The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system
. It is awarded for gallantry
not "in the presence of the enemy
" to both members of the British armed forces and to British civilians. It has always been able to be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank
in any service and to civilians including police, emergency services and merchant seamen. Many of the awards have been personally presented by the British monarch
to recipients and in the case of posthumous awards to next of kin. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace
Initially, the Empire Gallantry Medal
recognised acts of the highest bravery but was never considered equal to that of the Victoria Cross
. The George Cross succeeded the Empire Gallantry Medal and all those living that had been awarded the medal, and all posthumous awards from the outbreak of World War II, were obliged to exchange their medal for the George Cross. In 1971, the living recipients of either the Albert Medal
or Edward Medal
, that respectively recognised the saving of life and acts of bravery following industrial accidents, were invited to exchange their medals for the George Cross; 24 recipients elected not to exchange their medal.
Since the Second World War most Commonwealth realm
s have instituted their own honours systems with the second highest award being for gallantry not in the face of the enemy. In 1972, Canada created the Cross of Valour
for Canadian citizens;
in 1975 Australia, inspired by Canada, created a similar award with the same name in the Australian Honours System, the Cross of Valour
. Recipients of the Canadian and Australian awards both use the postnominal letters ''CV''.
Unlike the GC within British honours, the majority of Canadian CV awards and all Australian CV awards have been to civilians. The Australian Government ceased recommendations for British awards in 1983 and the last two Australian state governments ceased recommendations in 1989. On 5 October 1992, the Australian Prime Minister announced that Australian governments would make no further recommendations for British honours with British awards to Australians after that date being treated as foreign awards. During the 1975–1992 period when Australia made recommendations for both Australian and British awards, the State of Victoria recommended a GC which was granted. The award gazetted in 1978 was for 39 years the most recent award to a living civilian, until the award in 2017 to Dominic Troulan.
The Queen of New Zealand
has awarded the New Zealand Cross
to New Zealand citizens since its institution in 1999, which grants the wearer the postnominal letters ''NZC''.
There have been 407 George Cross awards, including two special awards, but no honorary awards. Some recipients serving in British forces were foreign born, including Albert Guérisse
(Belgium), Violette Szabo
(France), and Noor Inayat Khan
(Russia). All three served within the Special Operations Executive
during World War II. There are currently 20 living recipients.
This list contains all George Cross recipients including former recipients of the Empire Gallantry Medal
, the Albert Medal
or the Edward Medal
who exchanged their earlier award for the George Cross.
The table defaults to sorting alphabetically by name. When sorting by the heading "Rank (or Role)", military rank
s take precedence, followed by police rank
s and then all civilian roles. Military ranks are sorted by the comparative rank
of the recipient within the British Armed Forces
, where the Royal Navy
takes precedence, followed by the British Army
and then Royal Air Force
It is customary for Indian and Nepalese names to be written with the family name first, which is followed below unless their citation dictates otherwise.
Of the 410 awards of the George Cross, 408 have been individual awards and two have been collective awards.
By express instruction of King George VI, the Island of Malta
has been awarded the George Cross collectively in perpetuity. In a letter to Malta's Governor (Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie
) dated 15 April 1942, King George VI awarded the George Cross "to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". Dobbie replied: "By God's help Malta will not weaken but will endure until victory is won."
In a similar manner, Queen Elizabeth II
awarded the Royal Ulster Constabulary
the George Cross on 23 November 1999. Buckingham Palace
announced that it was awarded "to honour the courage and dedication of the officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and their families who have shared their hardship".
Queen Elizabeth II presented it in person at Hillsborough Castle
, County Down
. On 4 November 2001, the Royal Ulster Constabulary was renamed the Police Service of Northern Ireland
* List of living recipients of the George Cross
* List of Australian George Cross recipients
* Lists of Victoria Cross recipients
* British and Commonwealth orders and decorations
Canadian World War II recipients