Instituted in 1940 for rewarding acts of outstanding gallantry deemed not suitable for the award of the George Cross.
To date approximately 2000 medals have been awarded and 27 second award bars. Although the awards have been split fairly evenly across the Military and Civilians it is perhaps today more often awarded to Military Personnel, particularly Bomb Disposal, EOD work as well as intelligence work by special forces.
The last award of a bar was made posthumously to Warrant Officer Gary O'Donnell of 11 EOD Regiment for his work on IED's in Afghanistan, he had earned his first GM in Iraq in 2006. This bar was the first awarded for 26 years.