Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)


Awarded for meritorious or distinguished service before the enemy ‘by men of His Majesty’s Fleet’. Since 1916, bars to the DSC were awarded in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award. The cross may be awarded posthumously, and the recipient must have been mentioned in despatches (MiD).  

First established

By King Edward VII, 28 June 1901 as the Conspicuous Service Cross, it was renamed the Distinguished Service Cross in 1914, with bars to the DSC added in 1916.

‘For meritorious or distinguished services before the Enemy performed by Warrant Officers or Acting Warrant Officers, or by subordinate Officers of Your Majesty's Fleet: and that no person shall be nominated thereto unless his services shall have been marked by the especial mention of his name in despatches by the Admiral or Senior Naval or Military Officer Commanding the Squadron or detached Force.’ (Gazette issue 27328)

WW1 recipient

Flt Cdr Thomas Frederick Le Mesurier, RNAS, gazetted 12 May 1917, DSC and 2 bars (also DSM)

‘For conspicuous work as a pilot of a bombing machine. Has taken part in fourteen raids and numerous fighter patrols.’ (Gazette supplement 30066)

His first bar was gazetted on 29 August 1917:

‘For consistent skill and courage in leading his flight on bombing raids, particularly on the 28th July, 1917’ (Gazette supplement 30258)

His second bar was gazetted on 21 June 1918:

‘For gallantry and consistent good work. He has at all times displayed the utmost gallantry in action, and by his determination and skill has set a very fine example to the pilots of his squadron. On the 23rd April, 1918, in spite of bad weather conditions, he successfully dropped bombs on the Ostend Docks from a height of 800 feet amidst very intense anti-aircraft and machine-gun fire. He also made valuable observations. He has taken part in many bomb raids, and has destroyed or driven down out of control several enemy machines.’ (Gazette supplement 7304)

Le Mesurier was a Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) flying ace credited with 7 aerial victories. He died in Belgium in 1918, aged just 21, when his Airco DH.9 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and he and his observer, Lardner, were fatally wounded. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was formed in April 1918 as an amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).