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Military Cross

A plain cross with arms approx. 10 mm wide.  The ends of the arms are splayed out to a width of approx 16.5 mm and each has embossed upon it an Imperial Crown the top extremity of which projects slightly beyond the end of the arm.  Upon the cross and within the crowns is a smaller raised cross the centre-lines of which are defined by slight ridges.  Superimposed on the centre of the smaller cross is the Royal Cipher of the reigning monarch at the time of issue.  There are four different issues - George V, George VI (two types) and Elizabeth II. 

Prior to 1940 this was plain and unadorned, but since then the lower arm has engraved upon it the date of the award.

Size & Composition
Height and width over the tips of the crowns approx. 43 mm.  Cross and bars in silver.

Approx. 35 mm wide of watered silk.  White with a central purple stripe approx. 12 mm wide.

Always issued unnamed.  Many recipients have the reverse engraved with their rank, initials, surname and unit and, frequently, the date and location where the act of bravery commemorated took place.

A bar is awarded to be fixed to the ribbon of the Cross for each subsequent act for which the Military Cross would normally have been awarded.  The bar is straight and plain with an Imperial Crown in the centre.

The Military Cross was instituted on 28th December 1914 for acts of gallantry to officers of the rank of Captain and below and Warrant Officers of the Army, although it has been awarded to Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel for services on land.  Over 37,000 Crosses were awarded during World War One, of which there were four recipients with 3-bar Crosses, 170 with two bars and about 3000 with one bar.  About 350 were awarded for minor campaigns between the two World Wars with about 30 first bars.  For service during World War Two over 10,000 MCs and 500 first bars were awarded, and since then around 600 Crosses and about 30 first bars.  All awards of the Military Cross are listed in The London Gazette and up to about 1920 in most cases citations were published.  Since then, however, few citations have been published.

The King’s Own
Almost 200 Military Crosses were awarded to officers and men of the various battalions of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment during World War One.  Lieutenant Ronald MacDonald of the 1st/5th Battalion received the Military Cross and two bars and thirteen others were awarded a first bar.  During World War Two approximately thirty-four MCs were awarded and one first bar was awarded to Major Sam Waring who had won the MC in 1939 in Palestine with the 2nd Battalion, the bar being for his leadership of 'B' Company, 2nd Battalion, in the attack on Vichy French positions at Jebel Majer, Syria on 10th July 1941.

Military Crosses in the museum's collection

The Military Cross

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