The George Cross was instituted in September 1940 and is the highest civilian award for gallantry. It is awarded " only for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger "and has been given to police, fire and rescue services and civilians. It has been awarded to members of the fighting services where pure military honours are not normally granted, for example, bomb disposal. It may also be awarded posthumously. A silver miniature replica of the George Cross is added to the ribbon when this is worn alone and bars may be awarded for subsequent acts of gallantry. Of the fewer than the 150 awards to date, four have been to women. Notably the George Cross was conferred upon the Island of Malta in recognition of the gallantry of its inhabitants during World War 2.
A plain bordered cross with a circular medallion in the centre depicting the effigy of St George and the Dragon in the style of Benedetto Pistrucci, surrounded by the words 'FOR GALLANTRY'. In the angle of each arm is the Royal cipher GVI. The reverse is plain except for the name of the recipient and the date of the award in the centre. It is suspended from a bar with laurel leaves.
The ribbon is dark blue.