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Virtual Museum of Canada

The Air Force Cross

The Air Force Cross Origin and History

The Air Force Cross The Air Force Cross (AFC) was established by King George V on his birthday, 3 June 1918; the Cross is awarded to an officer or warrant officer for an act of acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty, whilst flying, but not while in active operations against an enemy. In addition to officers and warrant officers of the Royal Air Force (RAF), the AFC may be awarded to Naval, Military of Civil Persons who render similar service whilst flying.

A bar is awarded for any additional act (or acts) of valour outside of active operations, which would have warranted the AFC. The straight slip-on silver bar has an eagle in the centre; the year of the award is engraved on the reverse.

The medal displays a silver cross, 1.525 inches across, shaped as a thunderbolt in the form of a cross; the arm terminates with a bomb.

The cross is surmounted by another cross composed of aeroplane propeller blades, with the ends of the four blades inscribed with the Royal Cypher for the WWII AFCs, the letters of the Royal Cypher showed 'G' (top), 'R' (left), 'VI' (bottom), and 'I' (right). From the Korea AFCs and onwards, the current Royal Cypher is used. The current Royal Cypher comprises 'E' (top), II (left), 'R' (right), and the bottom blank. The top arm is ensigned by an Imperial Crown.

The reverse of the cross contains the Royal Cypher (GV, GVI, EIIR) within a central circle above the date 1918. The year of award appears on the lower arm.

A small link at the top of the crown attaches to a slot in two sprigs of laurel forming the underside of a straight clasp. The ribbon is 1.25 inches wide, and consists of alternating red and white stripes (each stripe being 0.125 inches wide) leaning to the left at 45 degrees from the vertical. The red colour is to appear in the bottom left and upper right corners when viewed on the wearer's chest. Until 1919, the stripes were horizontal.

Summary of Canadians Awarded the Air Force Cross.
  RCAF Serving in RAF
Medal Bar Medal Bar
WWI 0 0 72 0
WWII 427 1 61 1
Korea 4 0 0 0
Post War 22 0 21 2