Distinguished Service Medal (United Kingdom)

Distinguished Service Medal (United Kingdom)
Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal (UK).png

Distinguished Service Medal UK ribbon.png
Obverse of medal and ribbon
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
Next (higher) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Equivalent Military Medal
Distinguished Flying Medal
Air Force Medal
Next (lower) Mentioned in Despatches

The Distinguished Service Medal was (until 1993) 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.

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. 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 awarded 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 authorised for subsequent awards. Bars issued during the First World War were dated on the reverse while those awarded during the Second World War are undated.
Ribbon bars of the Distinguished Service Medal
UK Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
UK DSM w Bar ribbon.svg
DSM and Bar

See also

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