George Cross

The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded "for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger",[3] not in the presence of the enemy, to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians.[4] Posthumous awards have been allowed since it was instituted. It was previously awarded to residents of Commonwealth countries (and in one case to Malta, a colony which subsequently became a Commonwealth country), most of which have since established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians including police, emergency services and merchant seamen. Many of the awards have been personally presented by the British monarch to recipients or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.[5]

George Cross
George Cross
Obverse of the cross. Ribbon: 1½", dark blue.
Awarded by George VI and Elizabeth II
TypeCivil decoration
EligibilityCommonwealth subjects
Awarded for"... acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger."
StatusCurrently awarded
DescriptionHeight 48 mm, max. width 45 mm; (Obverse) plain silver cross with circular medallion in the centre depicting the effigy of St George and the Dragon, surrounded by the words "FOR GALLANTRY". In the angle of each limb is the Royal Cypher GVI; (Reverse) plain, centre engraved with name of recipient and date of award. Cross attached by ring to bar ornamented with laurel leaves, through which the ribbon passes.
Post-nominalsGC
Statistics
Established24 September 1940
Last awarded16 June 2017 (gazetted)[1]
Total awarded408 (including 2 collective awards)
Posthumous
awards
90 (including 4 former EGM recipients)
Distinct
recipients
408 (including 2 collective awards)
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Victoria Cross[2]
Next (lower)Order of the Garter
RelatedGeorge Medal and Queen's Gallantry Medal
UK George Cross ribbon

GC ribbon bar

Creation

The George Cross was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI.[6] At this time, during the height of the Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage. The existing awards open to civilians were not judged suitable to meet the new situation, therefore it was decided that the George Cross and the George Medal would be instituted to recognise both civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action and brave deeds more generally.

Announcing the new award, the King said:

In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction, which will consist of the George Cross, which will rank next to the Victoria Cross, and the George Medal for wider distribution.[7]

The medal was designed by Percy Metcalfe. The Warrant for the GC (along with that of the George Medal), dated 24 September 1940, was published in The London Gazette on 31 January 1941.[8]

The King in his speech announcing the new award, stated that it would rank next to the Victoria Cross. This was second on the Order of Wear, much higher than the then existing awards for bravery not in the presence of the enemy, the highest being the two-class Albert Medal (AM); and the lowest being the single class Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM). In a substitution of awards unprecedented in the history of British decorations, holders of the EGM were required to exchange their insignia for the GC,[9][10] most receiving their replacement GC at a formal investiture. The four honorary EGM awards to foreigners were not exchanged and could therefore continue to be worn.[11] In 1971, surviving recipients of the Albert Medal and the Edward Medal (EM) became George Cross recipients, but unlike the EGM exchange of insignia, they had the option of retaining their original insignia. Of the 64 holders of the Albert Medal and 68 holders of the Edward Medal eligible to exchange, 49 and 59 respectively took up the option.[12][13][14]

Award

The GC, which may be awarded posthumously, is granted in recognition of:

acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.[15]

The award is for civilians but also for military personnel whose actions would not normally be eligible to receive military awards, such as gallantry not in the face of the enemy. The Warrant states:

The Cross is intended primarily for civilians and award in Our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not normally granted.[16]

The Cross shall be worn by recipients on the left breast suspended from a ribbon one and a quarter inches in width, of dark blue, that it shall be worn immediately after the Victoria Cross and in front of the Insignia of all British Orders of Chivalry.[17]

When the Cross is worn by a woman, it may be worn on the left shoulder, suspended from a ribbon fashioned into a bow.[17]

In June 1941 the specification of the ribbon width was amended to one and a half inches.[18]

Bars can be awarded for further acts of bravery meriting the GC, although none have yet been awarded. In common with the Victoria Cross, in undress uniform or on occasions when the medal ribbon alone is worn, a miniature replica of the cross is affixed to the centre of the ribbon, a distinction peculiar to these two premier awards for bravery. In the event of a second award, a second replica would be worn on the ribbon.[19]

Recipients are entitled to the postnominal letters GC.[20]

All original individual GC awards are published in The London Gazette.[21]

George Cross Committee

The George Cross Committee of the Cabinet Office considers cases of military and civilian gallantry.[22] The Committee has no formal terms of reference.[22]

Recipients

Since its inception in 1940, the GC has been awarded 408 times, 394 to men, 12 to women, one award to the Island of Malta and one to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). About half the recipients have been civilians. There have been 163 original awards including those to Malta and RUC, including 106 made before 1947.[23] There have been 245 exchange awards, 112 to Empire Gallantry Medal recipients, 65 to Albert Medal recipients and 68 to Edward Medal recipients.[24] Of the 161 individuals who received original awards, 86 have been posthumous. In addition, there were four posthumous recipients of the Empire Gallantry Medal whose awards were gazetted after the start of the Second World War and whose awards were also exchanged for the GC. All the other exchange recipients were living as of the date of the decisions for the exchanges.[12][25]

Collective awards

Flag of Malta
The Flag of Malta displays its George Cross

The George Cross has been awarded, to the island of Malta and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Malta

George Cross Malta P1440218
The George Cross awarded to Malta (National War Museum, Malta)

The GC was awarded to the island of Malta in a letter dated 15 April 1942 from King George VI to the island's Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie:

To honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history.

The Governor answered:

By God's help Malta will not weaken but will endure until victory is won.

The cross and the messages are today in the War Museum in Fort Saint Elmo, Valletta. The fortitude of the population under sustained enemy air raids and a naval blockade which almost saw them starved into submission, won widespread admiration in Britain and other Allied nations. Some historians argue that the award was a propaganda gesture to justify the huge losses sustained by Britain to prevent Malta from capitulating as Singapore had done in the Battle of Singapore.[26]

The George Cross was incorporated into the Flag of Malta beginning in 1943 and remains on the flag adopted at the country's independence in 1964.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

The GC was awarded to the RUC in 1999 by Queen Elizabeth II following the advice of the first Blair ministry. The citation published by Buckingham Palace on 23 November 1999 stated:

For the past 30 years, the Royal Ulster Constabulary has been the bulwark against, and the main target of, a sustained and brutal terrorism campaign. The Force has suffered heavily in protecting both sides of the community from danger—302 officers have been killed in the line of duty and thousands more injured, many seriously. Many officers have been ostracised by their own community and others have been forced to leave their homes in the face of threats to them and their families. As Northern Ireland reaches a turning point in its political development this award is made to recognise the collective courage and dedication to duty of all of those who have served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and who have accepted the danger and stress this has brought to them and to their families.[27]

The RUC was controversial before and during the Troubles; typically, Irish nationalists saw it as pro-unionist, while unionists had solidarity with the hundreds of RUC officers killed by republican paramilitaries.[28] As part of the Northern Ireland peace process an Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland produced the "Patten Report" in September 1999, which recommended structural changes and renaming the RUC the "Police Service of Northern Ireland" (PSNI). The subsequent GC award was interpreted by some as a compensation or sop to unionists and RUC supporters for accepting the substantive changes; the UK government denied this.[29] The Queen presented the George Cross on 12 April 2000 in a ceremony at Hillsborough Castle, County Down attended by the senior RUC officers; the cross was accepted by PC Paul Slaine, who had lost both legs in a 1992 IRA attack.[30]

The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 gave effect to much of the Patten Report, with "the Police Service of Northern Ireland (incorporating the Royal Ulster Constabulary)" established on 4 November 2001;[31] The pre-2001 RUC is often retrospectively referred to by sympathisers as "RUC GC"; the 2000 act established a registered charity 'to be known as "The Royal Ulster Constabulary GC Foundation" for the purpose of marking the sacrifices and honouring the achievements of the Royal Ulster Constabulary';[32] other instances include the names of the RUC GC Widows' Association,[33] RUC GC Historical Society,[34] and RUCGC–PSNI Benevolent Fund.[35]

Awards to Commonwealth citizens

Canada

There have been 10 GCs awarded to Canadians including those by substitution for awards superseded by the GC. The recipients comprised nine men and one woman. The GC is no longer awarded to Canadians by the Queen of Canada, who awards the Canadian Cross of Valour instead.

Australia

George Cross Pk Canberra
Memorial to Australian recipients, George Cross Park, Canberra

The George Cross was awarded to 22 Australians, 11 to the Australian forces and 11 to civilians. It is the highest decoration of the Australian Honours System after the British Victoria Cross and the Victoria Cross for Australia. Although Australia established the Cross of Valour within the Australian Honours System in 1975 'for acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril' it was not until 1992 that Australia officially ceased recommending British honours. During the period 1975 to 1992, the last George Cross to an Australian was awarded in 1978.

Of the 22 awards, 14 were direct awards and eight were Empire Gallantry Medal (two) and Albert Medal (six) exchange awards. Four awards were to officers of the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve who served in the extremely dangerous role of mine disposal during the Second World War. Courage of a different sort was displayed by two prisoners of war who endured terrible suffering. Captain Lionel Colin Matthews was eventually executed by his captors for building a resistance network in British North Borneo in the Second World War,[36] while Private Horace William Madden, captured in Korea in 1951, died of privations while assisting fellow prisoners and openly resisting enemy efforts to force him to collaborate.[37] The last Australian to be awarded the GC (in 1978) was Constable Michael Kenneth Pratt of the Victoria Police, Melbourne, for arresting two armed bank robbers in June 1976.

A memorial to Australian recipients, George Cross Park, was opened in Canberra, the Australian capital, on 4 April 2001 by the Governor General of Australia, Sir William Deane.

New Zealand

In 1999, the New Zealand Cross replaced the role of the George Cross. Up until then, the last George Cross awarded to a New Zealander — and a civilian — was posthumously done so to Sgt Stewart Guthrie.

Annuity

Holders of the Victoria Cross or the George Cross are entitled to an annuity, the amount of which is determined by the awarding government.[38] Since 2015, the annuity paid by the British government is £10,000 per year.[39] In Canada under the Gallantry Awards Order, members of the Canadian Forces, or people who joined the British forces before 31 March 1949 while domiciled in Canada or Newfoundland, receive $3,000 per year.[7] Australia has been responsible for the payment of both the Victoria Cross Allowance and the George Cross annuity since the 1940s. The Victoria Cross Allowance which includes both the Victoria Cross for Australia and the British Victoria Cross is included in s.103 of the Veterans' Entitlement Act and is presently $A4,447.00 per year. Although there is not a statutory instrument for the payment of the George Cross annuity, both annuities for the Australian Cross of Valour and George Cross match the Victoria Cross Allowance payment.

Restriction of use

Since 1943, in accordance with the George Cross (Restriction of Use) Ordinance, it is unlawful in Malta to use the George Cross, an imitation of it or the words George Cross for the purposes of trade or business without the Prime Minister's authorisation.[40]

George Cross in fiction

The fictional detective inspector William E. "Jack" Frost in the novels of R. D. Wingfield and television series A Touch Of Frost is a recipient of the George Cross, which sometimes serves as a plot element in allowing him to get away with actions that would otherwise have landed him in trouble. The character tends to experience survivor guilt whenever his George Cross is brought to mind.

Charles (Karl, Graf von) Dennim, the protagonist in Geoffrey Household's 1960 thriller Watcher in the Shadows, was awarded the George Cross for espionage work during the Second World War, including undercover service as a Gestapo officer at the Buchenwald concentration camp. He refused to accept the award on the basis that "one does not defile a decoration".

Ray Davies makes reference to George Cross recipients in the Kinks song "The Village Green Preservation Society" with the lyric "God save the George Cross and all those who were awarded them".

Hugh Grant's character, Alexander Waverly, in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) is a recipient of the George Cross.

Alex O'Loughlin's character Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan's character Danny Williams in "Hawaii Five-0" episode "No Ke Ali'i' Wahine A Me Ka Aina" (2016) are recipients of the George Cross for stopping a terrorist attack against Europe.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "No. 61969". The London Gazette (8th supplement). 16 June 2017. p. 11774.
  2. ^ "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3351.
  3. ^ Clause five of the George Cross gazette
  4. ^ The phrase "in the presence of the enemy" was inserted into the Victoria Cross Warrant in 1881 and continues in the present warrant but is often misquoted as "in the face of the enemy".
  5. ^ Mussell, J.W. (Editor), (2016), Medal Yearbook 2017, (Token Publishing Ltd: Devon)
  6. ^ British Gallantry Medals (Abbott and Tamplin), p. 138
  7. ^ a b "George Cross Database". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011.
  8. ^ "No. 35060". The London Gazette. 31 January 1941. pp. 622–624.
  9. ^ "No. 35141". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 April 1941. p. 2285.
  10. ^ British Gallantry Awards by P E Abbott and J M A Tamplin list two AM in Gold awards between 1920 and 1939, p. 22. There were 130 EGM awards between 1922 and 1940, p. 242
  11. ^ British Gallantry Medals (Abbott and Tamplin), p.242
  12. ^ a b George Cross Database. Retrieved on 12 September 2007.
  13. ^ "No. 45566". The London Gazette. 6 January 1972. p. 171.
  14. ^ "No. 45566". The London Gazette. 6 January 1972. p. 172.
  15. ^ London Gazette, No. 35060 – Warrant, Fifth clause
  16. ^ "No. 35060". The London Gazette. 31 January 1941. p. 623. secondly
  17. ^ a b "No. 35060". The London Gazette. 31 January 1941. p. 623. seventhly
  18. ^ "No. 35199". The London Gazette. 24 June 1942. p. 3600. seventhly
  19. ^ "No. 35060". The London Gazette. 31 January 1941. p. 623. eighthly
  20. ^ London Gazette, No. 35060 – Warrant, Eighth clause
  21. ^ The awards to Malta and the RUC were not gazetted. The Exchange awards are not gazetted although the original EGM, AM and EM announcements were gazetted.
  22. ^ a b Letter from Roger Smethurst dated 20 April 2012, released as part of a response from Cabinet Office to a request made using WhatDoTheyKnow, accessed 2 August 2012.
  23. ^ British Gallantry Medals (Abbott and Tamplin), p. 142
  24. ^ Kevin Brazier. The complete George Cross, Pen & Sword, 2012, ISBN 978-1-84884-287-8
  25. ^ "George Cross for Army Afghanistan bomb heroes". BBC. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  26. ^ Grove, Dr Eric (17 February 2011). "The Siege of Malta in World War Two". BBC. Retrieved 15 April 2007.
  27. ^ Turner, John Frayn (2010). Royal Ulster Constabulary. Awards of the George Cross 1940–2009 (2 ed.). Pen & Sword Books Ltd. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-84884-200-7. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  28. ^ Hamilton, Andrew; Moore, Linda; Trimble, Tim. Policing a Divided Society: Issues and Perceptions in Northern Ireland. Coleraine: University of Ulster. ISBN 1 85923 027 X. Retrieved 26 June 2019 – via CAIN.
  29. ^ Moriarty, Gerry (24 November 1999). "Mixed reaction to RUC George Cross award". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  30. ^ Paterson, John (12 April 2000). "Queen honours RUC with George Cross". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  31. ^ "'New era' as NI police change name". BBC News. 4 November 2001. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  32. ^ "Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 § 70". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  33. ^ "Home page". RUC GC Widows Association. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Police Museum". Art UK. Public Catalogue Foundation. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Home page". RUCGC–PSNI Benevolent Fund. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  36. ^ David Matthews. (2008). The Duke: A Hero's Hero at Sandakan. Captain Lionel Matthews GC, MC. Seaview Press, West Lakes, South Australia. ISBN 978-1-74008-486-4.
  37. ^ Michael Ashcroft. (2010). George Cross Heroes. Headline Publishing, London. pp. 249–251. ISBN 978-0755360840.
  38. ^ "No. 43684". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1965. p. 5693. – Warrant, Fourteenth clause
  39. ^ The Independent, 7 July 2015. £10,000 annuity for VC and GC winners
  40. ^ Chapter 115 - George Cross (Restriction of Use) Ordinance

Bibliography

  • Abbott, PE and Tamplin, JMA, British Gallantry Awards, (1981), Nimrod Dix and Co (ISBN 9780902633742)
  • Bisset, I., The George Cross, MacGibbon & Kee (1961)
  • Duckers, P., British Gallantry Awards 1855–2000, (2001), Shire Publications (ISBN 978-0747805168)
  • Hebblethwaite, M., One Step Further: Those whose gallantry was rewarded with the George Cross. Series of 9 books. Chameleon HH Publishing Ltd from 2005 (ISBN 0-9546917-1-7 onwards)
  • Hissey, Terry, Come if Ye Dare: The Civil Defence George Crosses, (2008), Civil Defence Assn (ISBN 978-0-9550153-2-8)
  • Mussell, J. (Editor), (2016), Medal Yearbook 2017, (Token Publishing Ltd: Devon) (ISBN 978-1908828385)
  • Smyth, Sir John, The Story of the George Cross, Arthur Baker Ltd. (1968) (ISBN 0-213-76307-9)
  • Stanistreet, A., 'Gainst All Disaster, Picton Publishing Ltd. (1986) (ISBN 0-948251-16-6)
  • Wright, Christopher J.; Anderson, Glenda M., eds. (2013). The Victoria Cross and the George Cross: the complete history (3 vols). York: Methuen & Co. ISBN 978-0-413-77752-2.
  • The Register of the George Cross, This England, 2nd Edition (1990) (ISBN 0-906324-17-3)
  • George Cross (Restriction of Use) Ordinance, Government of Malta, (1943)

External links

Albert Medal for Lifesaving

The Albert Medal for Lifesaving was a British medal awarded to recognize the saving of life. It has since been replaced by the George Cross.

The Albert Medal was first instituted by a Royal Warrant on 7 March 1866 and discontinued in 1971 with the last two awards promulgated in the London Gazette of 31 March 1970 to the late First Officer Geoffrey Clifford Bye of Boolaroo, New South Wales, Australia, and on 11 August 1970 to the late Kenneth Owen McIntyre of Fairy Meadow, New South Wales, Australia. The medal was named in memory of Prince Albert and originally was awarded to recognize saving life at sea. The original medal had a blue ribbon ​5⁄8" (16 mm) wide with two white stripes. A further Royal Warrant in 1867 created two classes of Albert Medal, the first in gold and bronze and the second in bronze, both enamelled in blue, and the ribbon of the first class changed to 1 ​3⁄8" (35 mm) wide with four white stripes.

The first recipient of the medal was Samuel Popplestone, a tenant farmer, who on 23 March 1866 helped to rescue four men after the cargo ship Spirit of the Ocean lost its battle with force eleven gales and was torn apart as it was swept onto the notorious Start Point rocks in Devon. Witnessing the accident, Popplestone paused only to raise the alarm before setting off alone for the wreck, armed with just a small coil of rope. He clambered out onto the rocks and although swept off several times, he eventually managed to lift four men out of the water and drag them up the cliff to safety. As the story of Popplestone's bravery became known through the press, he was hailed as a hero and as a result of his heroism he became the first recipient of the brand new award for civilian gallantry.

In 1877, the medal was extended to cover saving life on land and from this point there are two medals with different inscriptions to depict which they were awarded for. The land version was enamelled in red, with a red ribbon. The titles of the medals changed in 1917, the gold "Albert Medal, first class" becoming the "Albert Medal in gold" and the bronze "Albert Medal, second class" being known as just the "Albert Medal".

The event that led to the introduction of the Albert Medal for Gallantry on Land was the Tynewydd Colliery disaster which occurred on 11 April 1877. In many ways, although it was tragic the disaster at Tynewydd was, by the standards of the time when single mining accidents often claimed hundreds of lives, relatively unremarkable. However, as the enthralling saga of the determined, dangerous and stoic rescue of the surviving colliers was dramatically and episodically reported in the press it captured the imagination of the public and MPs. Consequently, released from Windsor Castle on 25 April 1877, it was announced that "the Albert Medal, hitherto only bestowed for gallantry in saving life at sea, shall be extended for similar actions on land, and that the first medals struck for this purpose shall be conferred on the heroic rescuers of the Welsh miners".In 1911, second class honors were awarded to an Indigenous Australian prisoner.

The Albert Medal in gold was abolished in 1949, being replaced by the George Cross, and the second class of Albert Medal (in bronze) was only awarded posthumously. In 1971, the Albert Medal was discontinued (along with the Edward Medal) and all living recipients were invited to exchange the award for the George Cross. From the total of 64 eligible to exchange, 49 took up the option.

The medal was made of gold (although early examples are gold and bronze), which was enameled blue. Miniatures of all four types are known to exist, with the gold awards believed to be gilt.

Award of the George Cross to Malta

The George Cross was awarded to the island of Malta by King George VI in a letter to the island's Governor, Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie, so as to "bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people" during the great siege they underwent in the early part of World War II. Italy and Germany besieged Malta, then a British colony, from 1940 to 1942. The George Cross was incorporated into the Flag of Malta beginning in 1943 and remains on the current design of the flag.

Caroline Springs George Cross FC

Caroline Springs George Cross Football Club is an Australian soccer club based in Fraser Rise, a north-western suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and plays in State League Division 1, the third tier of football in Victoria.

George Cross will play at the City Vista Recreation Reserve for the first time in 2019, following a move from Chaplin Reserve, where the club spent 38 seasons. The move to Fraser Rise coincided with a name change for the club, from Sunshine George Cross to the current name. The club was founded by Maltese immigrants.

Having been one of eight Victorian clubs to have participated in Australia's National Soccer League, the club's best achievement was reaching the playoffs as finalists in the 1986 season. Winners of the Australian Cup in 1964, Sunshine George Cross were named champions of the 1977 Victorian State League and were also runners up on 9 occasions. Producing 5 Weinstein Medalists and three Bill Fleming Medalists throughout its history. The club was once proudly home to John Markovski, Craig Foster, Kevin Muscat, Emmanuel Muscat and Andrew Nabbout.

Caroline Springs George Cross wear red and white stripes for their home colours, the colours on the Maltese flag.

David Cross (footballer, born 1950)

David Cross (born 8 December 1950) is an English former footballer who played as a striker. He scored 223 goals in 599 appearances in the Football League and the North American Soccer League. Cross was born in Heywood, Lancashire.

Flag of Malta

The flag of Malta (Maltese: Bandiera ta' Malta) is a basic bicolour, with white in the hoist and red in the fly. A representation of the George Cross, awarded to Malta by George VI of the United Kingdom in 1942, is carried, edged with red, in the canton of the white stripe.

George Medal

The George Medal (GM), instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI, is a decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, awarded for gallantry "not in the face of the enemy" where the services were not so outstanding as to merit the George Cross.

Henry Blogg

Henry George Blogg GC BEM (6 February 1876 – 13 June 1954) was a lifeboatman from Cromer on the north coast of Norfolk, England and the most decorated in RNLI history.

Blogg of the Cromer Lifeboat Station is referred to as "the greatest of the lifeboatmen". From the rescue of the crew of the Pyrin and then of half of the crew of the Fernebo in 1917, through to his near drowning in the service to the SS English Trader in 1941, he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution three times and the silver medal four times, the George Cross, the British Empire Medal, and a series of other awards.

Kevin Muscat

Kevin Vincent Muscat (born 7 August 1973) is a former Australian international soccer player. As a player, Muscat earned a reputation for his "hard man" physical style of play.

After beginning his professional career in the Australian National Soccer League with Sunshine George Cross in 1989, Muscat played eight seasons in the United Kingdom with Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rangers and Millwall. He returned to Australia in 2005 to captain Melbourne Victory in the inaugural season of the A-league.

Muscat retired from professional football in March 2011 after Melbourne Victory's 2011 AFC Champions League campaign, citing his growing frustration at his inability to keep pace with the game. Muscat briefly rejoined his former club Sunshine George Cross for part of the 2011 Victorian State League Division 1 season.During his international career, Muscat represented the Australia U-20 side at the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal and the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia. He represented the Australia U-23 side at the 1996 Summer Olympics. After making his full international debut for Australia in September 1994 against Kuwait, Muscat represented the national side at the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2000 OFC Nations Cup, 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup.

After several seasons as assistant coach, Muscat was appointed head coach at Melbourne Victory in October 2013. He has coached Victory to the 2014–15 A-League Premiership, the 2014–15 A-League Championship and success in the 2015 FFA Cup.

List of Australian George Cross recipients

The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration for heroism in the United Kingdom, a status it also holds, or has held, in several countries comprising the Commonwealth of Nations. The George Cross (Post-nominal letters "GC") is regarded as the civilian counterpart of the Victoria Cross, and is awarded to civilians for "acts of the greatest heroism" or to military personnel for actions that are not "in the face of the enemy" or for which purely military honours would not normally be granted. In an official radio broadcast on 23 September 1940, King George VI announced his decision to establish the awards of the GC and George Medal to recognise individual acts of bravery by the civilian population. The Royal Warrant that established the awards was published in the London Gazette on 31 January 1941. Australians received the GC under the Imperial honours system until 5 October 1992 when after more than two years of negotiations with Australian State governments, the Australian prime minister, Paul Keating, announced that Australia would make no further recommendations for British honours. Australians are today eligible for the Cross of Valour instituted by letters patent within the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories on 14 February 1975 under the Australian honours system.Between the first award of the GC to an Australian in 1942 and the final bestowal to Constable Michael Kenneth Pratt in 1978, 14 Australians were directly decorated with the medal. Of these, nine were awarded to military personnel and five to civilians. Eight of the medals were awarded posthumously. At the time of the institution of the GC, living recipients of the Empire Gallantry Medal automatically became recipients of the new award, and were required to return their previous medal; two Australians became GC holders through this method. In 1971, the British Government announced that living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal would henceforth be recipients of the GC with the option of exchanging their insignia for that of the GC. The decision for such an action was the result of the decline in the status and significance of the two awards, leading recipients to feel they were not receiving the recognition they were due. Of the 27 Australian holders of the Albert Medal, six were living at the time and all opted to exchange their insignia for the GC. None of the eight Australians awarded the Edward Medal were alive in 1971, and thus no Australian became a recipient of the GC through this exchange. Including exchange awards, a total of 22 Australians were decorated with the GC.

Malta

Malta (, (listen); Maltese: [ˈmɐltɐ]), officially known as the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta), is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km². The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.

Malta has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC. Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British. Most of these foreign influences have left some sort of mark on the country's ancient culture.

Malta became a British colony in 1815, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. It played an important role in the Allied war effort during the Second World War, and was subsequently awarded the George Cross for its bravery in the face of an Axis siege, The British Parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen. The country became a republic in 1974. It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, and joined the European Union in 2004; it became part of the eurozone monetary union in 2008.

Malta has a long Christian legacy and its Archdiocese is claimed to be an apostolic see because Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on "Melita", according to Acts of the Apostles, which is now widely taken to be Malta. While Catholicism is the official religion in Malta, Article 40 of the Constitution states that "all persons in Malta shall have full freedom of conscience and enjoy the free exercise of their respective mode of religious worship."Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni, Valletta, and seven megalithic temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.

Malta George Cross Memorial

The Malta George Cross Memorial, also known as the Maltese Memorial, is a war memorial in London, built to commemorate the Siege of Malta in the Second World War, which led to the island's being collectively awarded the George Cross in April 1942. The memorial was unveiled in 2005, near All Hallows by the Tower.

The memorial is constructed from a large rectangular monolithic block of limestone from the Maltese island of Gozo. The block stands 3 metres (9.8 ft) high and weighs 8.5 tons. It bears an inscribed black slate panel on each of its four sides. The main panel to the southeast recounts the Siege of Malta from 1940 to 1943, and the consequent loss of 7,000 lives of Maltese civilians and Allied and Commonwealth service personnel. A Maltese cross is displayed above this main panel. Further details of the siege are inscribed on a second panel on the northwest face of the memorial. The panel to the northeast gives details of the award of the George Cross, and the panel to the southwest has a map illustrating the Allied operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

The stone was presented by the Government of Malta and erected by the George Cross Island Association in 2005, for the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It was unveiled on 15 August 2005 by the President of Malta Eddie Fenech Adami, and dedicated by Vincent Nichols, then the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, with a wreath laid by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The date was the 63rd anniversary of the arrival of the last surviving ship of the Operation Pedestal convoy at Valletta Grand Harbour that provided critical supplies during the siege. The unveiling was attended by approximately 100 veterans of the Malta campaign, and representatives of Allied and Commonwealth forces.

The stone was a bright white colour when it was unveiled, but has been weathered and darkened.

There is a further memorial to the George Cross Island Association at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas near Lichfield, and one in the Peace Garden of the former Anglican Church of St Luke, Liverpool.

Michael Willetts

Michael Willetts, GC (13 August 1943 – 25 May 1971) was one of the first British soldiers to be killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the recipient of a posthumous George Cross for his heroism in saving lives during the Provisional Irish Republican Army bombing which claimed his own. The Harvey Andrews song "Soldier" commemorates Willetts' sacrifice.

National Premier Leagues Victoria

The National Premier Leagues Victoria, commonly known as NPL Victoria, is a semi-professional soccer league in Victoria, Australia. As a subdivision of the nationwide NPL, the league is the highest level within the Victorian soccer league system, serving jointly as the second tier within the overall Australian pyramid.

Administered by Football Victoria, NPL Victoria is the latest iteration of first division competitions in the state. Historically known as the Victorian State League and later as the Victorian Premier League, the league was first founded in 1908. It adopted its current branding in 2014, following Football Federation Australia's 2012 National Competition Review.

NPL Victoria is contested by 14 clubs. Running from February to September each year, the league sees teams play 26 regular season fixtures, once at home and once away against each other club. The first-placed team at the conclusion of the regular season is termed the "premier". The top six-placed clubs then play a knock-out finals series, with the winner becoming the "champion". The bottom-placed teams operate a system of promotion and relegation with the division below, NPL 2.

The league premier qualifies as Victoria's representative in the national finals series, whilst the champion plays against the Dockerty Cup winner in the FV Community Shield.

Paul Trimboli

Paolo "Paul" Vincenzo Trimboli (born 25 February 1969) is a former Australian international football (soccer) player and current Football Operations Manager at Melbourne Victory. Trimboli is of Italian ancestry and attended Xavier College, where he was a member of the First XI, and was captained by his brother.

Robert Nairac

Captain Robert Laurence Nairac (31 August 1948 –15 May 1977) was a British Army officer in 14 Intelligence Company who was abducted from a pub in Dromintee, south County Armagh, during an undercover operation and assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on his fourth tour of duty in Northern Ireland as a Military Intelligence Liaison Officer.

Nairac is believe to have colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of the Miami Showband, amongst other killings.Several men have been imprisoned for his death, but his body has never been found.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2001. It was founded on 1 June 1922 as a successor to the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). At its peak the force had around 8,500 officers with a further 4,500 who were members of the RUC Reserve. During the Troubles, 319 members of the RUC were killed and almost 9,000 injured in paramilitary assassinations or attacks, mostly by the Provisional IRA, which made the RUC, by 1983, the most dangerous police force in the world in which to serve. In the same period, the RUC killed 55 people, 28 of whom were civilians.The RUC was superseded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in 2001. The former police force was renamed and reformed, as is provided for by the final version of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000. The RUC has been accused by republicans and Irish nationalists of one-sided policing and discrimination, as well as collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. Conversely, it was praised as one of the most professional policing operations in the world by British security forces. The allegations regarding collusion prompted several inquiries, the most recent of which was published by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan. The report identified police, CID and Special Branch collusion with loyalist terrorists under 31 separate headings, in her report on the murder of Raymond McCord and other matters, but no member of the RUC has been charged or convicted of any criminal acts as a result of these inquiries. Ombudsman Dame Nuala O'Loan stated in her conclusions that there was no reason to believe the findings of the investigation were isolated incidents.

Saint George's Cross

In heraldry, Saint George's Cross, also called the Cross of Saint George, is a red cross on a white background, which from the Late Middle Ages became associated with Saint George, the military saint, often depicted as a crusader.

Associated with the crusades, the red-on-white cross has its origins in the 10th century. It may have been used as the ensign of the Republic of Genoa as early as during the 10th century. The symbol has since been adopted by the Swabian League in the pre-Reformation Holy Roman Empire. The red-on-white cross used extensively across Northern Italy as the symbol of Bologna, Padua, Reggio Emilia, Mantua, Vercelli, Alessandria, is instead derived from another flag, called the "Cross of Saint Ambrose", adopted by the Commune of Milan in 1045.Saint George also rose to the position of "patron saint" of England after the English reformation, and since the early modern period his flag came to be identified as the national flag of England. Saint George is the patron saint of Catalonia and also of Georgia, and the national flag of Georgia (2004) displays a combination of Saint George's cross and the Jerusalem cross.

Steve Horvat

Steven Horvat (born 14 March 1971) is an Australian retired professional soccer player.

Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been personally presented by the British monarch. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.

The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals, of which 11 were to members of the British Army and four were to members of the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War. The traditional explanation of the source of the metal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol. However, research has suggested another origin for the material. Historian John Glanfield has established that the metal for most of the medals made since December 1914 came from two Chinese cannon, and that there is no evidence of Russian origin.Owing to its rarity, the VC is highly prized and the medal has fetched over £400,000 at auction. A number of public and private collections are devoted to the Victoria Cross. The private collection of Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Following a 2008 donation to the Imperial War Museum, the Ashcroft collection went on public display alongside the museum's Victoria and George Cross collection in November 2010.Beginning with the Centennial of Confederation in 1967, Canada, followed in 1975 by Australia and New Zealand, developed their own national honours systems, separate from and independent of the British or Imperial honours system. As each country's system evolved, operational gallantry awards were developed with the premier award of each system—the Victoria Cross for Australia, the Canadian Victoria Cross and the Victoria Cross for New Zealand—being created and named in honour of the Victoria Cross. These are unique awards of each honours system, recommended, assessed, gazetted and presented by each country.

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