In the early days of the Second World War King George VI was so impressed with the heroic deeds of civilians in non-combatant roles like rescuing people after air raids and servicemen and women out of the front line. As a result of this in September 1940 the King instituted the George Cross for ‘For Gallantry’ to be awarded to civilians, servicemen and women away from the heat of battle. The George Cross replaced the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry or EGM and its recipients were offered the opportunity to return it to the Central Chancellery of the Orders of Knighthood to have it replaced by a George Cross. In 1971, recipients of the Albert Medal could also exchange this for a George Cross. I have included all the EGM’s awarded during WW2 too as essentially they are GC’s. As the award evolved during the war its criteria changed slightly for the better and included the George Cross being awarded to a whole island and several awards going to members of the S.O.E. Primarily a civilian award there was no such award available to servicemen and women for performing heroic acts whilst not in the face of the enemy so they were made eligible too. Often referred to as the civilian Victoria Cross this is testimony itself of the level of bravery that has to be displayed to be awarded such a medal. However I think a better way to describe this medal, so it takes nothing away from the Victoria Cross and on the same hand the George Cross gives nothing, is to refer to it as the non-combatants equivalent of the Victoria Cross. In some ways the George Cross could be held in higher regard in certain circumstances. Holders of the VC were sometimes presented with no choice regarding their actions. One could say a ‘do or die’ situation and indeed many Victoria Cross holders when talking about their award, humbly nearly always say, ‘I was just doing my job’ or words to that effect. What should be remembered with the George Cross is that some of the holders could have looked the other way and walked away for the situation and not gone nor did they need to go the extra yard. The George Cross is still awarded today and as of 2008 it has been awarded 159 times since 1940 including two collective awards one of which was during WW2 to the island of Malta. The details of which are covered in a later post. Including the EGM’s and the Malta George Cross it was awarded over 130 times during WW2 and like with the Victoria Cross thread I will list them in a chronological order so as a point of interest they can be seen in the order they were earned as the war progressed. I have listed in total 136 George Crosses with some of the George Crosses in 1945 being earned after the war had been declared over. Sadly some of them never got to see the fruits of their labour so I felt they were worthy of inclusion. So I have included all the George Crosses up to the end of 1945. Holders of the Victoria Cross and the George Cross are awarded by the issuing government an annuity (Pension) and the current rate paid to a holder of the George Cross is £1,495 per year. Before you go on and read the citations I think it is only fair to repeat the final words I wrote on the Victoria Cross thread with a slight amendment: ‘Finally whilst reading these citations I think it’s worth remembering that for everyone one of the 136 George Cross holders who risked everything for their mates, for strangers and for freedom during World War Two there was thousands of men and women from Britain and the Commonwealth who did the same all around the world in those six years but received no recognition’. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about these chaps and chapettes as much as I have putting this altogether. All pictures of GC holders final resting places mainly come from the hard and much appreciated efforts of members from this fine forum and a minority from various websites like 'Commonwealth War Graves Comission', 'Findagrave' and 'Wikipedia'. Pictures of the recipients come from The Register of the George Cross by This England.