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The D.F.C. award was first instituted on 3 June 1918

immediately following the formation of the RAF.

RAF Oxygen Mask

It was originally awarded to Royal Air Force warrant and commissioned officers. In the second world war the D.F.C. was awarded to artillery officers from the British army serving on attachment to the RAF as Flying artillery directors.

selling war medals

Following the Second World War, the award was made open to army and naval aviation officers, and from 1993 to other ranks; The D.F.C. was awarded to other ranks, has been discontinued. Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross are entitled to use the post nominals “DFC”. And bar is added to the ribbon for holders of the DFC who received a second award.

War Of Courage

During The Great War ( 1914-1918 ) approximately 1,100 DFC s were awarded, with 70 first bars and 3 second bars. During the Second World War, 20,354 DFCs were awarded, the most of any award, with approximately 1,550 first bars and 45 second bars. Honorary awards were made on 964 occasions to aircrew from other non-commonwealth countries.


In 2008, Flight Lieutenant Michelle Gorden  became the first woman to receive the DFC.

United States Marine Corps Captain Brian Jordan, a UH-1Y Venom helicopter pilot, received the Distinguished Flying Cross on 12 February 2014 at the British Embassy in Washington, for actions while deployed in Afghanistan in 2012. He is the second American to be awarded the DFC since WWII.


The medal is a “cross flory” and is 2⅛ inches wide. The horizontal and bottom bars are terminated with bumps, the upper bar with a rose. The medal’s face features aeroplane propellers superimposed on the vertical arms of the cross and wings on the horizontal arms. In the centre is a laurel wreath around the RAF monogram surmounted by an Imperial crown

The reverse features the Royal Cyphor in the centre and the year of issue engraved on the lower arm. The medal is issued named.

The ribbon was originally white with purple broad horizontal stripes, but changed in 1919 to the current white with purple broad diagonal stripes.

The medal was designed by Edward Carter Preston.