Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM)

The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) was instituted to a degree as a Royal Navy decoration in 1855. It was conceived as the naval counterpart to the Distinguished Conduct Medal, it was instituted for award to petty officers and seamen of the Royal Navy and to NCO’s and other ranks of the Royal Marines.  The full institution took place on 7th July 1874 to recognise heroism during the Ashantee War and since been awarded for other wars and campaigns.

In 1943 a specific version for the Royal Air Force, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) was instituted. The decoration was awarded to personnel of the Armed Forces and from September 1942 also to Merchant Navy personnel for conspicuous gallantry at sea or in the air. It was equivalent to the Distinguished Service Order when awarded for bravery, but was ranked in order of precedence between the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal. Both Naval and RAF medals are identical, but the naval medal has a white ribbon with dark blue edge, while the RAF award has a pale blue ribbon with dark blue edges.

It was awarded to Chief Petty Officers, Petty Officers and men who enlisted in the Navy or Army and Air Force personnel of equal rank who served with the Navy and who distinguished themselves by acts of pre-eminent bravery in action with the enemy.

As a result of the 1993 review and resultant changes to the operational gallantry award system, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal has been replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) is tri-service and is awarded to all ranks. It is second only to the Victoria Cross for bravery in action.


Materials:   The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:    Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Ribbon – Ribbon for the naval version of the medal was changed in 1921 from one of two stripes of dark blue flanking a central white stripe to a white ribbon with narrow dark blue edge stripes. Upon its institution, the Air Force version of the ribbon was sky blue with narrow dark blue edge stripes

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal ribbon until 1921 with bar
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal ribbon until 1921 with bar
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal ribbon (at sea) post 1921
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal ribbon (at sea) post 1921
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal ribbon (RAF)

Suspender - Straight

Type – Military decoration

Eligibility – British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces

Awarded for – Gallantry in the field

Established – 7th July 1874

Post Nominals - Recipients of the medal are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "CGM".

Total awarded –Approx. 359

Bars / Clasps – A silver, laurelled bar was awarded for additional acts of pre-eminent bravery.

Description – Silver circular medal, 36mm diameter – The medal obverse bears the head of the reigning monarch. The reverse has the words 'FOR CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY' in three lines, encircled by a laurel wreath and surmounted by an Imperial Crown.

This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals




Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

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Which are released under the terms of

Medal Year Book 2006


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