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Military Cross (MC)

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Major General Kodandera Arjun Muthanna (Retd)


The British had a system of awards for different ranks. There were awards and medals, for the military and for the civilians. The Victoria Cross (VC), the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories, was introduced in 1856 and all personnel, irrespective of rank, were eligible.

Other awards were based on different ranks. The other military awards/medals included the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) (General Kodandera Thimayya was a recipient while commanding his battalion in combat in Burma sector in World War II. This was followed in importance by the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) (Field Marshal Kodandera Cariappa was a recipient for his service as a staff officer in a combat HQ in Burma Sector during World War II). Next was Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) (Lt Gen Apparanda Iyappa was a recipient for his courage and steadfastness through his captivity with Japanese Forces during World War II).

In 1914 the British Government instituted the Military Cross (MC) which was to be awarded for an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land, to Captains or officers of lower rank up to warrant officers. The equivalent for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and soldiers was the Military Medal (MM).

Kodava awardees

Two Officers from Kodagu, both medical doctors, serving in the British Indian Army, were decorated with the Military Cross, for their gallantry in operations, one in the First World War and one in the Second World War.