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George Cross

The George Cross is the British decoration corresponding to the Victoria Cross, but awarded for acts not in the face of the enemy. As such, it is the highest honour that can be awarded to a civilian not under military command for bravery in wartime, and for soldiers behind the lines and during peacetime.

Created on the 24 September 1940 by King George VI, it was awarded for an act of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. In its history, it has only been awarded to four women of which three were SOE agents who served during World War II.

The most exceptional award of the George Cross may be the award given to the island of Malta following its stout defence during World War II. The only other time it has been given collectively was when it was presented to the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The award is given to members of the British Commonwealth. There have been 10 crosses awarded to Canadians; 8 military, 1 Merchant Navy, and 1 woman.

Its most recent military recipient was Trooper Christopher Finney of the Blues and Royals for gallantry during a friendly fire incident in the '2003 invasion of Iraq. Finney is also the youngest recipient of the medal.

See also: George Medal

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