List of living recipients of the George Cross

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The George Cross and ribbon (plain silver cross with circular medallion in the centre depicting the effigy of St. George and the Dragon, surrounded by the words "FOR GALLANTRY")
The George Cross and ribbon

As of 2017, there are 18 living recipients of the George Cross, including two former recipients of the Albert Medal for Lifesaving and one former recipient of the Edward Medal, who voluntarily exchanged their medals for the George Cross in 1971 when it replaced both.

The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration of the United Kingdom and other member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is the highest gallantry award for civilians of any rank or profession, and is primarily intended to be a civil award. Military personnel may be awarded the George Cross for actions not in the face of the enemy or for actions not normally meriting a purely military award.[1] The George Cross was officially constituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI as a way to recognise civilian courage. It recognises "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger".[1]

Initially, the Empire Gallantry Medal recognised acts of the highest bravery. The George Cross succeeded the Empire Gallantry Medal and all those living that had been awarded the medal, and all posthumous awards from the outbreak of World War II, were obliged to exchange their medal for the George Cross. In 1971, the living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal were invited to exchange their medals for the George Cross; 24 recipients elected not to exchange their medal.

In recent years, the George Cross has often served as the highest-level military decoration for recognition of peacetime heroism, or for wartime actions of gallantry not in the face of the enemy. Prior to 2017, when Dominic Troulan received the decoration for heroism during a 2013 terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya, no civilian awards of the GC had been made since 1978, when it was awarded to Victoria Police constable Michael Pratt. Previously, the last civilian award in the UK to a living recipient had been to Metropolitan Police inspector Jim Beaton in 1974 for his efforts in protecting Anne, Princess Royal from a mentally ill man attempting to kidnap her.

Certain Commonwealth realms have replaced the GC with their own equivalent awards. The Cross of Valour has been awarded to Canadian citizens since its establishment in 1972,[2] and the identically named Cross of Valour has been awarded to Australian citizens since 1975.[3] Both allow the wearer to use the postnominal letters CV.[2][3] Since 1999, the New Zealand Cross has been awarded to New Zealand citizens, which allows the wearer the postnominal NZC.[4] Awards of the George Cross made prior to the establishment of their replacements in each nation are not exchanged.

Until 26 January 1950, when India became a republic within the Commonwealth, the George Cross and its precursors were awarded to Indian civilians and military personnel in the government and princely states forces.[1] All British awards were discontinued after 26 January 1950. In 1952, the Ashoka Chakra replaced the George Cross.[5]

Living recipients[edit]

Name Year of award Location of gallantry Original award (if replaced with GC)
Henry Flintoff 1944 Farndale, North Yorkshire EM
Alf Lowe 1949 Portland Harbour, Dorset AM
Margaret Purves nee Vaughan 1949 Near Sully Island, Vale of Glamorgan AM
Awang anak Raweng 1951 Johor, Malaysia
Jack Bamford 1952 Newthorpe, Nottinghamshire
Henry Stevens 1958 Bickley, London Borough of Bromley
Tony Gledhill 1967 Deptford, London Borough of Lewisham
Carl Walker 1972 Blackpool, Lancashire
Jim Beaton 1974 City of Westminster, London
Michael Pratt 1978 Clifton Hill, Victoria, Australia
Barry Johnson 1990 Derry, Northern Ireland
Christopher Finney 2003 Near Shatt al-Arab, Iraq
Peter Norton 2005 Baghdad, Iraq
Matthew Croucher 2008 Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Kim Hughes 2010 Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Samuel Shephard 2014 Near Al-Qusayr, Egypt
Kevin Haberfield 2015 Afghanistan[6]
Dominic Troulan 2017 Nairobi, Kenya[7]

[8] [9] [10]

Recently deceased[edit]

Recipients who died within the last five years are listed below.

Name Year of
award
Location of gallantry Original award (if replaced with GC) Deceased Notes
Richard Butson 1948 Antarctica AM 24 March 2015 [11]
Stuart Archer 1941 South Wales 2 May 2015 [12]
John Sedgwick Gregson 1943 Atlantic Ocean AM 25 December 2016 [13]
Ernest Wooding 1945 Orillia, Ontario AM 22 August 2017 [14]
Derek Kinne 1954 Korea 6 February 2018 [15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "No. 35060". The London Gazette. 31 January 1941. pp. 621–660.
  2. ^ a b "Letters patent repealing the Canadian Bravery Decorations Regulations, 1997 and making the Canadian Bravery Decorations Regulations, 2005". 9 June 2005. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "It's an Honour:Cross of Valour". 29 September 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  4. ^ "New Zealand Gallantry and Bravery Awards – The New Zealand Cross (NZC)". Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  5. ^ Peacetime Military Awards
  6. ^ "Kevin Howard Haberfield GC".
  7. ^ "Civilian Gallantry List (June 2017)" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Bay war hero honoured for valour after torpedo holes ship". Bay of Plenty Times. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Prince Harry Attends The Service of Remembrance And Re-Dedication For Members of the Victoria Cross And George Cross Association". GettyImages. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  10. ^ "George Cross Recipients". Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Richard Butson, GC – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Colonel Stuart Archer, GC – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  13. ^ "John Gregson death notice". New Zealand Herald. 29 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  14. ^ "The Death of a Member". VCGC Association. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  15. ^ "The Death of Derek Kinne VC". VCGC Association. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.


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