The British (Imperial) Military Cross

The British (Imperial) Military Cross

The Military Cross is awarded to commissioned officers of the substantive rank of Captain or below or Warrant Officers for distinguished and meritorious services in battle. The MC was established in December, 1915. In 1920, the terms were altered to clearly state the award was for gallant and distinguished services in action and that naval and air force officers could be awarded the cross for gallant and distinguished services on the ground.

 There was no gallantry award, lesser than the VC and DSO, for junior officers and warrant officers until shortly after the outbreak of the First World War when the MC was instituted. Originally awarded to captains, lieutentants and warrant officers of the Army (including the RFC), it was subsequently extended to include equivalent ranks of the RAF when performing acts of bravery on the ground and there was even provision for the Royal Naval Division and the Royal Marines during the First World War. 

Awards were extended to majors by an amending warrant of 1931. 


Bars for second and subsequent awards have a crown at the centre. 


An ornamental cross with straight arms terminating in broad finials.


On the finials of each arm of the cross is an Imperial Crown and in the centre of the cross is the Imperial and Royal Cypher of the reigning sovereign (GV, GVI, or EIIR).


The reverse is plain with the year of the award engraved on the lower arm.


The ring welded to the top of the cross is joined to the plain straight suspender ring by a small ring (3 rings).


A watered white ribbon (1.375" wide), with a central purple stripe (0.5" wide). 


The Military Cross was established on 28 December 1915.


Back to homepage Back to homepage Back to homepage