In 1940, during the height of the Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward "for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger" not in the face of the enemy. It was decided that the George Cross and the George Medal would be instituted to recognise both gallantry in the face of enemy bombing and brave deeds more generally.
Although the George Cross is the second-highest award in the British system of honours after the Victoria Cross, the only things that distinguishes it from the Victoria Cross is the 'in the face of the enemy' part. The decision-making process used to determine the award is every bit as rigorous and that for the Victoria Cross. In all, ten George Crosses have been awarded to Canadians. Canada has since replaced the George Cross with our own Cross of Valour.
The George Medal is awarded where the services were not so outstanding as to merit the George Cross. It is the 'nnot in the face of the enemy' equivalent to the Military Cross for officers, and Military medal for men. Canadians have received 77 George Medals including four first bars. Canada has since replaced the George Medal with our own Medal of Bravery.