Empire Gallantry Medal

The Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Gallantry, known as the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM), was a British medal awarded for acts of gallantry. Unlike the then existing Sea Gallantry Medal (SGM) (1854), the Albert Medal (AM) (1866) and the Edward Medal (EM) (1907) which each had two classes with restricted eligibility criteria, the EGM was a single class award with wide eligibility. It was instituted by King George V on 29 December 1922. In July 1937, recipients were granted the right to use the post-nominal letters "EGM". The EGM was superseded in 1940 by the George Cross which was also a single class award with wide eligibility but unlike the low placed EGM on the Order of Wear, the George Cross was listed immediately after the Victoria Cross.[1]

Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Gallantry
Empire Gallantry Medal (George VI reverse)
TypeBravery decoration
DescriptionCircular silver medal
Presented byUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
EligibilityBritish and Commonwealth subjects
StatusCeased by Royal Warrant on 24 September 1940
Established29 December 1922
First awarded1 January 1923
Total awarded posthumously8

Ribbon bar: Civil and Military EGM (to 1937). Silver laurel branch added 1933

Ribbon bar: Civil and Military EGM (1937–40).
1936 Order of Wear
Next (higher)Kings' Police Medal[2]
Next (lower)Indian Police Medal[2]

The EGM was a medal of the Order of the British Empire and like the Order itself, was divided into civil and military divisions,[3] but unlike the British Empire Medal (BEM), officers were eligible for the medal.[4]


In 1922, the original Medal of the Order of the British Empire was discontinued and replaced by two separate awards, the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry (EGM), and the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service, known as the British Empire Medal. The EGM had been ranked after the SGM, AM and EM on the Order of Wear but was superseded by the George Cross in 1940.[3]

On 24 September 1940 King George VI created the George Cross, to rank immediately after the Victoria Cross, to recognize gallantry not in the presence of the enemy. The EGM ceased the same day. In April 1941, it was announced that, except for honorary recipients, all living recipients and the next-of-kin of those posthumously awarded the EGM after 3 September 1939, were to exchange their insignia for the George Cross. In 1971, all living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal were deemed George Cross holders but unlike EGM recipients the exchange of their original insignia for the George Cross was optional.[1]


It is a circular silver medal, 36 millimetres (1.4 in) in diameter, with a straight suspender augmented with laurel leaves. The recipient's name was impressed on the rim. Except for the ribbon, the design of the civil and military divisions was the same.[5]

The obverse showed Britannia facing right, her left and resting on a shield and right hand holding a trident, with a sun in the upper right corner. The wording "For God and the Empire" was inscribed round the upper side, and "For Gallantry" in the exergue.[5]

The first reverse had the Royal Cypher surrounded by six lions.[6] The 2nd type, adopted after the accession of George VI in 1937, had the Royal Cypher with four lions, two on either side with, below, the wording "Instituted by George V".[5]

The original ribbon was plain purple, with the addition of a thin vertical red stripe for military awards. A silver laurel branch was added diagonally to the ribbon for both types of the award in 1933, and was worn on the ribbon bar when ribbons alone were worn. The ribbon changed to rose pink with pearl grey edges in July 1937, with an addition pearl grey vertical stripe for military awards, and stayed in this version until the medal's revocation.[5]


There were a total of 130 awards, including eight made posthumously:

  • Civil Division 64 (3 posthumous)
  • Military Division 62 (5 posthumous)
  • Honorary awards 4 (non-British citizens, 3 French and 1 Belgian)[1]

The four honorary awards were not able to be exchanged for the George Cross. On 24 September 1940, 107 of the other 126 recipients were living and all exchanged awards. The next of kin of five deceased recipients, Herbert John (Bertie) Mahoney whose EGM award was gazetted on 23 December 1927 and the four Military Division posthumous awards gazetted after the start of World War II also exchanged awards.[1][7]

Selected recipients

Awards of the EGM that were not exchanged for the George Cross are marked below with (*).

Empire Gallantry Medal recipients
NameRank (or Role)OrganisationDate gazettedImage
Walter Anderson Flying OfficerRoyal Air Force12 April 1929[8]
Walter Arnold Leading AircraftmanRoyal Air Force9 November 1928[9]
Henry George Blogg CoxswainCromer Lifeboat30 June 1924[10]
Theodore Bogdanovitch Mulazim (Lieutenant)Trans-Jordan Frontier Force30 June 1939[11]
Guy Branch (*) Pilot OfficerRoyal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force)30 June 1939[12]
William Fleming CoxswainGorleston Lifeboat30 June 1924[10]
Abdus-Samad Golandaz Landlord, Property Owner and Sand Contractor
4 June 1934[13]
Alexander Mitchell Hodge Sub LieutenantRoyal Navy14 March 1940[14]
Richard Frank Jolly CommanderRoyal Navy23 December 1939[15]
Cecil Kelly Barge pilot
5 February 1937[16]
Alfred Lungley Lance SergeantBritish Army19 November 1935[17]
Frederick Hamilton March Chauffeur
5 December 1924[18]
William Neil McKechnie Flight CadetRoyal Air Force18 October 1929[19]
Thomas Patrick McTeague CorporalRoyal Air Force12 April 1929[8]
Joan Daphne Mary Pearson CorporalWomen's Auxiliary Air Force19 July 1940[20]
Patrick Gordon Taylor CaptainAus-NZ Airmail Flight9 July 1937[21]
Dorothy Louise Thomas NurseMiddlesex Hospital2 March 1934[22]
James Gordon Melville Turner Radio OfficerMerchant Navy13 October 1939[23]


  1. P E Abbott; JMA Tamplin (1981). British Gallantry Awards. London: Nimrod Dix & Co. pp. 240–242. ISBN 0-9026-3374-0.
  2. "No. 34277". The London Gazette. 24 April 1936. p. 2622.
  3. H. Taprell Dorling (1956). Ribbons and Medals. A. H. Baldwin & Son, London. p. 36. OCLC 930416375.
  4. The 1922 Royal Warrant, section 38 excludes those eligible for the order itself from the medal for meritorious service, but not from the medal for gallantry. See: "No. 32781". The London Gazette. 29 December 1922. p. 9160.
  5. John W. Mussell, ed. (2014). Medal Yearbook 2015. Token Publishing Limited, Honiton, Devon. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-908-828-16-3.
  6. Imperial War Museum. "Empire Gallantry Medal (Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry) (Military Division) & EGM [OMD 14]". IWM Collections Search. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  7. Hebblethwaite, Marion (2006). One step further : those whose gallantry was rewarded with the George Cross. Witney: Chameleon HH Publishing Ltd. pp. Book L & M pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-9546917-1-7. OCLC 62713816. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  8. "No. 33485". The London Gazette. 12 April 1929. p. 2433.
  9. "No. 33437". The London Gazette. 9 November 1928. p. 7301.
  10. "No. 32953". The London Gazette. 4 July 1924. p. 5157.
  11. "No. 34641". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 June 1939. p. 4435.
  12. "No. 34496". The London Gazette. 25 March 1938. p. 2003.
  13. "No. 34056". The London Gazette. 4 June 1934. pp. 3571–7424.
  14. "No. 34913". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 August 1940. p. 4787.
  15. "No. 34759". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 December 1939. p. 8545.
  16. "No. 15359". The Edinburgh Gazette. 5 February 1937. pp. 112–114.
  17. "No. 34221". The London Gazette. 19 November 1935. p. 7319.
  18. "No. 32999". The London Gazette. 5 December 1924. p. 8851.
  19. "No. 33544". The London Gazette. 18 October 1929. p. 6615.
  20. "No. 34900". The London Gazette. 19 July 1940. p. 4434.
  21. "No. 34416". The London Gazette. 9 July 1937. p. 4414.
  22. "No. 34029". The London Gazette. 2 March 1934. p. 1422.
  23. "No. 34708". The London Gazette. 13 October 1939. p. 6862.
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