Find out more about how Civilian Gallantry awards recognise the bravery of people who put themselves at risk to save (or attempt to save) another person’s life.
If you know of someone who who has showed courage and bravery in the face of danger then you can nominate them for a Civilian Gallantry award. The George Cross Committee which judges nominations, bases its decisions on:
- the degree of risk
- how aware the nominee was of the danger
The incident must have taken place in the last five years. You can recommend someone after they’ve died – they will receive a posthumous award. They do not have to be a British citizen to receive an award. The exception is the George Cross award which can only be received by British citizens.
Gallantry awards are official awards within the UK honours system. They are not intended to cover every act of bravery that occurs. The nominee must themselves have been at risk of danger, as well as the person they try to help. Some acts (for example, resuscitation) will be more properly recognised by specialist organisations or through local awards.
Nominate someone for a gallantry award
To recommend someone for a gallantry award you should contact the Cabinet Office. Please write a detailed description explaining why you’re recommending them. Include the person’s:
- date of birth
Give as many details as possible about the incident and what happened. This will make your application more likely to be considered. As a minimum, please include:
- the location of the incident
- the date
- any emergency or official services that were there or involved.
After you recommend someone for a gallantry award
Nominations for civilian gallantry awards are validated by the relevant Government department, with assistance from other organisations as needed. Please note that part of the process is to carry out checks with official bodies, such as the emergency services. These bodies are best placed to both confirm the facts of what happened, and advise on the nature and scale of the acts involved.
Cases without independent assessment are less likely to have the evidence necessary for the George Cross Committee to consider the nomination. Nominations which have sufficient supporting evidence and appear to meet the criteria for consideration are assessed by the George Cross Committee, which makes recommendations to The King, who awards the honour.
Types of gallantry award
Gallantry awards may be given to all ranks of the services as well as civilians and are the only awards in the UK honours system which can be awarded posthumously.
The George Cross is the premier award given for non-operational gallantry or gallantry not in the presence of an enemy. This is awarded for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.
The George Cross is equal in stature in the UK honours system to the Victoria Cross, the highest military gallantry award. This has always been the case since the introduction of the award in 1940.
The George Medal is awarded for conspicuous gallantry not in the presence of the enemy. A silver bar may be issued to George Medal holders who perform a further act of such bravery which would have merited award of a second George Medal.
King’s Gallantry Medal
The King’s Gallantry Medal is awarded to civilians for acts of exemplary bravery at a level below that of the George Medal. The QGM is also awarded to military personnel for acts which military honours would not normally be granted such as acts of exemplary bravery not in the presence of the enemy.
King’s Commendation for Bravery / King’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air
The King’s Commendation for Bravery is awarded for an act (or acts) of bravery not in the presence of the enemy.
George Cross Committee
The George Cross Committee assesses all recommendations for gallantry awards. The Committee’s recommendations are submitted through the Prime Minister to The King who awards the honour. Awards are announced in the London Gazette.
George Cross Committee Members
Chair: Sir Tom Scholar
- Private Secretary to His Majesty The King
- Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
- Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence
- Dame Mary Marsh (independent member)
- Lord Evans (independent member)