Pengolodh (s.c) (pengolodh_sc) wrote,
Pengolodh (s.c)
pengolodh_sc

Just a post on orders

Information mainly taken from the official Australian government webpage about the honours-system

There were, at the time of the treaty-talks, seven Orders of Honour in Britain which give the right to the prefix Sir, and one other way of gaining that distinction:

The Most Noble Order of the Garter
The most senior order of the British Empire. Considered primarily English. A sovereign order, of one class, membership limited to the Sovereign and 26 Knights Companion (since 1987 the Order has also admitted Ladies Companion). Appointments are made as a gesture of the Sovereign's personal esteem. Wives of Knights Companion of this Order may use the title Lady. Post-nominal letters: KG

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
Ranks second of the British Orders of Honour. Considered the Scots national order. A sovereign order, of one class, membership limited to the Sovereign and 16 Knights Companion/Knights Brethren (since 1987 the Order has also admitted Ladies). It is awarded to persons of Scots descent who have won the personal esteem of the monarch. Wives of Knights Companion of this Order may use the title Lady. Post-nominal letters: KT

The Most illustrious Order of St. Patrick.
Considered the Irish national order at the time when Ireland was still a part of the Empire. Wwent into effective abeyance in 1922; with the 1974 death of the last living recipient, Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, the order effectively lapsed. Founded to reward those with high offices in Ireland and Irish peers. A sovereign order, of one class, membership limited to the Sovereign and 22 Knights Companion. Wives of Knights Companion of this Order may use the title Lady. Post-nominal letters: KP

Note that membership of any one of the Sovereign Orders listed above excludes one from membership in the other two orders.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Mainly awarded to senior military officers for services in action and to people who give distinguished service at senior levels in political and government service. There are three classes of award in military and civilian division; the two highest classes give the right to use the prefix Sir (Dame):

Knight Grand Cross - GCB
Knight Commander - KCB
Companion - CB


The Royal Victorian Order
Founded in 1896 by Queen Victoria to give recognition to those who have rendered outstanding service to the Sovereign or to the Royal Family. The awards are in the personal gift of the Sovereign. There are five classes of award in one division; the two highest classes give the right to use the prefix Sir (Dame):

Knight or Dame Grand Cross - GCVO
Knight or Dame Commander - KCVO
Commander - CVO
Lieutenant - LVO
Member - MVO


The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George
Established to give recognition to British subjects who have served abroad or within the British Commonwealth. It was also used during WW I to acknowledge military exploits. There are three classes of award; the two highest classes give the right to use the prefix Sir (Dame):

Knight Grand Cross - GCMG
Knight Commander - KCMG
Companion - CMG


The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Formed in 1917 to reward service to the British Empire in the United Kingdom and abroad. Originally had only a civil division, but a military division was added in 1918 to acknowledge distinguished military service of a non-combative nature. There are five classes of award (and also a rank of medal, but not included below); the two highest classes give the right to use the prefix Sir (Dame):

Knight or Dame Grand Cross - GBE
Knight or Dame Commander - KBE or DBE
Commander - CBE
Officer - OBE
Member - MBE


Knights Bachelor
Not an Order of Honour. Appointment to give recognition in any sphere of action or achievement, most often in instances where it is a felt a knighthood is appropriate, but there is not room for appointment in any of the Orders of Honour. Women may not be appointed as Knights. Persons appointed as Knights Bachelor are entitled to be addressed as Sir but there is no post-nominal entitlement. The wife of a Knight may use the title Lady.

Other orders, which do not give the right to the prefix Sir:
Order of Merit
Established in 1902 to acknowledge distinguished service in cultural activities-art, music , drama, music and literature. May also be awarded to senior officers of the armed services for exceptionally distinguished service in wartime. The Order consists of the Sovereign and up to 24 members in a single class and includes a civil and a military division. Postnominal letters: OM

The Order of the Companion of Honour
Instituted in 1917 to reward nationally important service in Great Britain and its Dominions. It has only a single class and is limited to 65 members. There is/was a quato-system for appointments form the different Dominions. Australian nominees tended to be PMs and Deputy PMs. Post-nominal letters: CH

The Distinguished Service Order
Instituted in 1886 for military officers only for 'distinguished services under fire or under conditions equivalent to service in actual combat with the enemy'. Postnominal letters: DSO

Military Cross
Instituted in December 1914 for lower ranking Army officers (Captain or less) and Warrant Officers for 'distinguished and meritorious services'. In 1916 the award was extended to similar ranks of the Navy and Air Force but only for World War 1. Postnomial letters: MC

Distinguished Service Cross
Instituted in 1914 for naval officers below the rank of Lieutenant Commander for 'valuable services in action that did not meet the requirements for the award of the Distinguished Service Order'. Post-nominal letters: DSC

The Air Force Cross
Instituted in 1918 for air force officers for 'an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying though not in active operations against the enemy'. Post-nominal letters: AFC

The Imperial Service Order and The Imperial Service Medal
Instituted in 1902 to recognize distinguished public service by senior officers and at junior levels of the British and of the civil services of Commonwealth countries. Senior officers who had served at least 25 years received the Imperial Service Order. Junior officers who had served at least 25 years received the Imperial Service Medal. The service requirement is reduced to 16 years for service in adverse conditions. Post-nominal letters: ISO and ISM respectively

An order exclusively for females was:
The Royal Red Cross
Awarded to members of the officially recognised nursing services without restriction to rank who have 'shown exceptional devotion or competency in performance of nursing duties with the Army in the field, or in Naval and Military or Air Force hospitals or in an Auxiliary War hospital over a continuous or long period or who has performed some exceptional act of bravery or devotion to the post of duty'. Two classes:

Member - RRC
Associate - ARRC


The Grand Priory in the British Realm of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
Not part of the official Honours system, this is an affiliate of The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, (the two orders often being called The Most Venerable ORder of St. John and the Sovereign Order of St. John, respectively, for short) but unlike the Sovereign Order of St. John, which requires members to be of Catholic faith, the Most Venerable Order of St. John only requires profession to any of the major Christian denominations. Exists in six orders, none of which give postnominal letters (except for correspondence within the order) or prefixes:
- Bailiff Grand Cross, Dame Grand Cross
- Knight of Justice, Knight of Grace, Dame of Justice, Dame of Grace, Sub-Prelate, Chaplain
- Commander Brother, Commander Sister
- Officer Brother, Officer Sister, Sub-Chaplain
- Serving Brother, Serving Sister
- Esquire, Donat

Only members with paternal nobility or the right to bear a properly recorded coat of arms may become Knight or Dame of Justice. See this page for more details.

The following is the order fo precedence of such orders as mentioned above - the order of precedence is also the order in which the postnominal letters, if any, are listed behind a person's name:

- Victoria Cross - VC
- Knight of the Garter - KG
- Knight of the Thistle - KT
- Knight of St. Patrick - KP
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath - GCB
- Order of Merit - OM
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George - GCMG
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order - GCVO
- Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire - GBE
- Companion of Honour - CH
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath - KCB/DCB
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George - KCMG/DCMG
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order - KCVO/DCVO
- Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire - KBE/DBE
- Knight Bachelor
- Companion of the Order of the Bath - CB
- Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George - CMG
- Commander of the Royal Victorian Order - CVO
- Commander of the Order of the British Empire - CBE
- Companion of the Distinguished Service Order - DSO
- Distinguished Service Cross - DSC
- Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order - LVO
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire - OBE
- Companion of the Imperial Service Order - ISO
- Member of the Royal Victorian Order - MVO
- Member of the Order of the British Empire - MBE
- Royal Red Cross (1st Class) - RRC
- Distinguished Service Cross - DSC
- Military Cross - MC
- Distinguished Flying Cross - DFC
- Air Force Cross - AFC
- Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) - ARRC
- Any ranks of the Venerable Order of St John
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