|Conspicuous Gallantry Medal|
CGM obverse (Flying)
|Awarded by UK and Commonwealth|
|Eligibility||British and formerly Commonwealth forces|
|Awarded for||Gallantry in action|
|Established||13 September 1855|
Re-established: 7 July 1874
|Total awarded||Victoria: 63|
Edward VII: 2
George V: 110
George VI: 191
Elizabeth II: 3
|Order of Wear|
|Next (higher)||Distinguished Conduct Medal|
|Next (lower)||George Medal|
Ribbon bar: Pre and post 1921
Ribbon bar: CGM (Flying)
The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) was, until 1993, a British military decoration for gallantry in action for petty officers and seaman 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, during the Second World War, 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. In 1943, during the Second World War, a Royal Air Force version, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying), was added. Since 1917, recipients have been entitled to use the post-nominal letters "CGM".
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 exiting 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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:
The medal was awarded with one of five obverses:
Between 1855 and 1993 a total of 369 medals and one second award bar were awarded.
|Period||CGM (Sea)||CGM (Air)||Bar|
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.
"Bugler Ernest Sillence. Royal Marine Light Infantry behaved with distinguished gallantry on 4th May (1915) during operations South of Achi Baba, (Gallipoli Campaign) in volunteering to throw back enemy bombs into enemy lines at great personal risk, thereby saving the lives of many of his comrades."
"Sergt. Frank John Knill of the Royal Marines, R.M.A. This non-commissioned officer was in charge of Vindictive's howitzer, which fired continuously under the most difficult conditions during the whole period that the ship was alongside the mole at Zeebrugge during the Zeebrugge raid. In spite of being semi-gassed, Sergt. Knill did not leave his post, but remained in charge of his gun until it ceased firing."
Wireless Operator F/Sgt Geoffrey Keen DFM was the first member of the Royal Canadian Air Force to be awarded the CGM and one of only eleven airmen during the Second World War to be awarded both the CGM and the Distinguished Flying Medal. During the bomb run in a raid on Essen on the night of 12/13 March 1943 his Wellington bomber was hit by flak, killing the navigator and blowing off Keen's right foot. For the remainder of the return flight, disregarding his wounds and whilst continually losing blood, for over two hours, Keen continued to repair his damaged radio set and on two occasions dragged himself to the navigator's compartment to assist the pilot with essential information for navigating the aircraft safely back to base. All three remaining members of the crew were awarded the DFC while Keen was recommended for the Victoria Cross.
Corporal John Coughlan RAAF was awarded the CGM in 1968, for actions as a helicopter crewman in Vietnam. This was the only CGM (Flying) to be awarded after World War II.
Sgt Ian Prescott (Royal Engineers) awarded the CGM posthumously during the Falklands War 1982. (Naval award as on a Naval task).
CPO (Diver) Hammond was the last recipient of the CGM, for the 1991 Gulf War, before the inception of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in 1993.