Did your WWII civilian ancestor receive honours or awards during the Second World War?

Our 'Civilian Gallantry Awards WW II' collection may hold the key to missing parts of your family tree. If you're looking for your WWII ancestor, this is the one to search!

HM the Queen in conversation with a smiling man of a London rescue party
HM the Queen in conversation with a smiling man of a London rescue party

Many people will associate medals, decorations and honours of WWII being awarded to front-line troops who saw action in North Africa against the Desert Fox, or on the beaches of Normandy, in the jungles of the Far East fighting the fearless Japanese or against the Luftwaffe in the skies above Britain. This collection from Forces War Records focuses on the men and women behind the scenes who stayed at home and fought the war. These include the many air-raid wardens, firemen, policemen, nurses, surgeons, munitions workers, ambulance drivers, farm workers and the many other unsung civilian heroes. They threw themselves into rescuing their fellows from burning buildings, patching up the wounded as the air raid sirens wailed, shooting at fast and well-armed German bombers and defusing the bombs they dropped, all at great personal peril. It was their courage that inspired King George VI to create the George Cross, since there were no other gallantry medals for which civilians and home defenders were eligible.

He said, in his broadcast to the nation about the award on 23rd September:

“To the men and women who carry on the work of the Air Raid Precautions services, I should like to say a special word of gratitude. The devotion of these civilian workers, firemen, salvage men and many others in the face of grave and constant danger, has won a new renown for the British name.”

The Forces War Records collection covers civilian awards such as the Order of the British Empire, George Cross, Royal Red Cross, Order of Merit, right down to a Mention in Despatches.


Perhaps one of your ancestors earned a George Cross or had a Mention In Despatches?

Your ancestor may have been awarded a George Cross or another medal - maybe you know about it — or maybe you don't? Start searching our records today find out about the fantastic acts of bravery your family members may have been involved in SEARCH HERE.

Pillar-box which had been buried in debris of Paternoster Square, when the letters were delivered they had inscribed 'Delayed by Enemy Action'
Pillar-box which had been buried in debris of Paternoster Square
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