Instituted on 31st December 1914 for award to Warrant Officers and Officers below the rank of Major in the Army and RFC, it was extended to officers of the RAF for acts of gallantry on the ground and during World War One there was provision made for officers of the Royal Naval Division and Royal Marines.
The MC was awarded to the town of Ypres in Belgium to recognise the hardship the town endured during WW1.
Since 1937 the cross has had the year of award engraved - usually on the bottom arm but examples do exist engraved in the centre.
Since 1983 recipients details have been engraved across the centre of the cross. Bars are authorised for additional acts which would have resulted in the award of the cross. Four men received the cross with THREE bars and 170 with two bars during the period 1914-1920. A bar is distinguished by a rosette being worn on the ribbon when ribbons alone are worn.
A total of around 37,000 crosses were awarded during the First World War.