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Decorations of PSP's Polish Personnel (1940-45)

Below you will find the list of various military decorations awarded to the Polish personnel of the Polskie Sily Powietrzne (Polish Air Forces), or the Polish Air Force units that served in Western Europe, in the period from 1940 until the end of the war.

This list does not include the decorations awarded to the Polish airmen for the Polish Campaign of 1939, nor does it include the Polish and Soviet decorations awarded to the Polish personnel of the Polish Air Force that served on the Eastern Front.


Polish:

Virtuti Militari is a Latin phrase and translates as "For Courage in War". The Order of Virtuti Militari is the highest Polish military decoration, instituted in 1792 by King Stanislaw II Poniatowski of the Belarussian-Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth, and is conferred for exceptional deeds in combat. Awarded in five classes - Crosses: Wielki, Komandorski, Kawalerski, Zloty, Srebrny. It may be conferred on both Poles and foreigners as a reward for outstanding heroic achievement and services in battle.

Zloty Krzyz IV klasy Orderu Virtuti Militari - 7

Srebrny Krzyz V klasy Orderu Virtuti Militari - 1 125


Krzyz Walecznych (Cross of Valour) is a Polish military decoration instituted in 1920; it was conferred up to four times to troops in the active service and, in exceptional cases, to civilians who co-operated with the military. It was awarded for acts of valour and courage in battle.

Krzyz Walecznych po raz pierwszy - 3 122

Krzyz Walecznych po raz drugi - 2 174

Krzyz Walecznych po raz trzeci - 1 432

Krzyz Walecznych po raz czwarty - 426


Krzyz Zaslugi z Mieczami (Cross of Merit with Swords) a Polish decoration, instituted in 1942 by the government in exile; it was conferred for deeds of valour and courage in the war, which did not take place in direct combat.

Krzyz Zaslugi z Mieczami (zloty, srebrny, brazowy) - 302


Krzyz Zaslugi (Cross of Merit) is a Polish decoration instituted in 1923; it was conferred for achievements in one's professional field (including the military) or the public service. It was conferred in three degrees (gold, silver, bronze). Both Poles and foreigners were eligible for this award.

Krzyz Zaslugi (zloty, srebrny, brazowy) - 418

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British:

K.C.B., second class - 2


Commander of the British Empire - 8


The Distinguished Service Order was instituted in 1886 by Queen Victoria. The order can be conferred on officers of all the armed forces for distinguished services in war, and also on officers of the Merchant Navy who, when operating with the Navy, qualify for the decoration. Nomination for the Order may be made only if the person concerned has been mentioned in dispatches. Holders of the Order are entitled to add the letters "D.S.O" after their name. The Order has only one class. A Bar is added to the Order, if it has been awarded a second time. The D.S.O. takes precedence immediately after Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Distinguished Service Order, second award - 1

Distinguished Service Order, first award - 8


Order of the British Empire - 14


The George Medal was established by King George VI in 1940, as a civilian award to individuals who have performed heroic deeds not warranting the George Cross.

George Medal - 1


Medal of the British Empire, fifth class - 10


The Military Cross was instituted in 1914 as a decoration for the Army, which according to a decree from 1931 may be awarded to officers of the rank of Major and below and also to Warrant Officers for gallant and distinguished services in action. It may also be conferred upon officers and warrant officers of the Royal Air Force for gallant service on the ground, as opposed to gallant service whilst flying. The decoration is worn after British Orders, but before war medals. Holders of the cross are entitled to add the letters "M.C." after their name.

Military Cross - 2


The Distinguished Flying Cross was instituted in 1918 by King George V. The decoration may be awarded to officers and Warrant Officers of the Royal Air Force for having displayed valour, gallantry, and devotion to duty on one or more occasions while flying on active operations against the enemy. Holders of the decoration are entitled to add the letters "D.F.C." after their name. If awarded on more than one occasion, a Bar is attached to the Order's riband for the second and each subsequent award.

Distinguished Flying Cross, third award - 1

Distinguished Flying Cross, second award - 4

Distinguished Flying Cross, first award - 186


The Air Force Cross is awarded to Officers and Warrant Officers of the Air Force, for an act or acts of valour, courage, in devotion to duty whilst flying, but not in active operations against the enemy. It may also be granted to individuals not belonging to the Air Force (whether Naval, Military, or Civil) who render distinguished service to aviation in actual flying. The holder is entitled to use the letters "A.F.C." after his name; further acts may be rewarded by the award of Bars.

Air Force Cross - 18


The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1874. It is the Naval counterpart of the British Army's Distinguished Conduct Medal, and is awarded to Petty Officers of the Navy and Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the Royal Marines who distinguish themselves by acts of conspicuous gallantry in action with the enemy. It can also be conferred on men of the Merchant Navy, and to members of the Women's Royal Naval Service for gallantry on shore during enemy action. Airmen of Non-Commissioned ranks, glider pilots, observers, and other military personnel are also eligible. Recipients are entitled to use the letters "C.G.M." after their names. Further acts of gallantry may be rewarded by the award of Bars.

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal - 1


The Distinguished Conduct Medal was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1854, and is awarded to Non-Commissioned Officers and men for gallant and distinguished conduct in the field. Recipients are entitled to use the letters "D.C.M." after their name. Further acts of gallantry may be rewarded by the award of Bars.

Distinguished Conduct Medal - 1


The Military Medal was instituted in 1916 by King George V. It is awarded to Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the Army for acts of bravery in the field, and is subject to the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief. It may also be awarded to women for devotion to duty under fire, and to personnel of the Royal Air Force for gallant service on the ground. Recipients are entitled to use the letters "M.M." after their names. Further acts of bravery may be rewarded by the award of Bars.

Military Medal - 2


The Distinguished Flying Medal is awarded to Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the Royal Air Force under the same conditions as the "Distinguished Flying Cross" is awarded to officers. Recipients are entitled to use the letters "D.F.M." after their name. Further acts of bravery may be rewarded by the award of Bars.

Distinguished Flying Medal, second award - 1

Distinguished Flying Medal, first award - 68


The Air Force Medal is awarded to Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the Air Forces and to others under the same conditions as the Air Force Cross is awarded to Officers. Recipients may use the letters "A.F.M." after their names. Further acts may be rewarded by the award of Bars.

Air Force Medal - 8


The British Empire Medal, according to a statute from 1941, may be conferred on people who have given "deserving service which justifies such a token of Royal appreciation". The holders of the medal are entitled to add "B.E.M." after their name. The medal is awarded in one class; if awarded more than once, it is provided with a Bar. It is divided into Civil and Military divisions. This decoration has been replaced by the Medal of the Order of the British Empire.

British Empire Medal (Military Division) - 6

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American:

The Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized by the Congress in 1926, as an award to any person who, while serving in any capacity in the air components of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps and including the National Guard and Reserves, has, subsequent to 11 November, 1918, distinguished himself or herself by extraordinary achievement or heroism while participating in an aerial flight. According to a Presidential Executive Order from 1927 only military personnel, including wartime members of the Armed Forces of friendly foreign nations, are eligible for this award.

Distinguished Flying Cross, second award - 1

Distinguished Flying Cross, first award - 2


The Air Medal was established in 1942, and is awarded to any individual while serving in the armed forces of the United States in any capacity since 8 September, 1939, for meritorious achievement, combat or non-combat, while participating in an aerial flight.

Air Medal, fourth award - 3

Air Medal, third award - 3

Air Medal, second award - 3

Air Medal, first award - 3


The Silver Star was created by Congress in 1918, to indicate a citation for gallantry in action not sufficient to warrant the Medal of Honor or the Distinguished Service Cross. The Silver Star was not authorized for the Navy until 1942.

Silver Star - 2


The Bronze Star was established in 1944 as an award to any individual, male or female, in the armed forces of the United States, who on or after 7 December, 1941, shall have distinguished themself for heroic or military achievement.

Bronze Star - 2


The Soldier's Medal was established by the Congress in 1926. It was awarded to members of the U.S. Army (including the U.S. Army Air Force - USAAF), who have distinguished themselves by heroism not involving actual armed conflict with an enemy.

Soldier's Medal - 1

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French:

Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) was instituted in 1939 for service in WWII (a decoration of the same name was also instituted in 1915 as a reward for outstanding service in the First World War). It was awarded to members of the French armed forces regardless of rank who are mentioned for outstanding bravery or ability in dispatches by a high ranking officer. When a recipient is mentioned more than once he receives a bronze palm which is worn on the ribbon. If he is mentioned five times he receives a silver palm also worn on the ribbon. Can be both conferred on citizens of France and foreigners.

Croix de Guerre with Palms - 4

Croix de Guerre with Golden Star - 1

Croix de Guerre with Silver Star - 2

Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star - 2


Medaille Militaire (Military Medal) was established by President L.N. Bonaparte (later Napoleon III) in 1852, as France's highest strictly military decoration. It is awarded for acts of exceptional military and naval merit, or to those who have been wounded at least once. It is awarded to enlisted men, NCOs, generals, and admirals of the French armed forces, however, ensigns, lieutenants, captains, majors, lieutenant-colonels, and colonels and their equivalent ranks in the navy and air force cannot recieve this decoration. Senior officers are required to have been awarded with the Legion d'Honeur, before being eligible for this medal. Under the same conditions this decoration can be awarded to foreigners serving in the French armed forces, and to outstanding foreign military and/or civilian leaders.

Medaille Militaire - 1

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Dutch:

De Orde van Oranje-Nassau (The Order of Oranje-Nassau) was instituted in 1892 by Queen Dowager Emma, on behalf of her daughter Wilhelmina. The Order may be conferred on Dutchmen and on foreigners who have proved themselves to be specially deserving towards the Head of State or towards society in general. The Order is irrevocably attached to the Dutch Crown. The reigning Monarch is the Master of the Order. The Order is awarded in five classes: in the following order - Grand Cross (the highest class), Grand Officer, Commander, Officer, Knight (the lowest class).

Groot-Officer (Grand Officer) In De Orde Van Oranje-Nassau (second class) - 1

Commander In De Orde Van Oranje-Nassau (third class) - 2


Vliegerkruis (The Airman's Cross) was instituted in 1941 by Queen Wilhelmina. The decoration may be awarded to the military for initiative, courage and perseverance on flying duties in time of war, in direct combat as well as in general combat. In some circumstances it may also be awarded to civilians and foreigners. It may also be awarded posthumously. If the award is repeated, golden Roman numerals are added to the riband.

Vliegerkruis - 5

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Italian:

Croce Al Valore Militare - 1

Croce Al Merito Di Guerra - 2

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Aside from the above-mentioned, the Polish airmen were also awarded many of the following decorations after the war:

British:

1939-1945 Star
Africa Star
Air Crew Europe Star
Defence Medal
War Medal

French:

Croix de Resistance

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Next: Polish WWII Fighter Aces


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