Empire Gallantry Medal

Empire Gallantry Medal

Empire Gallantry Medal
Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type Civil decoration
Eligibility British and Commonwealth subjects
Status Revoked by Royal Warrant on 24 September 1940
Description Circular medal, 36 mm in diameter, with the recipient's name around the rim, obverse picturing Britannia, her left and resting on a shield and right hand holding a trident, with a sun in the upper right corner. The medal's appearance varied between its conception and revocation
Established 29 December 1922
First awarded 1 January 1923
Total awarded 130[1]
Next (higher) Kings' Police Medal[2]
Next (lower) Indian Police Medal

The Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Gallantry, usually known as the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM), was a British medal awarded for acts of the gallantry that did not reach the standard required for the Albert Medal and the Edward Medal. King George V introduced it on 29 December 1922. Recipients were entitled to use the post-nominal letters "EGM" and as a Medal of the Order of the British Empire it was also divided into military and civil divisions. Unlike appointments to the Order of the British Empire it could be awarded posthumously.


In 1922, the original Medal of the Order of the British Empire was split into two, the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry (EGM) awarded for acts of gallantry, and the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service that is generally known as the British Empire Medal (BEM) awarded for meritorious services and was the lower level award of the Order of the British Empire. The EGM was awarded until 1940, when it was superseded by the George Cross.

Shortly after the commencement of the Blitz, King George VI created the George Cross to recognise gallantry by men and women in all walks of civilian life. It was to rank immediately after the Victoria Cross. The Empire Gallantry Medal was revoked by Royal Warrant on 24 September 1940. All living recipients and the next-of-kin of recipients who had been posthumously awarded the medal after 3 September 1939 (the start of World War II) were obliged to exchange the Empire Gallantry Medal for the George Cross. It was only in 1971, that then living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal were deemed to be George Cross recipients. Most former Albert Medal and Edward Medal recipients accepted the invitation to change their original insignia for the George Cross but unlike the Empire Gallantry Medallists they were not obliged to exchange their original insignia.[3]


The medal and ribbon were designed first by Langford Jones, though it was changed throughout its existence. The phrase "For God and the Empire" was inscribed round the upper side of the obverse. The first type of reverse had six lions, with the Royal Cypher centred.[4] The 2nd type of reverse had four lions, two on either side of the Royal Cypher. 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 award in 1933. The ribbon changed to rose ink with pearl grey edges in July 1937, with an addition pearl grey vertical stripe for military awards, and stayed in this version until its revocation.


The four honorary awards were not able to be exchanged for the George Cross and neither were the four posthumous awards prior to 3 September 1939. Of the remaining 122 awards, 112 were exchanged including four Military Division posthumous awards gazetted after the start of World War II.

Selected recipients

The following list (mostly of those recipients with standalone articles) is in part extracted from the fuller list at List of George Cross recipients. Also intended to be included here are 18 awards of the EGM that were not exchanged for the George Cross. Where present in the table below, these are marked (*).
Empire Gallantry Medal recipients
Name Rank (or Role) Organisation Date gazetted Image
Anderson, WalterWalter Anderson Flying Officer Royal Air Force 12 April 1929
Arnold , WalterWalter Arnold Leading Aircraftman Royal Air Force 9 November 1928
Blogg , Henry GeorgeHenry George Blogg Coxswain Cromer Lifeboat 30 June 1924
Bogdanovitch, TheodoreTheodore Bogdanovitch Mulazim Trans-Jordan Frontier Force 30 June 1939
Branch, GuyGuy Branch (*) Pilot Officer Royal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force) 30 June 1939
Golandaz, Abdus-SamadAbdus-Samad Golandaz Land-lord, Property Owner and Sand Contractor
4 June 1934
Hodge , Alexander Mitchell Alexander Mitchell Hodge Sub Lieutenant Royal Navy 14 March 1940
Jolly, Richard FrankRichard Frank Jolly Commander Royal Navy 23 December 1939
Kelly, CecilCecil Kelly Barge pilot
5 February 1937
Lungley, AlfredAlfred Lungley Lance Sergeant British Army 19 November 1935
March, Frederick HamiltonFrederick Hamilton March Chauffeur
5 December 1924
McKechnie, William NeilWilliam Neil McKechnie Flight Cadet Royal Air Force 18 October 1929
Pearson , Joan Daphne MaryJoan Daphne Mary Pearson Corporal Women's Auxiliary Air Force 19 July 1940
Taylor, Patrick GordonPatrick Gordon Taylor Captain Aus-NZ Airmail Flight 9 July 1937
Thomas, Dorothy LouiseDorothy Louise Thomas Nurse Middlesex Hospital 2 March 1934
Turner, James Gordon MelvilleJames Gordon Melville Turner Radio Officer Merchant Navy 13 October 1939


  1. P E Abbott and J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards, Nimrod Dix & Co, 1981, ISBN 0 902633 74 0, Chapter 36, p. 242
  2. Order of Wear, London Gazette, No. 34277, Friday, 24 April 1936, pp. 2621–23
  3. P E Abbott and J M A Tamplin. British Gallantry Awards, Nimrod Dix & Co, 1981, ISBN 0 902633 74 0, Chapter 36, pp. 240–43
  4. Imperial War Museum. "Empire Gallantry Medal (Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry) (Military Division) & EGM [OMD 14]". IWM Collections Search. Retrieved 21 April 2013.

External links

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