The Distinguished Service Medal

The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) was instituted by Royal Warrant on 14 October 1914 and was awarded to members of the Royal Navy, up to and including Chief Petty Officer, and other services for acts of bravery at sea. The other ranks’ equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross, the DSM was awarded to approximately 4100 individuals during World War One. A Bar was sanctioned in 1916 for each further acts of bravery undertaken by existing holders, with two individuals receiving two Bars and 67 being issued with one Bar.

The DSM is cast from solid silver and is circular in design with a diameter of 36mm. The reverse of the medal has the inscription ‘FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE’ in three lines, within a laurel wreath and Imperial crown. The obverse features the head of King George V and the Royal Cypher. All medals were named in block capitals and usually carried the name of the recipients ship and date. The ribbon consists of three equal stripes of dark blue, white, and dark blue, with a thin dark blue stripe down the centre of the white. All awards of the DSM were notified in The London Gazette, however, apart from very early on, few citations were published.