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THE GEORGE Cross has been awarded for collective gallantry only once before: in 1942, during the Second World War, it was conferred on Malta, now formally known as "Malta, GC", in recognition of the islanders' gallantry.

The medal, second only in precedence to the Victoria Cross, is intended primarily for civilians. It was instituted on 24 September 1940 by George VI at the height of the bombing of British cities. He desired that it "should be highly prized and eagerly sought after". Some 150 medals have been awarded.

The insignia is a plain silver cross with four equal limbs. A medallion depicts St George and the dragon, with the inscription "For Gallantry". The reverse is plain and bears the name of the recipient and the date. The cross is suspended by a ring from a bar adorned with laurel leaves. The ribbon is dark blue.

The George Cross is worn immediately after the Victoria Cross and in front of the insignia of all British orders of chivalry.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary will now be known as "The Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC".