Talk:George Cross

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Not the highest award for civilians[edit]

I modified slightly the sentence "...and also the highest decoration awardable to civilians". The Victoria Cross is available to civilians serving under military command, as well as to soldiers. (Although it is very very rarely awarded to civilians.)Richard75 21:52, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Nancy Wake[edit]

A Google search for Nancy Wake produces a lot of website about her, none of which mention her receiving the George Cross. (Example.) Also there are a lot of sites about the George Cross which say that only THREE women won the GC during the War. I am going to delete the reference to her getting the Goerge croos as it seems to be an obvious mistake. If anyone can find any evidence that she really did get a GC then please undo my edit, but cite your source.Richard75 23:11, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

another female red cross recipient?[edit]

I'm pretty sure that at the end of Out of the Blue (2006 film), they claim that the George Cross has been awarded to the old lady who crawled from the wounded man near the phone booth to her house and back. Or am I mistaken? I just wonder if a) I incorrectly remember this, b) the film lies, c) this woman is missing in the list of female recipients of this award, or d) I just don't understand what "directly awarded" means. --Yogi de 07:49, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

See the "creation" section of the article. Some people exchanged earlier awards for the GC, directly means that the recipient recived the GC not an earlier award. --Philip Baird Shearer 19:44, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I believe she was awarded the George Medal. Kiwi Ace 09:53, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

George Cross awards to military recipients[edit]

I read that Privates Benjamin Hardy and Ralph Jones were awarded the George Cross for their part in the Cowra Breakout in Australia, which is fantastic, especially for the locking of the machine gun - but I read the George Cross is only awarded to civilians, or to soldiers for acts of bravery not in the face of an enemy. Does being a POW, despite being somewhat armed and intent on killing, not count as "enemy"? Just wondering if anyone had any more information on this? Wampusaust 01:49, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Posthumous awards[edit]

I have corrected the number of posthumous awards from 71 to 86, as per [1], the source of much information on this page, which gives 71 as the number of surviving (i.e. non-posthumous) awards, excluding the two collective awards. There is, though, a minor problem over the figures on this site: it says there have been "158 direct awards [i.e. not by substitution] of the GC", a figure which agrees with the same site's alphabetical listing; however, 86 posthumous plus 73 surviving/collective awards totals 159; so there seems to be an error somewhere, and this figure of 86 may have to be revised down to 85. I have emailed the keeper of the site, and will alter the figures if need be. Vilĉjo 18:55, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

In response to my email, the website has now been updated and I am incorporating the new info into the article. Vilĉjo 18:09, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
The infobox says 86 posthumous winners, the text says 87. Can someone who knows about this subject correct this? Richard75 (talk) 01:18, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Licensing issues[edit]

The main image might have a licence problem. See Image talk:GeorgeCrossObv.png. ButterStick (talk) 22:54, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Victoria Cross vs George Cross[edit]

I've removed the following text from the article to here, pending discussion. Please do not re-insert this until this is agreed or not. This is not my text - an anon's.

"Contrary to popular belief, the George Cross does not hold the same rank as the Victoria Cross. The seventh article of the letters patent creating the George Cross directs that it be worn after the Victoria Cross, and before the insignia of all the orders of chivalry. See the text of the norm at:"

Thanks Ian Cairns (talk) 21:00, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

As I understand it they afford the same precedence, but when wearing decorations, or writing post-noms, in the case that someone had been awarded both, VC would be worn/written first, largely becuase it was created earlier. David Underdown (talk) 18:00, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree the GC and VC are of equal status. The order of precedence is often confusing. For example the George Medal is worn after the Military Cross, yet the GM is a level two gallantry award, the MC a level three one. ( (talk) 22:28, 12 May 2008 (UTC))

I would strongly disagree that the GC and VC are of equal status. If they were, then the date of award would determine which is worn first. However, this is not the case - the VC is _always_ worn before the GC. The order of precedence is not confusing at all - the UK, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian authorities make no mention of 'equality' between the two, indeed, the New Zealand Order of Wear actually has the New Zealand Cross worn ahead of the GC. PalawanOz (talk) 08:11, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
I have removed "However, the VC is higher in order of precedence and would be worn first by an individual who had been awarded both decorations (which has not so far occurred) as it was the first of the two to be established." It is unsourced and speculative. It may be true, but until someone wins both awards and lives long enough to worry about what order to wear them in, it seems pedantic to mention it in the lead.
For the record The wording in the The George Cross Warrant is: "Seventhly: It is ordained that the Cross shall be worn by recipients on the left breast suspended from a ribbon one and a quarter inches in width, of dark blue, that it shall be worn immediately after the Victoria Cross and in front of the Insignia of all British Orders of Chivalry, and that on those occasions when only the ribbon is worn, a replica in silver of the Cross in miniature shall be affixed to the centre of the ribbon." and then goes on to say "Provided that when the Cross is worn by a woman, it may be worn on the left shoulder, suspended from a ribbon of the same width and colour, fashioned into a bow." --PBS (talk) 01:18, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
The VC and GC sit at the same level (1) within the British honours system, but since the VC is older than the GC it comes first in the order of wear (the order of precedence is irrelevant to this topic). All awards of the same type (be that an honour, decoration or medal) at the same level are ordered by date of establishment. Wiki-Ed (talk) 21:31, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
That's not true either. It's more complex than that. The Military Cross, a "level 3" award, is worn before the George Medal, a "level 2" award, since "crosses" always take precedence over "medals". The fact remains that in order of wear, and thus in order of precedence, a VC comes before a GC. No two awards are ever at the same level in the British Honours System. -- Necrothesp (talk) 19:18, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I think it is a mistake to get too caught up in "level 2" vs "level 3" etc, etc. To the best of my knowledge these "levels" are at best a shorthand with no official standing. They are certainly convenient, but the British honours system was not structured around the concept of "levels", even if this structure can be superficially applied.
Xdamrtalk 19:39, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
And yet even the most recent announcements from the MOD describe the GC as the "equivalent" of the VC. David Underdown (talk) 20:47, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Please remember that the Order of precedence in England and Wales is something separate from the order of wear. Some honours have positions in both, but neither the VC or GC actually confer precedence. David Underdown (talk) 21:03, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
You're completely right and that was sloppy wording on my part. So, setting aside the Order of Precedence in favour of the order of precedence of British honours. The VC's position over the GC is a) is indicated by the Order of Wear, and b) explicitly identified as such in the Warrant. I appreciate the point re. MoD announcements, but, having some professional experience with what the MoD puts out, I'm not inclined to treat it as the final word on much! These press-release type statements are not intended as authoritative declarations, even if, emanating as they do from the MoD, they do demand that we take notice of them. For this it is best to refer to the Warrant, as the ultimate authority upon which the GC is founded. This, I would suggest, trumps anything the MoD Press Office puts out?
Xdamrtalk 21:22, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't dispute the order of wear or the warrants, but it seems to me a very narrow view, which does not take into account how the honours system actually operates. I'm as distrustful of press statements as the next man, but this is harldy a one off, we have a refernce to the MOD website which shows how the levels are the framework in which decorations are actually considered and granted - it is the VC and GC alone which must go through an extra level of vetting before they are awarded, and at least two sworn witness statements are usually required. Consider also George VI's own words when he announced the decoration, as quoted in the article, the new George Cross was to rank "next to" the VC, not after it. Also the current Queen's website says (on "Instituted in 1940 by The Queen’s father King George VI, the George Cross ranks with the Victoria Cross as the nation’s highest award for gallantry. It recognises actions of supreme gallantry in circumstances for which the Victoria Cross was not appropriate." (my emphasis).
Consider the latest few awards, can anyone have any real doubt that if Trooper Finney had been under fire from Iraqi, rather than US, aircraft he would have received the VC rather than the GC? Or that if the grenade on which Matthew Croucher lay had been thrown or fired by a member of the Taliban, rather than being released by a booby trap, he too would have received the VC, not GC. Even the most recent awards show what a fine dsitinction is made, some of Schmid and Hughes's actions were actually carried out under fire, it seems the only reason they received the GC, not the VC, is that their particualr role is not seen as combat as such. 70 years' custom and practice shows to me that the only real distinction betweent eh awards is whether or not that key criteria "in the face of the enemy" has been met, and I for one am not prepared to suggest that gallantry shown by GC holders is any less than that shown by VCs - in fact repeatedly approaching IEDs, in cold blood, knowing that the slightest mitake could well lead to your death, seems almost harder. David Underdown (talk) 08:47, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────From the history of the article I have (Moved the "order of wear" down into the award section. As no one has yet been awarded both it is of academic interest (not lead material) and the "However .." was argumentative and pointy (see talk)) -- PBS (talk) 20:08, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

George Cross Backdated?[edit]

In the Article it states the GC Was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. on this web site there is mention of one being awarded in November 1930 , was the GC ever awarded for previous acts of bravery ? js1 11:20, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

At various times, holders of certain earlier decorations were required to trade their original decorations for the GC, and were then counted as GC recipients. Details are in the article. Looking here, Alder was originally awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal, which was the first decoration superseded by the GC. David Underdown (talk) 11:54, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

What's special about Australia?[edit]

Why is this article so slanted towards Australia? Sure some Aussies have won the GC. But their contribution receives disproportionate attention here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:39, 23 July 2008 (UTC)


The article should be updated. Canada does not recommend Canadians for the George Cross. It has not done so since the 1970s. Therefore the use of the "Commonwealth of Nations" in the lead is incorrect. fr33kman -s- 02:39, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

It said many Commonwealth Nations so it was accurate and correct. That being said, David Underdown has tried to clarify this in the lead. Regards. Woody (talk) 20:17, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I changed it to "many Commonwealth Nations", thanks for improving it further. :-) fr33kman -s- 22:42, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Female recipients - the bottom line[edit]

According to [2], 4 women were directly awarded the GC, 4 translated from the Empire Gallantry Medal in 1940 and 5 translated from the Albert Medal in 1971. Hope that's cleared it up.Acmthompson (talk) 19:06, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

That link no longer works. Listing here some of the female recipients (including the ones exchanged or not exchanged for earlier awards) in an attempt to clear this up:
  • Odette Hallowes (GC); FANY; Espionage and PoW; 1946
  • Noor Inayat Khan (GC); FANY; Espionage; 1949
  • Barbara Jane Harrison (GC); Stewardess, BOAC; Airplane rescue; 1969
  • Daphne Pearson (EGM); WAAF; Air crash rescue; 1940
  • Violette Szabo (GC); FANY; Espionage; 1946
  • Margaret Vaughan (AM); 14 year-old Schoolgirl; Tidal rescue; 1949
  • Harriet Elizabeth Fraser (AM); Staff Nurse, Territorial Forces Nursing Service; Hospital fire rescue; 1919
  • Dorothy Louise Thomas (EGM); Nurse, Middlesex Hospital, London; Explosion averted; 1934
  • Emma Jose Townsend (EGM); Schoolgirl; Fighting off a murderer; 1932
  • Hilda Elizabeth Wolsey (AM); Nurse, Hanwell Asylum; Lunatic asylum rescue; 1911
  • Florence Alice Allen (AM); Children's Nurse; Earthquake rescue; 1935
  • Doreen Ashburnham (AM); 11 year-old girl; Fighting off a cougar; 1917
  • Ashraf-Un-Nisa (EGM); Begum of Hyderabad; Fire rescue; 1937
Information is from the George Cross database. Trouble is, that is only 12 instead of 13. Four of them directly awarded the George Cross (GC). Five originally awarded the Albert Medal (AM). But I've only found three of the four originally awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM). Which EGM is missing? Carcharoth (talk) 00:45, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Found it. Ashraf-Un-Nisa Begum (THE EDINBURGH GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 5, 1937). Added to the list above. Carcharoth (talk) 01:05, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
There also appear to be (based on searches for "girl" and "boy") three awards given to girls and three to boys. The three girls are above and the three boys are (a 13-year-old who stopped a runaway bull and got an EM in 1944; a 14-year-old who carried out a rescue from a flooded river and got an AM in 1944; and a schoolboy (age not give) who carried out a rescue from a frozen pond and got an AM in 1948). Some of the naval awards might be to young cabin boys (though the naval rank of "Boy" wasn't always teenagers or young men). Anyway, I may write to the person who maintains that site, per the advice here, and see if some other questions can be answered. The page linked above, by the way, does exist, but the page name was changed. It is now here. Carcharoth (talk) 22:51, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Ambiguous wording[edit]

"Croucher will be the first reservist to receive either a VC or GC since current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan began"? How so? What exactly does this sentence mean by "current operations"? If "current operations" means the entire British campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001 as most readers would presume, then this statement is clearly false, as evidenced by several GC awards before Croucher. If it means something else, then what exactly does it mean? Someone should clarify what is meant by "current operations" in this context. Clear skies to you (talk) 00:20, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

The key bit is "reservist", yes other GC/VCs have been awarded, but all to regulars. David Underdown (talk) 19:15, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Clarification regarding child winners[edit]

Emma Jose Townsend was a 52-year-old nurse, not a schoolgirl. The rescuer from a pond was the late David Western who was 10 at the time.

Eight year old Anthony Farrer won the AM alongside Doreen Ashburnham but did not live to receive the GC — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:33, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Questionable recipient[edit]

I have moved a questionable recipient of the GC from the article, here to the talk page. I can find no reliable source for this trooper's award. Its not in the London Gazette and it does not show up in Google.

  • Trooper Adam Justin of the Special Air Service also won the GC for carrying his injured colleague approximately 5.6 km after he had received non fatal wounds during the conflict in Afghanistan[citation needed]

Collective awards[edit]

I have deleted the footnote that stated ‘Such collective awards have only been bestowed on three occasions—two separate awards of the George Cross to Malta and the RUC and one award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross to the Royal Irish Regiment.’ Collective awards by the British are rare but in addition to the two George Cross awards and the CGC to the Royal Irish Regiment, two Military Crosses was bestowed on the cities of Verdun and Ypres and the Distinguished Service Cross bestowed on Dunkirk during the First World War. Anthony Staunton (talk) 12:46, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Two overlooked GC exchange awards may have been discovered[edit]

Methuen who is publishing the forthcoming three VC and GC volumes has been updating their media release every few days; See 29 August at Two overlooked GCs may have been discovered - one an Albert Medal recipient from 1918 and the other an Edward Medal recipient from 1913. If both were living when the announcement was made that living recipients would receive the GC then they are now GC recipients even if they have since died. However, I have not heard their names or when this information will be publicly available. Anthony Staunton (talk) 11:24, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

It has recently emerged that an Albert Medal (AM) recipient who died in 1974 and an Edward Medal (EM) recipient who died in 1972 have not been previously recognized as George Cross (GC) recipients. They would have automatically been considered to be GC recipients as from October 1971. What government authority needs to confirm they are now officially recognized as GC recipients is unclear. AM and EM recipients had the option to exchange insignia and if they retained their original insignia they were still regarded as GC recipients.
The Albert Medal recipient who died in 1974 is Sergeant Victor Brooks, Canadian Cavalry Field Ambulance see The London Gazette, 8 November 1918, p. 13206 and Note that both the citation and medal spell his surname as Brooks whereas the family name seems to be Brookes.
The Edward Medal recipient who died in 1972 is Percy Norwood see The London Gazette, 13 February 1914, p. 1173 and Anthony Staunton (talk) 16:07, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

New GC gazetted - Lieutenant Samuel John SHEPHARD[edit]

To a Royal Marine Lieutenant during an incident on adventurous training. London gazette — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sapient (talkcontribs) 21:01, 15 October 2014 (UTC)


This paragraph needs clarification. There is no reference for the current UK annuity although the second reference gives an useful annuity history from when it was introduced in 1965 until 2002. I suspect that there was at least one increase in the rate of annuity before 2015. Australian GC recipients have not received $A250 per year since 1995 and the living Australian GC receives an annuity of more than $A4000 per year indexed annually. Is there any information on whether Canadian and Malaysian recipients receive an annuity. Anthony Staunton (talk) 13:24, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Recent recipients/Female Recipients[edit]

I am not sure why these sections are her and especially the wording "only". The people who are not given special mention are just as brave and worthy as the people mentioned here. They are all mentioned in the list of recipients. It seems quite invidious. Op47 (talk) 21:49, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

I wouldn't say invidious but I completely agree with your sentiments. There shouldn't be a separate recent recipients section. A paragraph in the recipients section should do it. Woody (talk) 23:38, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

George Cross in fiction[edit]

That Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams in "Hawaii Five-0" episode "No Ke Ali'i' Wahine A Me Ka Aina" (2016) are recipients of the George Cross is as unlikely as a foreign military person being awarded the British Victoria Cross. It is nearly 40 years since a living civilian has been awarded the George Cross and no awards have ever been awarded to non British and Commonwealth nationals other than members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. I enjoy the series and will look out for the episode but without having seen the episode perhaps they were awarded the George Medal and the media made the common error of confusing the George Cross and the George Medal. Anthony Staunton (talk) 04:01, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Still no GC to a civilian in the UK and just how many GCs have been awarded[edit]

The award of the George Cross on Friday is the first to a civilian since 1992 and the first to a living civilian since 1978. The last four awards to civilians have been 1976 posthumously Italy, 1978 Australia, 1992 posthumously New Zealand and on Friday Kenya. This means that the posthumous award to Roger Goad in 1975, 42 years ago is the last award to a civilian in the UK. The last living civilian in the UK was to James Beaton of the Metropolitan Police for protecting Princess Anne in 1974. Unfortunately, there is no official published count of how many GCs have been awarded and with the latest award the highest total I have seen is 415 which I believe should the correct total. However, there is no verification that total matches the number of awards listed on the Register of the George Cross as required by the warrant. Really there should be two more or the accidental award should be cancelled which is unimaginable. Anthony Staunton (talk) 16:41, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Collective (sic) awards[edit]

The GC has been awarded to Malta and to the RUC. They were awarded to a county and to a police force not to individual Maltase and individual sworn and unsworn RUC members. A better and more accurate description should be ungazetted awards. Anthony Staunton (talk) 05:23, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

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