Background: Instituted by King George VI on 24 September 1940, along with the George Cross to recognise, in particular, the large number of acts of gallantry being displayed during the Blitz but also in other areas where military awards were not appropriate. Although primarily a civilian award at the second level, it can be awarded to Service personnel and to date around 50% of all awards made have been to civilians. Approximately 2,200 George Medals have been awarded since its inception. The original Warrant for the George Medal did not permit it to be awarded posthumously. This was changed in November 1977 and the George Medal has been awarded posthumously several times since this date.
Design: The medal is made of silver and shows the crowned effigy of the reigning monarch. The reverse shown here features St George on horseback, slaying a dragon on the coast of England surrounded by the words THE GEORGE MEDAL. The crimson ribbon is 32 mm wide, with five narrow blue vertical stripes, the blue colour matching the ribbon of the George Cross.
Bars: A bar is awarded for subsequent acts of bravery that would merit the award of the GM. In undress uniform or on occasions when the medal ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette is worn on the ribbon to indicate each bar. The last Bar to be awarded was to WO2 Gary O´Donnell GM of 11 EOD Regiment RLC who was awarded his bar posthumously for Improvised Explosive Device Disposal duties in Afghanistan during 2008.