The George Cross was instituted in September 1940 to recognise civilian heroism. King George VI created the award for the men and women of the Commonwealth whose courage could not be marked by any other honour. It is second in importance only to the Victoria Cross.
A true hero
A true civilian hero worthy of the award is Tony Gledhill and we are deeply proud that he has signed our covers.
Tony was awarded the George Cross in 1967, following a violent brush with a car full of East End Gunmen the previous year. His story is the stuff of Hollywood action thrillers! "His story is the stuff of Hollywood action thrillers!"
Tony joined the police force when he turned 18. Little did he know that this was a decision that would shape the rest of his life.
He trained at Hendon, and soon was on the beat. It wasn't long before he was transferred to ‘P’ Division of the Metropolitan Police, against a backdrop of rising gun crime. Working from Lewisham Police Station, the scene was set.
The date, forever etched on his mind, was Thursday 12 August 1966. Reporting for early turn, everything seemed its normal self – though as ever the Police Officer could never be sure what was waiting round the corner!
Whilst on patrol in a Police car, Tony and his partner, Terry McFall, listened to a radio message from the control room. They heard details of a suspect car apparently containing armed men. With surprise, Tony and Terry realised that the car was just seconds away!
Armed gunmen or not, Tony and Terry were determined to find that car.
They spotted it. The car was indeed occupied by armed men, a gang of East End Gunmen. A mad chase began. Through the streets of south-east London - up one way streets the wrong way, against on-coming vehicles, through red-lights - with shots being fired at them the whole time, Tony and Terry hurtled after that car.