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Virtual Museum of Canada

The Distinguished Flying Cross

The Distinguished Flying Cross Origin and History

The Distinguished Flying Cross The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) was founded in 1918 by King George V at the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Distinguished Flying Cross was to be awarded to officers and warrant officers for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy. Prior to this, pilots showing similar acts of gallantry were awarded the Military Cross (MC).

The straight silver bar is awarded for a further act or acts of bravery whilst in action against the enemy. This slip-on bar has an eagle in the centre and the year of the award engraved on the reverse.

The medal is in the shape known as the Cross Floury. The cross, 2.125 inches wide, has the horizontal and base bars ending with bombs, and the upper bar with a rose.

Aeroplane propellers are superimposed upon the vertical arms of the cross. Within central winged roundel, which is encircled by a wreath of laurels and surmounted by an imperial crown, are the letters R.A.F. The wings of the roundel fall upon the horizontal arms of the cross.

The reverse of the cross contains the Royal Cypher (GV, GVI, EIIR) above the year 1918. The year of issue is engraved on the lower arm.

A straight bar has two springs of laurel at the bottom which form a slot for a linking ring to attach it to the small ring at the top of the medal. The ribbon is 1.25 inches wide, and consists of alternating violet and white stripes (0.125 inches wide) leaning to the left at 45 degrees from the vertical. The violet 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.

In total, 4,460 Distinguished Flying Crosses have been awarded to Canadians, plus 256 first bars and 6 second bars (see below).
RCAF Serving in RAF Member of RAF, RAAF, or RNZAF serving in RCAF 1st Bar Canadian Army
  Medal Bar Medal Bar (RAF) (RAAF)
WWI 0 0 193 9 0 0 0 0
WWII 4,018 213 247 34 358 21* 2* 0
Korea 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
* Not included in Canadian totals