Instituted in June 1901 as an award for warrant officers and subordinate officers of the Royal Navy who had distinguished themselves on active service at sea, the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) began life as the Conspicuous Service Cross but was renamed in October 1914 when eligibilty was widened to include all officers below the rank of lieutenant commander. Almost 2,000 were issued during the First World War with a Bar also introduced in 1916 to recognise further acts of merit from existing holders. Eligibility was restricted to those who had been Mentioned in Despatches and all awards were notified with full citations in The London Gazette.
The DSC is cast from solid silver and consists of a 41mm x 35mm plain cross design that is con-vexed, with the reverse side flat and plain. The obverse bears the Royal Cypher of King George V on a circular central medallion, surmounted by a crown. The cross is suspended by a ring from its 36mm wide ribbon, consisting of three equal parts of dark blue, white, and dark blue.