Military honours and awards to Australians

Campaign and service medals recognise service rendered by members of the Australian Defence Force in prescribed warlike operations.

Honours and awards are conferred in recognition of gallant or distinguished conduct or service. They include:

  • the highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross (VC)
  • a range of awards such as the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Distinguished Service Order (DSO), Military Cross (MC ) and Military Medal (MM).

Lists of Australians who received awards

Names of Australians receiving imperial gallantry awards were published in the London Gazette and nearly all names were later republished in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.  Australia’s distinct honours system began in 1975 and since this time awards have been published in the Australian Government special notice Gazette.

Australian War Memorial Honours and Awards database

The Memorial’s Honours and Awards database was created for the purpose of helping the Australian public research and find information regarding military honours and awards recipients. It consolidated information indexed from the Commonwealth and London Gazettes as well as official and public records held at the Australian War Memorial.

You can search the Memorial’s Honours and Awards database, which provides names and gazettal dates of Australians who were granted honours and awards in conflicts from the Boer War to the Vietnam War. There are three components to Honours and Awards:

  • First World War recommendations,
  • Index to recommendations: Second World War, Korean War and Malayan Emergency
  • Gazetted Honours and Awards and subsequently added Awards. 

Names and awards of recipients are still being added to this database on a case-by-case basis.  If you would like to have the name and military award of a service person included, please contact:  info@awm.gov.au

You can also search the following sources to establish or confirm conferral:

  • Australian Honours List for brief entries maintained by the Awards and Culture Branch within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • London Gazette Archive covers Gazette editions from the war years (1914–20, 1939–48) and all London Gazette honours and awards in the 20th century. There are citations for some awards, but generally not for awards of the Military Medal or Mention in Despatches.
  • Federal Register of Legislation provides access to Government Notices Gazette, including Special Notices.
  • Michael Maton, Australian recipients of Imperial honours and awards 1901–1989 (North Turramurra, NSW: the author, 2002) contains an alphabetical list of names including those receiving non-military awards. Citations for awards are not provided, but the unit and often the location where the action took place are included.

Published unit histories sometimes contain lists of members of the unit with honours and awards.

Recommendations and citations

Recommendations for many military honours and awards are held in the Australian War Memorial. The files generally contain recommendations for awards, rather than citations, which are a shortened form of the original recommendation.

Not all recommendations lead to the award being gazetted. Not all gazetted awards have corresponding recommendations.

You can read some recommendations of Australian personnel online using Honours and Awards. This database includes digitised images of 59,000 recommendations from official archival record AWM28. It also contains digitised images of the index cards to approximately 18,000 recommendations for honours and awards to Australians while on active service in the Second World War, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency.

Recommendations are also held in other series. For example, there are recommendations from the Second World War to Vietnam in Official record series AWM119. Use RecordSearch to identify the files, using surname as keyword and "AWM119" in the Series Number search box.