The aerial bombing of centres of civilian population in Britain early in WWII gave rise to numerous acts of the most conspicuous bravery. In response, King George VI instituted a major decoration in 1940 for which civilians and members of the armed forces are eligible. The George Cross ranks immediately after the VICTORIA CROSS in the scale of Commonwealth HONOURS. Recipients have included 8 Canadians and one non-Canadian serving in a Canadian military unit. The decoration is in the form of a plain silver cross with, at its centre, a representation of St George slaying the dragon encircled by the words "For Gallantry." The ribbon is "garter" blue.