In 1922, the original Medal of the Order of the British Empire was discontinued and replaced by two separate awards, the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry (EGM), and the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service, known as the British Empire Medal. The EGM had been ranked after the SGM, AM and EM on the Order of Wear but was superseded by the George Cross in 1940.
On 24 September 1940 King George VI created the George Cross, to rank immediately after the Victoria Cross, to recognize gallantry not in the presence of the enemy. The EGM ceased the same day. In April 1941, it was announced that, except for honorary recipients, all living recipients and the next-of-kin of those posthumously awarded the EGM after 3 September 1939, were to exchange their insignia for the George Cross. In 1971, all living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal were deemed George Cross holders but unlike EGM recipients the exchange of their original insignia for the George Cross was optional.
The original ribbon was plain purple, with the addition of a thin vertical red stripe for military awards. A silver laurel branch was added diagonally to the ribbon for both types of the award in 1933, and was worn on the ribbon bar when ribbons alone was worn. The ribbon changed to rose pink with pearl grey edges in July 1937, with an addition pearl grey vertical stripe for military awards, and stayed in this version until the medal’s revocation.
There were a total of 130 awards, including eight made posthumously:
Civil Division 64 (3 posthumous)
Military Division 62 (5 posthumous)
Honorary awards 4 (non-British citizens, 3 French and 1 Belgian)
The four honorary awards were not able to be exchanged for the George Cross. On 24 September 1940, 107 of the other 126 recipients were living and all exchanged awards. The next of kin of five deceased recipients, Herbert John (Bertie) Mahoney whose EGM award was gazetted on 23 December 1927 and the four Military Division posthumous awards gazetted after the start of World War II also exchanged awards.