List of Australian George Cross recipients

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An ellipse of orange pavers surrounded by a grey boarder, with a man-made rock structure on one side of the ellipse displaying plaques. On the other side are two bench seats. Grass surrounds the ellipse and trees can be seen in the background.
Memorial to Australian recipients of the George Cross, George Cross Park, Canberra.

The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration for heroism in the United Kingdom, a status it also holds, or has held, in several countries comprising the Commonwealth of Nations.[1] The George Cross (Post-nominal letters "GC") is regarded as the civilian counterpart of the Victoria Cross, and is awarded to civilians for "acts of the greatest heroism" or to military personnel for actions that are not "in the face of the enemy" or for which purely military honours would not normally be granted.[2][3] In an official radio broadcast on 23 September 1940, King George VI announced his decision to establish the awards of the GC and George Medal to recognise individual acts of bravery by the civilian population.[4] The Royal Warrant that established the awards was published in the London Gazette on 31 January 1941.[2] Australians received the GC under the Imperial honours system until the establishment of the Australian honours system in 1975, although Australians continued to receive Imperial awards until the late 1980s. The GC was replaced by a new award, the Cross of Valour, which was created by letters patent within the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories on 14 February 1975.[5][6] One further award of the GC, however, was granted after this date to Constable Michael Kenneth Pratt in 1978.[7]

Between the first award of the GC to an Australian in 1942 and the final bestowal in 1978, 14 Australians were directly decorated with the medal. Of these, nine were awarded to military personnel and five to civilians. Eight of the medals were awarded posthumously.[8] At the time of the institution of the GC, living recipients of the Empire Gallantry Medal automatically became recipients of the new award, and were required to return their previous medal; two Australians became GC holders through this method. In 1971, the British Government announced that living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal would be invited to exchange their medals for the GC, and henceforth formally become recipients of the latter award. The decision for such an action was the result of the decline in the status and significance of the two awards, leading recipients to feel they were not receiving the recognition they were due.[8][9] Of the 27 Australian holders of the Albert Medal, six were living at the time and all opted to exchange their insignia for the GC. None of the eight Australians awarded the Edward Medal were alive in 1971,[10] and thus no Australian became a recipient of the GC through this exchange. Including exchange awards, a total of 22 Australians were decorated with the GC.[8]

Recipients[edit]

The George Cross

      This along with the * (asterisk) indicates that the George Cross was awarded posthumously.
      This along with the ^ indicates that the George Cross was awarded to military personnel for actions "not in the face of the enemy".

Direct awards of the George Cross[edit]

Name Date of action Organisation Summary of action(s) Notes
Bailey, EricEric Bailey 1945-01-1212 January 1945* New South Wales Police Force Apprehended a suspect while mortally wounded [11]
Donoghue, RaymondRaymond Donoghue 1960-04-2929 April 1960* Metropolitan Tram Trust Attempting to regain control of tram during accident [12]
Emanuel, ErrolErrol Emanuel 1969-07-01July 1969 –
August 1971*
District Commissioner, Territory of Papua New Guinea Resolving factional conflicts and restoring local government in Papua New Guinea [13]
Goldsworthy, LeonLeon Goldsworthy^ 1943-06-1212 June 1943 –
10 April 1944
Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War [14]
Gosse, GeorgeGeorge Gosse^ 1945-05-088–19 May 1945 Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War [15]
Hardy, BenjaminBenjamin Hardy^ 1944-08-055 August 1944* Citizens Military Force Gallantry during Cowra breakout [16]
Jones, RalphRalph Jones^ 1944-08-055 August 1944* Citizens Military Force Gallantry during Cowra breakout [16]
Madden, HoraceHorace Madden^ 1951-04-2424 April 1951 –
6 November 1951*
Australian Army Fortitude while a prisoner of war, Korean War [17]
Matthews, LionelLionel Matthews^ 1942-08-01August 1942 –
March 1944*
Second Australian Imperial Force Fortitude while a prisoner of war, Second World War [18]
Mould, JohnJohn Mould^ 1941-11-1414 November 1941 –
30 June 1942
Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War [19]
Pratt, MichaelMichael Pratt 1976-06-044 June 1976 Victoria Police Force Intervention in an armed robbery [7]
Rogers, JonathanJonathan Rogers^ 1964-02-1010 February 1964* Royal Australian Navy Gallantry during Melbourne-Voyager collision [20]
Syme, HughHugh Syme^ 1941-05-1919 May 1941 –
25 December 1942
Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War [21]
Taylor, GeorgeGeorge Taylor 1951-01-01January–March 1951 Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources Gallantry during eruption of Mount Lamington, Papua New Guinea [22]

Empire Gallantry Medal and Albert Medal exchanges[edit]

EGM = This indicates a recipient of the Empire Gallantry Medal who exchanged the award for the George Cross.
AM = This indicates a recipient of the Albert Medal who exchanged the award for the George Cross.

Name Date of action Organisation Summary of action(s) Notes
Bagot, ArthurArthur Bagot^ 1918-05-1212 April 1918 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Gallantry during engine room explosion on HM Motor Launch 356 AM[23]
Chalmers, JackJack Chalmers 1922-02-044 February 1922 North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club Rescue of swimmer during shark attack AM[24]
Gibbs, StanleyStanley Gibbs 1927-01-033 January 1927 Civilian Rescue of swimmer during shark attack AM[25]
Kavanaugh, RobertRobert Kavanaugh 1929-01-1919 January 1929 Civilian Rescue of swimmer during shark attack AM[26]
March, FrederickFrederick March 1924-11-1919 November 1924 Chauffeur to Governor-General of Sudan Gallantry during assassination of the Governor-General of Sudan EGM[27]
McAloney, WilliamWilliam McAloney^ 1937-08-3131 August 1937 Royal Australian Air Force Attempted rescue of an officer trapped in a burning aircraft AM[28]
Richards, RichardRichard Richards 1915-10-099 October 1915 –
19 March 1916
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition Gallantry during Trans-Antarctic Expedition AM[29]
Taylor, PatrickPatrick Taylor 1935-05-1515 May 1935 Australia-New Zealand airmail flight Gallantry during flight when the aircraft's starboard engine failed EGM[30]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Staunton 2005, p. vi
  2. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 35060. pp. 622–623. 31 January 1941. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  3. ^ Macklin 2008, p. 16
  4. ^ "The Decoration". George Cross Database. Retrieved 6 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Cross of Valour". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2009. 
  6. ^ Staunton 2005, p. 350
  7. ^ a b The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47582. p. 8045. 4 July 1978. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Staunton 2005, pp. 291–339
  9. ^ "George Cross "Exchanges"". George Cross Database. Retrieved 6 February 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2009. 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37771. p. 5307. 29 October 1946. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42162. p. 6849. 11 October 1960. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 45588. p. 1281. 1 February 1972. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36707. p. 4333. 19 September 1944. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37549. p. 2085. 30 April 1946. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  16. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 39008. p. 4431. 1 September 1950. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40665. p. 7299. 30 December 1955. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38134. p. 5635. 28 November 1947. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35769. p. 4761. 3 November 1942. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: no. 43604. p. 2797. 19 March 1965. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36118. p. 3499. 3 August 1943. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39519. p. 2165. 22 April 1952. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30852. p. 9700. 20 August 1918. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32727. p. 5103. 7 July 1922. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33246. p. 864. 8 February 1927. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33653. pp. 6316–6317. 17 October 1930. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32999. p. 8851. 5 December 1924. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  28. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34485. p. 1069. 18 February 1938. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  29. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32842. p. 4686. 6 July 1923. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  30. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34416. pp. 4414–4415. 9 July 1937. Retrieved 6 February 2009.

References[edit]

  • Macklin, Robert (2008). Bravest: How Some of Australia's Greatest War Heroes Won Their Medals. Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74114-882-4. 
  • Staunton, Anthony (2005). Victoria Cross: Australia's Finest and the Battles they Fought. Prahran, Victoria, Australia: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 1-74066-288-1.