The first DSOs awarded were dated 25 November 1886 having been instituted on 6 September 1886 by Queen Victoria in a Royal Warrant published in the London Gazette on 9 November of that year. It is typically awarded to officers ranked major (or its equivalent) or higher, but the honour has sometimes been awarded to especially valorous junior officers. During the First World War, 8,981 DSOs were awarded, each award being announced in the London Gazette.
One thousand and twenty five Distinguished Flying Crosses were won in just 7 months after the award was instituted by King George V in May 1918. In the next 5 years of the centenary of World War 1, many of us are going to pay homage to the sacrifice of our grandfathers and great grandfathers during the Great War. The story of the airmen and their machines and their sacrifice needs to be understood by current and future generations and placed in context. This part of the web site is available if you would like to share the stories of your relatives from the Great War.