The Air Force Cross (AFC) was instituted alongside the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 3 June 1918 and was awarded to officers and warrant officers of the Royal Air Force for ‘an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy.’ A supplementary Bar was also introduced, eligible to holders of the cross in recognition of any additional act that would have merited the award in itself. In reality, the cross was issued sparingly and just 679 were awarded between 1918 and 1919.
Cast in solid silver, the AFC consists of a thunderbolt in the form of a cross, the arms conjoined by wings; Hermes is represented in a central roundel mounted on a hawk, bestowing a wreath. On the reverse, the Royal Cypher of King George V is featured above the date 1918; the whole is ensigned by a crown. It hangs from its ribbon of crimson and white diagonal stripes by two sprigs of laurel. Originally these stripes were horizontal but were changed to run diagonally in 1919. In line with the majority of gallantry awards and decorations, recipients of the cross were entitle to use the letters AFC after their names.