British Military & Criminal History
1900 to 1999.
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This page is concerned with the George Medal, the 2nd highest gallantry award that a civilian can be awarded.
The George Medal was instituted, together with the George Cross, on 24 September 1940. At that time there was a particular need to reward a great many people in all walks of life. However, it was the intention of the authorities that the George Cross should stand supreme and that its position as the 'civilian Victoria Cross' should not be undermined by the award of larger numbers. The result was that the George Medal, or GM, was introduced as a 'junior' to the George Cross.
The George Medal is the 2nd highest, to the George Cross, gallantry medal that a civilian can win. As with the George Cross, Military personnel are eligible for the George Medal if their act does not qualify for a military gallantry award.
The original warrant for the George Medal did not permit it to be awarded posthumously. This was changed in November 1977, and the George Medal has been awarded posthumously several times since this date.
The following tables lists some of the first instances involving the award of the George Medal. The dates shown are those when the incident took place. The gazetting of the George Medal would have been sometime later, and after the George Medal was introduced on 24 September 1940.
The George Medal is a circular silver medal. The obverse depicts the effigy of the sovereign and the reverse show St. George slaying the dragon on the coast of England. The ribbon is red with five narrow stripes, the blue stripe colour being 'borrowed' from the George Cross ribbon.
A complete list of George Medal holders 1940-1983 can be found in the book "Dragons Can be Defeated" by D.V. Henderson.
Recent George Medal Awards
There have been several recent awards of the George Medal. As can be seen by the table below, the vast majority have been posthumous awards.
The list is in the order of the "Incident Date" which is not necessarily the order that the George Medal award was published in the London Gazette. Except in the case of Lisa Potts (who survived the attack on her despite her injuries), the George Medal was presented to the recipient's next-of-kin.