Instituted in 1886 by Queen Victoria, originally for military officers only for 'distinguished services under fire or under conditions equivalent to service in actual combat with the enemy'. In 1994 the award was opened to all ranks for 'command and leadership'. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal DSO after their name. The ribbon is of crimson with dark blue edges. From 1901 to 1972, when the last Australian to receive the DSO was announced, 1,018 of this award were made to Australians over the major conflicts, along with 70 first Bars and a single second Bar.
Please be aware that the small version of this award is single sided, and as such does not have the Monarch's details on the reverse - all small versions of this award are the same.