The new collection of Distinguished Conduct Medal recipients offers family history researchers a comprehensive record of those servicemen awarded the DCM Medal in the Second Boer War and The First World War. The Distinguished Conduct Medal (or DCM) was a medal awarded for exceptional bravery. It was awarded to the Other Ranks (N.C.O.’s and Men) and was first instituted in 1854 during The Crimean War, to recognise gallantry.

The First World War saw the first large-scale awarding of the D.C.M. medal due to the numbers involved in the first truly global conflict.

The DCM Collection on TheGenealogist covers those medal recipients in the Second Boer War and The First World War covering the years from 1898 to 1902 and 1914 through to 1923. These records are available to Diamond subscribers.

The records offer a full name, service number, rank and regiment with the date the medal was awarded. There is a link to a copy of the image of the actual card and uniquely there is a link to the listing in the London Gazette. The Gazette is the one of the official journals of the British Government and can be classed as one of the oldest surviving English newspapers. has released over 25,000 new records of Non Commissioned Officer’s and Other Ranks who were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in The First World War and The Second Boer War. Uniquely these new records show details of the Recipients Medal Card with full details combined with a link to The London Gazette which can sometimes contain full details of the heroic deed that won them the medal.

Case Study: Lance Corporal Joseph Thomas

Lance Corporal Joseph Thomas of Aberystwyth was a professional soldier in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots. A soldier who fought with great personal courage, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal at Hooge in Belgium in September 1915. According to local newspapers at the time, his award ‘prompted great celebrations in the town of Aberystwyth’.

Joseph Thomas received a promotion to Sergeant and in May 1917, his battalion, the 12th Royal Scots in fighting around Arras taking heavy losses. Again acting courageously, Joseph Thomas was wounded twice on the battlefield before succumbing to his wounds.

Lieutenant Brian Horrocks and James Whale in the PoW Lists at TheGenealogist
DCM Record
From the D.C.M. record on TheGenealogist , one click links to the entry in The London Gazette detailing how Lance Corporal Thomas was awarded his medal.

Case Study: Sergeant John William Russell

Sergeant John William Russell joined The Royal Engineers (Signals Service) as a Pioneer in 1914 and was promoted to Sergeant by 2 March 1915. He was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ on 1 Jan 1916. He received his DCM in the King’s Birthday Honours gazetted on 21 June 1916. One click gives us further details: “For conspicuous and consistent good work on his system of telephone lines. He has shown tireless energy and resource, besides great gallantry, under fire. “Sergeant Russell later fought in the major battles of Arras and Passchendaele, winning a Military Medal and promotion to Second Lieutenant.

Case Study: Maurice Vincent Buckley (aka Gerald Sexton)

Although initially discharged from his regiment as a deserter in 1915 He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 18 September 1918, at Le Verguier near St. Quentin. His unit was advancing under cover of a creeping barrage but was held up by German machine gun posts. Buckley attacked them with his Lewis gun section and captured 30 German prisoners of war. When the advance was again held up by machine-gun fire, Sergeant Buckley, supported by another platoon, put the enemy guns out of action. Later, he again showed conspicuous initiative in capturing hostile posts and machine-guns. According to the citation, he was “to the fore dealing with enemy machine-guns, rushing enemy posts, and performing great feats of bravery and endurance without faltering or for a moment taking cover.”

The story is all the more remarkable considering Maurice was originally discharged from the Australian 13th Light Horse Regiment in September 1915 and classed as a deserter. He re-joined the army under an assumed name in May 1916, in the 13th Australian Infantry, taking his brother’s first name and his mother’s maiden name and being awarded his medal for outstanding bravery under his ‘new name’.

Maurice Vincent Buckley

TheGenealogist has a wide and varied collection of military records available to access. Find out more on how you can discover your ancestors from a range of subscriptions available.

The stories in this article are copyrighted to TheGenealogist and cannot be reproduced without permission. Please contact our Press Office on 01722 717003 if you wish to use any of the information contained on this page.

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Heroic Deeds
Heroic Deeds
DCM Award Ceremony
DCM Award Ceremony