George Medal (GM)

The George Medal (GM) was instituted on 24th September 1940 by King George VI as a second level civil decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The George Medal is presented to those performing acts of bravery in, or meriting recognition by, the United Kingdom.

Announcing the new award, the King said:

In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction, which will consist of the George Cross, which will rank next to the Victoria Cross, and the George Medal for wider distribution

The George Medal (GM) is the second highest, to the George Cross (GC), gallantry medal that a civilian can be awarded. As with the George Cross, Military personnel are eligible for the George Medal if their act does not qualify for a military gallantry award.

As the Warrant states:

The Medal is intended primarily for civilians and award in our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not normally granted.

The original Warrant for the George Medal did not permit it to be awarded posthumously. This was changed in December 1977 to allow posthumous awards, several of which have been subsequently made.

The details of all awards to British and Commonwealth recipients are published in the London Gazette.


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 – Crimson with five narrow blue stripes

George Medal ribbon
George Medal ribbon

Suspender - Ring

Type – Civil decoration.

Eligibility – Those performing acts of bravery in, or meriting recognition by, the United Kingdom.

Awarded for – Acts of great bravery

Established – 24th September 1940

Post Nominals - Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal letters GM

Total awarded – Approx. 2,122 medals have been awarded since its inception in 1940.

Bars / Clasps - Bars are awarded to the GM in recognition of the performance of further acts of bravery meriting the award. In undress uniform or on occasions when the medal ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette is worn on the ribbon to indicate each bar

Description – Silver circular medal, 36mm diameter. The obverse bears the effigy of the reigning monarch. The reverse shows St. George on horseback slaying the dragon on the coast of England, with the legend ‘THE GEORGE MEDAL’ around the top edge of the medal.

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



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