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), Distinguished Service Order (DSO), Military Cross (MC), and Military Medal (MM)
Names of Australians receiving gallantry awards were published in the London Gazette and nearly all names were later republished in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.
You can search the following sources to establish or confirm conferral:
- Honours and awards compiled from the above Gazettes, provides names and gazettal dates of Australians who were granted honours and awards in conflicts from the Boer War to the Vietnam War; see the introduction to the database for more information.
- Australian honours list for brief entries maintained by the Awards and National Symbols branch within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
- London Gazette archive covers 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 Military Medal or Mention in Despatches.
- Michael Maton, Australian recipients of Imperial honours and awards 1901–1989 (North Turramurra, NSW: Michael Maton, 2002) is an alphabetical list with no citations but does include unit and often location where the action took place; recipients of non-military awards are also listed.
Published unit histories sometimes contain lists of unit members with honours and awards.
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 and 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 the RecordSearch database to identify the files, using surname as keyword and "AWM119" in the Series Number search box.