Awards for Gallantry

The gallantry awards investigated to date are:

  • George Cross
  • Legion d’Honneur
  • Medal of Honor
  • Victoria Cross

George Cross (UK)


Created in 1940 by King George VI to recognise bravery of the highest order by civilians and members of the armed forces, regardless of rank, in peacetime. The George Cross ranks second only to the Victoria Cross in the Order of Wearing of medals.


GRAY, Hector Bertram, Flight Lieutenant Royal Air Force (44061). [London Gazette Issue 37538 published on the 19 April 1946, page 1 of 4]

 GRAY, Roderick Borden Flying Officer Royal Canadian Air Force (13-Mar-1945) [George Cross database:]

Légion d’Honneur (France)


The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour (French: Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur) is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802. The Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into five degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

The order’s motto is Honneur et Patrie (“Honour and Fatherland”), and its seat is the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur on the left bank of the River Seine in Paris.


SurnameFirst NamesDate of BirthPlace of Birth
GrayAndre Raymond1908/08/11Yonne ; Saint-Fargeau
GrayGeorges Roger1912/05/05Gironde ; Bordeaux
GrayNol1773/02/10Ain ; Condom
Gray deCharles1789/11/01Cte-d’Or ; Semur
Gray deMarie Pierre Alexandre1802/03/24Moselle ; Briey
GreyClaude1784/02/18Cte-d’Or ; Urcy
GreyLouis Alfred1881/02/28Cte-d’Or ; Sacquenay
GrayPierre Alexandre1828/04/14Isre ; Allires-et-Risset
GreyRaoul Eloi1901/02/11Bouches-du-Rhne ; Marseille

Medal of Honor (USA)


The Medal of Honor is the United States of America’s highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of valor(Wikipedia).


John Gray (1836- June 1, 1887)

John Gray was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at The Battle of Port Republic on June 9, 1862 when he “mounted an artillery horse of the enemy and captured a brass 6-pound piece in the face of the enemy’s fire and brought it to the rear.”  He received the medal on March 14, 1864.

Robert A. Gray (September 21, 1834 – November 22, 1906)

Robert was a Union Army soldier in the American Civil War who received the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. Citation: “The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Robert A. Gray, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 16 May 1864, while serving with Company C, 21st Connecticut Infantry, in action at Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia. While retreating with his regiment, which had been repulsed, Sergeant Gray voluntarily returned, in face of the enemy’s fire, to a former position and rescued a wounded officer of his company who was unable to walk”

He died at the age of 72, on November 22, 1906 and was buried at the Colonel Ledyard Cemetery in Groton, Connecticut.

Sergeant Ross Franklin Gray (August 1, 1920 – February 27, 1945)

A United States Marine who posthumously received the Medal of Honor — the highest military honor of the United States — for his heroic service in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II — he single-handedly disarmed an entire mine field while under heavy enemy fire. He was killed in action six days later

Citation: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Acting Platoon Sergeant serving with Company A, First Battalion, Twenty-Fifth Marines, Fourth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, February 21, 1945. Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation when his platoon was held up by a sudden barrage of hostile grenades while advancing toward the high ground northeast of Airfield Number One, Sergeant Gray promptly organized the withdrawal of his men from enemy grenade range, quickly moved forward alone to reconnoiter and discovered a heavily mined area extending along the front of a strong network of emplacements joined by covered communication trenches. Although assailed by furious gunfire, he cleared a path leading through the mine field to one of the fortifications then returned to the platoon position and, informing his leader of the serious situation, volunteered to initiate an attack while being covered by three fellow Marines. Alone and unarmed but carrying a twenty-four pound satchel charge, he crept up the Japanese emplacement, boldly hurled the short-fused explosive and sealed the entrance. Instantly taken under machine-gun fire from a second entrance to the same position, he unhesitatingly braved the increasingly vicious fusillades to crawl back for another charge, returned to his objective and blasted the second opening, thereby demolishing the position. Repeatedly covering the ground between the savagely defended enemy fortifications and his platoon area, he systematically approached, attacked and withdrew under blanketing fire to destroy a total of six Japanese positions, more than twenty-five of the enemy and a quantity of vital ordnance gear and ammunition. Stouthearted and indomitable, Sergeant Gray had single-handedly overcome a strong enemy garrison and had completely disarmed a large mine field before finally rejoining his unit and, by his great personal valor, daring tactics and tenacious perseverance in the face of extreme peril, had contributed materially to the fulfillment of his company’s mission. His gallant conduct throughout enhanced and sustained the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Victoria Cross (UK)


The Victoria Cross is the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime. The award was created by Queen Victoria in 1856 and made retrospective to 1854 to cover the period of the Crimean War. The Victoria Cross bears the inscription “For Valour” and is cast from the metal of guns captured during the Crimean War 1854-56.


Robert Hampton Gray, Lieutenant RCNVR [London Gazette Issue 37346 published on the 9 November 1945. Page 1 of 4]

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS for valour to: the late Temporary Lieutenant Robert Hampton GRAY, R.C.N.V.R., for great valour in leading an attack on a Japanese destroyer in Onagawa Wan on 9th August, 1945. In the face of fire from shore batteries and a heavy concentration of fire from some five warships Lieutenant Gray pressed home his attack, flying very low in order to ensure success, and, although he was hit and his aircraft was in flames, he obtained at least one direct hit, sinking the destroyer. Lieutenant Gray has consistently shown a brilliant fighting spirit and most inspiring leadership

Thomas Gray, Sergeant Royal Air Force [London Gazette Issue 34870 published on the 11 June 1940. Page 4 of 76]

“Flying Officer Garland was the pilot, and Sergeant Gray the observer, of the leading aircraft of a formation of five aircraft that attacked a bridge over the Albert Canal which had not been destroyed and was allowing the enemy to advance into Belgium. All the air crews of the squadron concerned volunteered for the operation and, after five crews had been selected by drawing lots, the attack was delivered at low altitude against this vital target. Orders were issued that this bridge was to be destroyed at all costs. As had been anticipated, exceptionally intense machine gun and anti-aircraft fire was encountered, and the bridge area was heavily protected by enemy fighters. In spite of this the formation successfully delivered a dive bombing attack from the lowest practicable altitude and British fighters in the vicinity reported that the target was obscured by the bombs bursting on it and in its vicinity. Only one aircraft returned from this mission out of the five concerned. The pilot of this aircraft reports that in addition to the extremely heavy antiaircraft fire, through which our aircraft dived to attack the objective, they were also attacked by a large number of enemy fighters after they had released their bombs on the target. Much of the success of this vital operation must be attributed to the formation leader Flying Officer Garland, and to the coolness and resource of Sergeant Gray, who navigated Flying Officer Garland’s aircraft under most difficult conditions in such a manner that the whole formation was able successfully to attack the target in spite of subsequent heavy losses. Flying Officer Garland and Sergeant Gray unfortunately failed to return from the mission.”