During the First World War, a wide variety of
gallantry medals were awarded to members of the British armed forces.
The highest honour of all, the Victoria Cross, was awarded to just
633 individuals between 1914 and 1918. Certain gallantry medals
such as the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross were
available to officers only. Others were for men below the rank of
officer - from the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the lowest form
of recognition, a 'Mention in Dispatches'. The Military Medal, instituted
in March 1916, was awarded to warrant officers, NCO's, men and women,
the first awards bing announced on 3 June 1916.
Particular categories of service also had their
own gallantry awards such as the Royal Red Cross (for nurses) and
the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Flying Medal (for
officers and other ranks on active operations in the air force).