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Air Force Cross (United Kingdom)

The Air Force Cross (AFC) is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom Armed Forces, and formerly also to officers of the other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy". A bar is added to the ribbon for holders who are awarded a second AFC.[4]

Air Force Cross
Air Force Cross (UK)
Obverse of medal
AFC (UK) ribbon
Ribbon: 30mm, diagonal alternate stripes of white and red
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration
Eligibility British, Commonwealth (formerly) and allied forces
Awarded for "... gallantry while flying but not on active operations against the enemy."[1]
Status Currently awarded
Description see below
Established 3 June 1918
Total awarded George V: 804
George VI: 3,053
Total: 3,857[2]
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Distinguished Flying Cross[3]
Next (lower) Royal Red Cross, Second Class[3]
Related Air Force Medal
Ribbon bar for 2nd award



The award was established on 3 June 1918, shortly after the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was originally awarded to RAF commissioned officers and Warrant Officers, but this was expanded after the Second World War to include Army and Navy aviation officers. Posthumous awards were permitted from 1979,[5] with all ranks eligible from 1993 when the Air Force Medal, which had until then been awarded to other ranks, was discontinued.[4]

During the First World War, approximately 680 were awarded. During the Second World War, 2,001 decorations were awarded, with 26 bars.

58 honorary awards were made to aircrew from other non-Commonwealth countries.

A bar is added to the ribbon of holders of the AFC for each additional award.[6]

Recipients of the Air Force Cross are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "AFC".


  • The medal is a silver cross, 60 mm high and 54 mm wide, representing aircraft propeller blades, with wings between the arms. The obverse depicts Hermes, riding on the wings of a hawk holding a laurel wreath. At the top of the upper arm is the royal crown, while the other three arms bear the royal cypher of the reigning monarch at the time of issue.[4]
  • The suspender is straight and decorated with laurel wreaths.[4]
  • The ribbon was originally white with red broad horizontal stripes, but changed in 1919 to the current white with red broad diagonal stripes at a 45-degree angle.[4]
Air Force Cross ribbon bars
AFC AFC and Bar
since 1919

Notable awardsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Defence Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  2. ^ Medal Yearbook 2013. Honiton, Devon: Token Publishing. 2013. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-908-828-00-2.
  3. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "MOD – AFC". Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  5. ^ P E Abbott & J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards. p. xx. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981.ISBN 0-902633-74-0
  6. ^ Peter Duckers. British Gallantry Awards 1855 – 2000. pp. 31-32. Shire Publications, Oxford, 2010.ISBN 978-0-7478-0516-8.
  7. ^ "No. 32716". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1922. p. 4325.
  8. ^ Dan, van der Vat (13 July 2011). "Air Marshal Sir Geoffrey Dhenin obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  9. ^ "No. 40497". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1955. p. 3292.
  10. ^ "No. 32563". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1921. p. 10719.
  11. ^ "No. 41727". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1959. pp. 3732–3733.
  12. ^ Thorne, Michael (27 April 2014). "Peter Thorne obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2016.

External linksEdit