Awarded to Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Tovey GCB, KBE, DSO in 1919.
John Cronyn Tovey was born 7 March 1885 and joined the training ship 'Britannia just before his fifteenth birthday. At the beginning of the First World War he was serving as first lieutenant on board HMS 'Amphion'. He went on to command destroyers in particular HMS 'Onslow' at the battle of Jutland when he was promoted to commander for "the persistent and determined manner in which he attacked enemy ships". The citation for the award of the DSO published in the London Gazette 10 July 1919 reads, "For distinguished services in command of HMS 'Onslow'. After the war Tovey gained rapid promotion and in 1935 was promoted to Rear Admiral. From 1939-1940 he served under Admiral Cunningham in the Mediterrenean but in June was recalled to take command of the Home Fleet. Flying his flag in HMS 'King George V' he tool part in the sinking of the 'Bismarck' in May 1941. In July 1943 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Nore. In the same year he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet. He was created KBE in 1941, GCB in 1943 and became a baron in 1946. Lord Tovey died in 1971.
The medal is an enamelled white cross edged with gold with a green central wreath containing the Imperial Crown in gold on a red background. On the reverse is the Royal Cypher within a green wreath on a red background. The ribbon has a wide central stripe of red edged with narrower stripes of blue.
The Distinguished Service Order was instituted by Royal Warrant 6th September 1886. it was originally awarded to commissioned officers serving in the Royal Navy and Army. it was extended to officers in the RAF and to the Merchant Navy and Home Guard. In 1993 all ranks became eligible for the DSO which is now awarded for 'highly successful command and leadership'.