Instituted in 1940 to recognise acts of great gallantry primarily on the home front which did not qualify for Military honours.
The Cross was named after King George VI and is awarded to Military and civilians alike for gallantry of the highest level.
It was awarded to the island of Malta to recognise its gallantry during WWII and awarded collectively to the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 2000. HM the Queen presented it at Hillsborogh Castle in April 2000.
Equivalent in rank to the VC, the GC is awarded to Military personnel for gallantry "not in the face of an enemy"
The latest awards, to Kim Hughes and posthumously to Olaf Schmid, Ammunition Technicians from the RLC, were for service in Afghanistan.