Royal Navy, for acts in Afghanistan in March 2009 as a Medical Assistant attached to 1 RIFLES, 3 Commando Brigade.[13][14][15]
  • Also in 2009, Lieutenant James Adamson of the Royal Regiment of Scotland was awarded an MC for bayonet charging a Taliban fighter. After shooting one insurgent, Adamson ran out of ammo. He immediately bayonet charged a second insurgent and bayonetted him.[16]


  1. ^ UK Defence FactSheet, accessed 28 June 2007.
  2. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56693. p. 11146. 17 October 2002.
  3. ^ P E Abbott and J M A Tamplin; British Gallantry Awards, 1981, Nimrod Dix and Co, ISBN 0 902633 74 0, p. xx.
  4. ^ "Military Cross (MC)". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Scott Addington; For Conspicuous Gallantry... Winners of the Military Cross and Bar during the Great War. Volume 1—Two Bars and Three Bars, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2006, pp. 343–352.
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30901. p. 10877. 13 September 1918. Retrieved 2008-03-17. (Wallington)
  7. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31158. p. 1617. 31 January 1919. Retrieved 2008-03-17. (Bentley, Gilkes & Timms)
  8. ^ Compton McKenzie (1951), Eastern Epic, Chatto & Windus, London, pp. 440-1.
  9. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48346. p. 14608. 20 October 1980. (Westmacott)
  10. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58183. p. 17359. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-11. (Norris)
  11. ^ Wilkes, David (2006-08-10). "Heroine teenage soldier to be decorated for bravery". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). ISSN 0307-7578. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  12. ^ Glendinning, Lee (2007-03-22). "Historic award for female private". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group): p. 8. ISSN 0261-3077.,,2039749,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  13. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59182. p. 15640. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2010. (Nesbitt)
  14. ^ Evans, Michael (11 September 2009). "Kate Nesbitt is first woman in Royal Navy to receive Military Cross". The Times (London: Times Newspapers). Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "First female Royal Navy medic awarded Military Cross". Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). 27 November 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "British officer wins two gallantry awards for fending off Taliban attack with bayonet". Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). 12 September 2009. Retrieved 03 October 2011. 


  • Mackay, J and Mussel, J (eds) - Medals Yearbook - 2005, (2004), Token Publishing.

See also

External links

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