The History of the George Cross
King George VI created the George Cross on 24th September 1940. It is the highest honour that can be awarded to civilians and has precedence over all medals with the exception of the Victoria Cross.
The George Cross is awarded for acts of great heroism or for the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.
In the 60 years since its inception, the George Cross has been awarded to a very small, select elite of extremely brave and courageous individuals. There are currently fewer than 40 holders throughout the world.
In 1942 the award was conferred on the Mediterranean island of Malta for sustaining siege and heavy bombardment during World War II.
That was until today the only occasion when the honour was awarded for an act of collective courage.