Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
CGM obverse (Flying)
TypeMilitary decoration
Awarded forGallantry in action
Presented byUK and Commonwealth
EligibilityBritish and formerly Commonwealth forces
StatusDiscontinued 1993
Established13 September 1855
Re-established: 7 July 1874
TotalVictoria: 63
Edward VII: 2
George V: 110 (& 1 bar)
George VI: 191
Elizabeth II: 3
Total: 369[1]
px100 px100
Ribbon bar: Pre and post 1921
Ribbon bar: CGM (Flying)
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Distinguished Conduct Medal[2]
Next (lower)George Medal[2]

The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) was, until 1993, a British military decoration for gallantry in action for petty officers and seamen of the Royal Navy, including Warrant Officers and other ranks of the Royal Marines. It was formerly awarded to personnel of other Commonwealth countries. In 1943 a Royal Air Force version was created for conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy in the air.


The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal was the second level bravery award for ratings of the Royal Navy, ranking below the Victoria Cross and, after its institution in 1914, above the Distinguished Service Medal. It was normally awarded with an annuity or gratuity.[3] In 1943, during the Second World War, a Royal Air Force version, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying), was added.[4] Since 1917, recipients have been entitled to use the post-nominal letters "CGM".[1]

The original Royal Navy medal was instituted in 1855 to recognise gallantry during the Crimean War, as the Naval counterpart of the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Only twelve were finally awarded, with the medals created by adapting existing examples of the Royal Marines Meritorious Service Medal, with the words 'MERITORIOUS SERVICE' erased from the reverse inscription, and 'CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY' engraved in its place.[4]

The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal was re-instituted on 7 July 1874 as a permanent decoration, and was initially used to reward gallantry in the various colonial campaigns of the late nineteenth century in which the Royal Navy took part.[5]

It remained an exclusively Naval award until World War II when a number of changes were made. Eligibility was extended in April 1940 to Royal Air Force personnel serving with the Fleet; in July 1942 to Army personnel serving afloat, for example manning a merchant ship's anti-aircraft guns; and in September 1942 to ratings of the Merchant Navy.[1]

In January 1943 the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) was established for acts of conspicuous gallantry whilst flying in active operations against the enemy, of a standard below that required for the Victoria Cross, but above that for the Distinguished Flying Medal.

In 1979 eligibility for a number of British awards, including the CGM, was extended to permit posthumous awards.[6] Until that time, only the Victoria Cross and a mention in dispatches could be awarded posthumously.

In 1993, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, Distinguished Service Order (when awarded specifically for gallantry) and Distinguished Conduct Medal were all replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC). The CGC is tri-service and is awarded to all ranks. It is second only to the Victoria Cross for bravery in action.[4]

The CGM had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by the 1990s most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had established their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours.


Apart from the ribbon, the medals awarded for service afloat and for flying are identical. The medal is circular, silver, 36 millimetres (1.4 in) in diameter with the following design:[4]

Design variations

The medal was awarded with one of five obverses:[1]


Number of awards

Between 1855 and 1993 a total of 369 medals and one second award bar were awarded.[1]

Period CGM (Sea) CGM (Air) Bar
1855 12[8]
1874–1901 51
1902–1913 2
1914–1919 108 1
1920–1938 2
1939–1945 80 111
1946–1993 2[5] 1[5]
Total 257 112 1

The above figures for World War II include ten honorary awards to servicemen from allied countries, eight for service afloat and two for gallantry while flying.[1]

Notable recipients

Further information: Category: Recipients of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Abbott, PE; Tamplin, JMA (1981). British Gallantry Awards. London: Nimrod Dix & Co. pp. 43–53. ISBN 0-902633-74-0.
  2. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 August 2020. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  3. ^ Dorling, H Taprell (1956). Ribbons and Medals. London: AH Baldwin & Sons. pp. 47–48.
  4. ^ a b c d Duckers, Peter (2010). British Gallantry Awards 1855–2000. Oxford: Shire Publications. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-0-7478-0516-8.
  5. ^ a b c Mussell, JW (2015). Medal Yearbook 2015. Honiton: Token Publications. p. 92. ISBN 978-1908828163.
  6. ^ Abbott, PE; Tamplin, JMA (1981). British Gallantry Awards. London: Nimrod Dix & Co. p. xx. ISBN 0-902633-74-0.
  7. ^ Description: Meritorious Service Medal, 1848. Royal Palaces, Greenwich
  8. ^ 12 medals awarded to 11 recipients, AB Barry receiving two medals for separate acts of gallantry. See Abbott, page 44.
  9. ^ "Conspicuous Gallantry Medal". Royal Museums Greenwich.
  10. ^ "To receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal". The London Gazette (Supplement). No. 29180. 3 June 1915. p. 5331.
  11. ^ "Admiralty, June 30, 1915". The Edinburgh Gazette. No. 12826. 6 July 1915. p. 970.
  12. ^ "Naval History.Net World War 1 at Sea, Honours & Gallantry Awards (July-Dec 1918)". Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  13. ^ "No. 30807". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 July 1918. p. 8591.
  14. ^ "No. 34925". The London Gazette. 16 August 1940. p. 5065.
  15. ^ "Squadron Leader Geoffrey Keen, CGM, DFM D:October 2, 1992". 427 Lion Squadron Association. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  16. ^ "No. 44732". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 December 1968. p. 13230.
  17. ^ "No. 49134". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 October 1982. p. 12849.
  18. ^ "No. 52588". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 June 1991. p. 4.