WW1 Awards for Gallantry and Leadership


The following is an extract from the Report of the Independent Review Panel of the End of War List - Vietnam (Tanzer, Phillips & Mitchell-Taylor, 1999. Research which I undertook at the time required me to examine the introduction and historical development of the four-tier Imperial awards system which developed more fully as a result of WW1. The Air Force was also created as a separate Service, with its own awards as a result of WW1.

The Review Panel established a sound basis for reasonable translation between the Imperal and Australian awards, and for those unfamiliar with either awards system now, the table which follows may be useful.

In addition these awards, both systems also address awards for bravery (civilian or military not in the face of the enemy), conspicuous service, campaign medals, service awards, commemorative awards, inidividual and group citations. The British have a long-standing and complex system of honours, while Australia now has its own system of awards in the Order of Australia.

The current British awards for gallantry and leadership are much more egalitarian, having removed distinctions between ranks in the same manner as the Australian system.

Table of Relativity - Imperial and Australian Awards

Imperial [Vietnam Era]
Awarded To
Air Force
All Ranks, all Services
All Ranks, all Services
Victoria Cross
(VC, instituted 1865) )
Victoria Cross for Australia
(VC, instituted 15 Jan 1991)
Officers, all Services
Distinguished Service Order
(DSO, instituted 1886)
Star of Gallantry
(SG, instituted 15 Jan 1991)
Warrant Officers & Other Ranks
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
(CGM, instituted 1855)
Distinguished Conduct Medal
(DCM, instituted 1854)
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying)
(CGM, instituted 1942)
Officers & Warrant Officers
Distinguished Service Cross
(DSC, instituted 1914)
Military Cross
(MC, instituted 1914)
Distinguished Flying Cross
(DFC, instituted 1918)
Medal for Gallantry
(MG, instituted 15 Jan 1991)
Warrant Officers (Except for DSM) & Other Ranks
Distinguished Service Medal
(DSM, instituted 1914, Other Ranks only)
Military Medal
(MM, instituted 1916)
Distinguished Flying Medal
(DFM, instituted 1918)
All Ranks, all Services
Mention in Despatches
(MID [not used as a post-nominal], instituted 1843)
Commendation for Gallantry
(CG [not used as a post-nominal], instituted 15 Jan 1991)