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Distinguished Service Medal (United Kingdom)

Until 1993, the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Royal Navy and members of the other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, up to and including the rank of Chief Petty Officer, for bravery and resourcefulness on active service at sea.

Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal (UK).png

Distinguished Service Medal UK ribbon.png
Obverse of the medal and ribbon bar
Awarded by UK and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration.
Eligibility other ranks of the British and (formerly) Commonwealth forces
Awarded for set an example of bravery and resource under fire
Status Discontinued in 1993
Established 14 October 1914
First awarded 1914
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Union of South Africa Queen’s Silver Medal for Bravery (de jure)[1]
George Medal (de facto)[2]
Next (lower) Military Medal[1][2]
Related Distinguished Service Cross

The medal was established on 14 October 1914. It was the Other Ranks' equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross, which was awarded to commissioned officers and Warrant Officers, although it ranked below that decoration in order of precedence, between the George Medal and the Military Medal after those medals' respective establishments in 1940 and 1916. Recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DSM". In 1993, the DSM was discontinued, and since then the Distinguished Service Cross has been available for award to personnel of all ranks.


  • A circular silver medal, 36mm in diameter. The obverse bears the crowned effigy of the reigning monarch.
  • The reverse has the inscription 'FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE' in three lines, within a laurel wreath surmounted by an Imperial crown.
  • The suspender is plain and straight.
  • The ribbon is 1.25 inches wide and consists of three equal stripes: dark blue, white, and dark blue, with a thin dark blue stripe down the centre of the white.
  • Bars were authorised for subsequent awards. Bars issued during the First World War were dated on the reverse, while those awarded during the Second World War were undated.
Ribbon bars of the Distinguished Service Medal
DSM and Bar

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3352. 
  2. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014.