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Distinguished Service Order: CM.1495-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: London
Ruler: George V (1910-36)
State: Britain
Ruler: GvR (With the title of)




The Distinguished Service Order was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1886, to reward individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war, usually under fire--resentment among front-line troops over awards to staff officers during the Great War led this to be made official policy in 1917. Until 1943 only those mentioned in despatches were eligible. The medal is still awarded for outstanding military command or leadership.
This medal is unnamed, but belonged to 2nd Lieutenant John Mitchell of the Royal Air Force, with whose other medals Lester Watson acquired it. As the bulk of these decorations were earnt in service in the 1919-1920 campaigns in South Russia, it is likely that Mitchell's DSO was earned there too, perhaps for the same exploit for which he was awarded membership of the Russian Order of Saint George.
Although the catalogue of the Watson Collection considers this medal part of its Group 7, the medals of that group are not physically attached and so have been treated separately here. Nonetheless it was as a group that Lester Watson purchased them, from the London dealers Baldwin in 1928.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt Baldwin 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 41.3 mm
Weight: 32.09 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


1916 - 1935



Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Laurel wreath around royal monogram, all enamelled green gilt & red, arms of cross enamelled white

  • Text: GvR
  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Laurel wreath around crown, all enamelled green gilt and red, arms of cross enamelled white

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1495-2009
Primary reference Number: 141592
Watson Catalogue: 88
Ordering: M-0381
Previous object number: LW.0365a
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 22 January 2022 Last processed: Tuesday 13 June 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Distinguished Service Order" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-13 05:37:47

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