The Distinguished Conduct Medal was instituted by Royal Warrant on 4 December 1854, during the Crimean War, as an award to Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men for “distinguished, gallant and good conduct in the field”. For all ranks below commissioned officers, it was the second highest award for gallantry in action after the Victoria Cross, and the other ranks’ equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order, which was awarded to commissioned officers for bravery. Prior to the institution of this decoration, there had been no medal awarded by the British government in recognition of individual acts of gallantry in the Army. During the First World War, the concern arose that the overwhelming number of medals which were being awarded would devalue the prestige of those already awarded. The Military Medal for bravery in battle on land was therefore instituted on 25 March 1916, as an alternative award to the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The lesser Military Medal was usually awarded for bravery from this date and the Distinguished Conduct Medal was reserved for exceptional acts of bravery. Around 25,000 Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded during the First World War.