The cross was awarded for an act of the  greatest heroism or of the most
conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. It was intended primarily
 for civilians and award in the military services was confined to actions for which
purely military honours were not normally granted and awarded for actions not in the
 face of the enemy.

The Empire Gallantry awards were exchanged for the George Cross, and in
1971, Albert Medal winners exchanged their medals for the George Cross. 

A bar was to be awarded for additional acts of gallantry; none were ever issued.

A silver Geneva Cross, 1.8 inches wide.

In the centre of the cross is a circular medallion showing St. George slaying the dragon and around this an annulus bearing the legend FOR GALLANTRY. In the angle of each limb of the cross, the Royal Cypher GVI forming a circle concentric with the medallion. 

The reverse is plain except for the naming.

A straight silver, laurel bar, slotted for the ribbon, with a ring lug below, made in one piece is joined to the cross by a small silver ring which passes through the ring lugs of the bar and the top of the medal.

The name, rank and service (serial number for those not commissioned) and the date of notification in the London Gazette are shown on the reverse of the cross.

The garter blue ribbon is 1.5 inches wide. A miniature cross is worn on the ribbon in undress. Women may wear their cross from a bow.

The George Cross was created on 24 September 1940 and published in the London Gazette on 31 January 1941.

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