Distinguished Service Order (1938-1949)
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The Distinguished Service Order was established by Royal Warrant in 1886. It was created to fill the void of a gallantry decoration that could be awarded to Junior Officers. The Victoria Cross was unsuitable in many cases, and only a limited number of Officers were eligible for membership in the military division of the Order of the Bath.
It was originally awarded to Officers of the British Army, Navy, Royal Air Force, and Royal Marines for distinguished service during periods of war. It was later amended to recognize distinguished service under fire, or conditions equivalent to combat. During the Second World War, the regulations were amended to include Officers of the Merchant Marine. Since 1993, it has been awarded in recognition of distinguished service (i.e. leadership) during military campaigns to military personnel of any rank. It may be awarded to the same recipient more than once, in which case a gold clasp is worn on the ribbon to denote each additional award, but it cannot be awarded posthumously.
Companions of the Order are entitled to use the post-nominal letters DSO.
There are a number of different versions of the cross that differ in the royal cypher on the reverse.
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