Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

The Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) was instituted in 1886, to recognise acts of gallantry by military officers for which a Victoria Cross was not considered appropriate. In 1942, the regulations were amended to allow the award to be made to officers of the Merchant Navy for gallantry in the presence of the enemy. Following a UK review of gallantry awards in 1993, the purpose of the DSO was changed to recognise outstanding leadership at all ranks. At that time the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross replaced the award of the DSO for gallantry. The DSO was awarded to over 300 New Zealanders during both World Wars. The DSO is no longer awarded in New Zealand since the introduction of New Zealand’s own system of gallantry and Bravery awards in 1999. Bars are awarded for subsequent acts of gallantry. The ribbon is red with narrow blue edges.