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Distinguished Conduct Medal

On the Queen Victoria issues - a Trophy of Arms incorporating a central shield bearing the Royal Coat of Arms.  The subsequent issues bear the head or bust of the reigning monarch surrounded by an inscription: e.g. ‘GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP:’  Of these there are seven types: EVIIR, GVR (uncrowned head), GVR (crowned head), GVIR (first type), GVIR (second type), EIIR (first type), EIIR (second type).

The words ‘FOR DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT IN THE FIELD’ in four lines with a small embellishment below.

Approx. 36 mm diameter. 

Medals and bars are of silver. 

Approx. 32 mm wide.  Crimson with a navy blue central stripe approx. 10 mm wide.

The ribbon passes through an ornamented, scroll pattern, swivelling suspender.

All medals issued bear the recipient’s Number, Rank, Name and Unit on the edge.  The types of naming vary but, generally, all awarded since 1914 are impressed.

A straight bar is awarded for each subsequent act of distinguished conduct for which the Distinguished Conduct Medal would have been awarded.  Two types of bar have been issued; those awarded between 1881 and mid-1916 bear the date of the subsequent award, those awarded after mid-1916 bear a laurel-spray  and no date.

Instituted in 1854 as a reward to Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the Army in the Crimean War for ‘distinguished, gallant and good conduct in the Field’.  Before this there had been no medal awarded by the British government in recognition of individual acts of gallantry in the Army.  The medal now ranks between the Victoria Cross (instituted in 1856) and the Military Medal (instituted in 1916).  Although it has, on occasion, been awarded to civilians, it has never been awarded to a woman.

During the reign of Queen Victoria, 2892 DCMs  were awarded, including about 770 for the Crimean War and about 2050 for the South African (Boer) War (some of these latter being the Edward VII type).  For World War One around 25,000  were issued, whereas for World War Two only around 1900 awards were made.  In World War One single bar DCMs were fairly uncommon, but very few men have been awarded the medal and two  bars.

All awards of the DCM are notified in the London Gazette, during World War One citations were generally also published.

The King’s Own
During the Crimean War, 1854-56, sixteen Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded to men of the 4th (King’s Own) Regiment of Foot, and one was awarded for the Abyssinian Campaign, 1868.  In the South African (Boer) War, 1899-1902, there were twenty awards to men of The King’s Own, and in World War One a further 136 awards, with two men being awarded a bar to their medal.  Another eight DCMs were awarded in World War II.

On Distinguished Conduct Medals awarded up to 1881 the shortened titles used in the naming of the medals were: ‘4th REGT’; ‘4th REGT. OF FOOT’; or ‘4th FOOT’; for medals awarded after 1881 and before 1920 ‘R. LANC. R.’ was used.  After 1920 when the title took its final form before amalgamation lead to the forming of The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, in 1959, the shortened form appearing on medals was ‘KINGS OWN R’.

Distinguished Conduct Medal's in the museum's collection

The citations for Second World War DCM Awards to the King’s Own can be found in the book ‘Heroic Deeds’ published by the Museum.

Distinguished Conduct Medal

© 2006 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum