Birkenhead RSA


Obverse: A thunderbolt in the form of a cross, the arms conjoined by wings, the base bar terminating with a bomb surmounted by another cross composed of aeroplane propellers, the four ends enscribed with the letters G.V.R.I. In the centre a roundel, thereon a representation of Hermes mounted on a hawk in flight bestowing a wreath. The whole ensigned by an Imperial Crown and attached to the clasp and ribbon by two sprigs of laurel.

Reverse: The Royal Cypher above the date 1918. Since 1939 the year of award has usually been recorded on the reverse side of the lower arm.

Size: 55mm across the horizontal arms of the cross and 60mm from the top of the crown to the end of the lower arm of the cross.

Ribbon: 32mm wide, the ribbon is of equal sized 3mm diagonal stripes of red and white.

Suspension: By an ornate suspender bar consisting of two sprigs of laurel, through the bottom of which passes a ring, attaching the suspender bar to an eyelet attached to the top of the crown on the upper arm of the cross.

Instituted in 1918, The Air Force Cross is awarded to officers and warrant officers of the Air Force who have provided outstanding services or acts of outstanding courage while flying, although not in active operations against an enemy. It may also be awarded to Naval, Military or Civil personnel who render similar service while flying. Bars may be awarded for subsequent acts.

Like The Distinguished Flying Cross, the ribbon originally had horizontal stripes that were changed in 1919 to the present design. It is unusual to find a citation for the award of this Cross in the Gazette, but in fact the award of this decoration marks the display of courage under unusual and varying circumstances and flying skill of the highest order.

Members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, or New Zealanders serving with allied forces, were awarded 110 Crosses and two first bars during the Second World War. Since then, thirty three Crosses and seven first bars have been awarded in the Queen's Birthday and New Year Honours awards.

Royal Warrant For This Award: View Warrant (PDF document)

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