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George Cross recipients - Australia

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Intro

George Cross

The goal of this Free Space page is to list the Australian George Cross and George Medal recipients.

Shortly after the climax of the Battle of Britain and during the third week of the Blitz, the existing awards open to civilians were not judged suitable to meet the new situation, therefore, on 24th September 1940 King George VI instituted the George Cross and the George Medal to recognise civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action, and brave deeds more generally. The George Cross was awarded to 22 Australians (14 were direct awards and eight were Empire Gallantry Medal (two) and Albert Medal (six) awards, whose recipients were required to exchange their initial medal for a George Cross), 11 to members of the Australian Defence Force and 11 to civilians. Australia established the Cross of Valour within the Australian Honours System in 1975 'for acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril', however, it was not until 1992 that Australia officially ceased recommending Imperial honours. During this period, the last George Cross to an Australian was awarded in 1978.

A memorial to the Australian recipients, George Cross Park, was opened in Canberra on 4th April 2001.

Military George Cross awardees

  • Arthur Bagot 12 April 1918 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Albert Medal Gallantry during engine room explosion on HM Motor Launch 356
  • Leon Verdi Goldsworthy (1909-94) Lieutenant HMS Vernon, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve 19 September 1944 Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War
  • George Gosse (1912-64) Lieutenant HMS Vernon, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve 30 April 1946 Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War
  • Benjamin Gower Hardy (1898-1944) Private 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion 1 September 1950 Gallantry during Cowra breakout
  • Ralph Jones (1900-44) Private 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion 1 September 1950 Gallantry during Cowra breakout
  • Horace William Madden Private Royal Australian Regiment 30 December 1955 Fortitude while a prisoner of war, Korean War
  • Lionel Colin Matthews (1912-44) Captain Royal Australian Corps of Signals 28 November 1947 Fortitude while a prisoner of war, Second World War
  • William Simpson McAloney Aircraftman Royal Australian Air Force Albert Medal 18 February 1938 Attempted rescue of an officer trapped in a burning aircraft
  • John Stuart Mould Lieutenant Royal Australian Naval Reserve attached HMS Vernon 3 November 1942 Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War
  • Jonathan Rogers Chief Petty Officer Royal Australian Navy 19 March 1965 Gallantry during HMAS Melbourne-HMAS Voyager collision
  • Hugh Randall Syme Lieutenant Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve 3 August 1943 Mine recovery and defusion, Second World War


Civilian George Cross awardees

  • Eric Bailey 12 January 1945 New South Wales Police Force Apprehended a suspect while mortally wounded
  • John Chalmers 4 February 1922 North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club Albert Medal Rescue of swimmer during shark attack
  • Raymond Donoghue 29 April 1960 Metropolitan Tram Trust Attempting to regain control of tram during accident
  • Errol Emanuel July 1969 – August 1971 District Commissioner, Territory of Papua New Guinea Resolving factional conflicts and restoring local government in Papua New Guinea
  • Stanley Gibbs 3 January 1927 Civilian Albert Medal Rescue of swimmer during shark attack
  • Robert Kavanaugh 19 January 1929 Civilian Albert Medal Rescue of swimmer during shark attack
  • Frederick March 19 November 1924 Chauffeur to Governor-General of Sudan Empire Gallantry Medal Gallantry during assassination of the Governor-General of Sudan
  • The last Australian to be awarded the GC (in 1978) was Constable Michael Kenneth Pratt of the Victoria Police for arresting two armed bank robbers during the robbery in June 1976.
  • Richard Richards 9 October 1915 – 19 March 1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition Albert Medal Gallantry during Trans-Antarctic Expedition
  • Anthony Taylor January–March 1951 Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources Gallantry during eruption of Mount Lamington, Papua New Guinea
  • Patrick Taylor 15 May 1935 Australia-New Zealand airmail flight Empire Gallantry Medal Gallantry during flight when the aircraft's starboard engine failed


Military George Medal awardees

  • Margaret Irene Anderson, Staff Nurse, Australian Army Nursing Service, In recognition of conspicuous gallantry when her ship, Empire Star, was attacked by enemy aircraft during the evacuation of Singapore.
  • Geoffrey John Cliff, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, First awarded in 1942 for work undertaken defusing mines in London. Later the same year he was awarded a Bar for defusing mines in Belfast.
  • Arthur Henry Cobby, Group Captain (temporary Air Commodore), Royal Australian Air Force, On 7 September 1943, he was travelling as a passenger on a Catalina flying boat when it crashed at Townsville, Queensland. Although injured, Cobby helped rescue two other survivors.
  • Thomas Henry Dennis, Flight Sergeant, Royal Australian Air Force, A navigator in a Douglas aircraft that was making a forced landing over water, he swam for two hours with non-swimming passengers, through rain squalls and sharks, saving many lives.
  • Leon Verdi Goldsworthy, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMS Vernon, Awarded for defusing two mines in September and October 1943, one at a Southampton wharf and the other in the River Thames. By the end of the war Goldsworthy was an acting Lieutenant Commander, had also received the George Cross and Distinguished Service Cross, and made safe more than 300 mines.
  • John Thomas Humphries, Petty Officer, Royal Australian Navy, For courage and skill displayed in diving operations while serving on HMS Kanimbla, an armed merchant cruiser.
  • James Henry 'Jim' Kessack, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, Courage, initiative and devotion to duty. As a mine clearer, aged 28, he died in the execution of his duty on 28 April 1941.
  • A C McAlister, Leading aircraftman, Royal Australian Air Force, McAlister rescued a pilot from a burning fighter aircraft, amid exploding ammunition, and before the planes bombs exploded.
  • Alan Wedel Ramsey McNicoll, Lieutenant Commander, Royal Australian Navy, For gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty. In 1940 with the captured Italian submarine Galileo Galilei, McNicoll removed the inertia pistols from eight corroded torpedoes.
  • John Stuart Mould, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, Awarded 'for gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty', in mine disposal. He was awarded the George Cross in November 1942.
  • Howard Dudley Reid, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, First awarded for 'gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty' in mine disposal between December 1940 to January 1941. Secondly for mine disposal in Glasgow in August 1941.
  • Ellen Savage, Nurse, Australian Army Nursing Service, Sinking of AHS Centaur. Although suffering from severe injuries received as a result of the explosion and immersion in the sea, she displayed great heroism during the period while she and some male members of the ship's staff were floating on a raft, to which they clung for about 34 hours before being rescued by a US destroyer. She gave conspicuous service while on the raft in attending to wounds and burns suffered by other survivors. Her courage and fortitude did much to maintain the morale of her companions.
  • Maurice Anthony Sullivan, Sergeant, Royal Australian Air Force, No. 7 Squadron, In November 1941 when his aircraft crashed and burst into flames, Sergeant Sullivan, the rear gunner, climbed out of his turret. With the assistance of two soldiers who arrived on the scene he then repeatedly re-entered the burning aircraft to rescue members of his crew trapped or injured inside.
  • Hugh Randall Syme, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMS Vernon, His first George Medal was awarded in June 1941 for dealing with a series of ten mines. In June 1942 he was awarded a second for disarming a mine buried deep in clay in a reservoir embankment at Primrose Hill, London. In 1943 he was awarded the George Cross.
  • Keith Swan Upton, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, As a mine clearer, showed 'the highest courage, devotion to duty and remarkable ingenuity, his initiative and gallantry marking him out among the personnel of this special section'. He was working with Lieutenant Kessack GM at the time when Kessack's bomb exploded while being defused.
  • Lionel Van Praag, Sergeant, Royal Australian Air Force, On 26 January 1942 Van Praag was the co-pilot of a Douglas DC-2 which was attacked by two Japanese fighters and forced down into the Sumba Strait, Indonesia. The aircraft soon sank, leaving Van Praag, his pilot Flying Officer Noel Wilson Webster, and two other crewmen in open water. Webster gave his life-jacket to a crewman who could not swim, while the other was semi-conscious, having been injured in the crash. Webster and Van Praag managed to drag them safely to shore, but were in the water for thirty hours, during which time they beat off several attacks by sharks.
  • Nancy Wake, F Section, Special Operations Executive, For brave conduct in hazardous circumstances. Wake was living in Marseille with her French husband when the war began. After the occupation she joined the "PAT Line", organising the escape of Allied airmen. After being forced to flee to England in May 1943 she joined SOE, and was parachuted back into France in April 1944, becoming an organiser for a large group of Maquis in the Auvergne region.


Civilian George Medal awardees

  • Ivan James Adams, Senior constable, Queensland Police Force, The dredge Kaptajn Nielsen overturned without warning in Moreton Bay in 1965, trapping crew below deck in 35 feet (11 m) of water. The water police officer and volunteer diver Joseph Engwirda immediately dived into the murky water and rescued twelve survivors, and some deceased persons. After air issues, they revived, and returned to the upturned vessel for other possible survivors. Engwirda also awarded the George Medal, and British Empire Medals to three other volunteer divers.
  • Hilton Frank Alomes, Police officer, Bushy Park, Tasmania, For rescuing two people during the 1960 Derwent Valley floods.
  • Osmund Ertmann 'Ossie' Cislowski, Constable #4598, Queensland Police Force, On 10 August 1954, Cislowski was shot by a revolver in the chest, left hip, and right leg when seeking to arrest a 24-year-old male labourer, in Denham Street, Townsville. He continued to chase and arrest the offender after being shot. The constable was assisted by fellow Constable #4035 Earle Leonard Needham, who was invested with the British Empire Medal (Civil Division). Offender later sentenced to 14 years gaol, additional to matters of burglary. Cislowski was the first Queensland officer to get the medal.
  • Joseph Engwirda, Volunteer scuba diver, The dredge Kaptajn Nielsen overturned without warning in Moreton Bay, trapping crew below deck in 35 feet (11 m) of water. Volunteer diver Engwirda and water police officer Ivan Adams immediately dived into the murky water and rescued twelve survivors, and some deceased persons. After air issues, they revived, and returned to the upturned vessel for other possible survivors. Adams also awarded the George Medal, and British Empire Medals to three other volunteer divers.
  • John Leonard Graham, Detective Senior Constable, Queensland Police Force, In Brisbane, a mentally-ill male with a history of violence drove a car into a light pole before leaving the car with a knife threatening to kill himself. While unarmed, the officer continued to persuade the man to surrender his weapons (including the officer's revolver). After a distraction, the offender was overpowered.
  • Glen Patrick Hallahan, Detective Constable 1st Class, Queensland Police Force, For his part in the apprehension of a man armed with a rifle in Brisbane, who had threatened to kill two other officers. Terence Murray Lewis also awarded the George Medal. Two other officers awarded British Empire Medals.
  • Frederick Leslie Jones, Constable, New South Wales Police, For disarming a man armed with a rifle in 1953.
  • Terence Murray Lewis, Detective Senior Constable, Queensland Police Force, For his part in the apprehension of a man armed with a rifle in Brisbane, who had threatened to kill two other officers. Glen Patrick Hallahan also awarded the George Medal. Two other officers awarded British Empire Medals.
  • Johnstone Ronald Linthwaite, Detective senior constable #4503, Queensland Police Force, A suspicious male when stopped, produced a revolver and pointed at a sergeant. Struck in the knee by a bullet, the sergeant fell to the ground, Linthwaite rushed straight at the offender who then ran off. The offender then turned and fired at Linthwaite three times, narrowly missing him. He displayed a very high order of bravery and devotion to duty.
  • Allan Thomas MacKay, Constable #5314, Queensland Police Force, At Jandowae in 1958, a dispute in a workers camp saw one man killed by a rifle by another. After threats, the constable attended, and engaged the offender in conversation. With a rifle pointed directly at him, a sudden rush and a violent struggle saw the offender overcome and arrested. MacKay is the third officer of the Force to be awarded a George Medal.
  • Derek Ian Pickless, Constable, Queensland Police Force, On 29 February 1984 at North Rockhampton went to a domestic violence matter with Constable Michael Leslie Low. On arrival, Low knocked on the front door and was hit in the chest by a shotgun blast. Pickless dragged Low to safety, and while under fire and returning fire, went to the car to radio for help. He returned to Low, who subsequently died.
  • Eric Joseph Rippon (1900-1963), Sergeant, New South Wales Police, For disarming a man armed with a shotgun in 1953.
  • John Joseph Ryan, Detective Sergeant 1st Class #3654, Queensland Police Force, First awarded for disarming a violent criminal found in a stolen car on the outskirts of Brisbane, who threatening police officers with a rifle. Climbing into the car, Ryan spoke with the offender, then during a struggle had a shot discharged to avoid arrest. Later in the same year, Ryan awarded a second George Medal for disarming another man also armed with a rifle. At a domestic disturbance, a male had slashed his wrists, then absconded. He was located later in the house where he fired shots from a rifle. In the darkness under the house, Ryan tried to negotiate with the male who made threats to kill any police who approached him. Walking towards Ryan, a shot was fired, and after a struggle, the offender was disarmed.
  • Stewart Alexander Walker, Sergeant 2nd class, Queensland Police Force, Constable 1/c Gregory Olive of Kelvin Grove Police Station undertook a routine inquiry at a residence on 19 February 1962. After knocking at the door, the door swung open and a 47-year-old unemployed labourer fatally fired a .303 calibre rifle into Olive's chest. The sergeant attended, and ordered the labourer to surrender. After shots were fired by both parties, the door was kicked open, and the officer overpowered and disarmed the male. The offender was gaoled for life for wilful murder.

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