I consider this fine book to be a deserved tribute to all recipients of the QGM. I commend it to all.
From the Foreword by Sir Ronnie Flanagan GBE, QPM
This profusely illustrated book of more than 800 pages, contains the fruits of a very great deal of research and should be of great interest to anyone interested in what motivates those of humankind who have deliberately placed their own lives in danger for the sake of others. The book covers the history and evolution of British official and unofficial gallantry awards, and then includes the citations for every award-to-date of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal together with other interesting material about the awardees, including their other medals and awards. Its Foreword is by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, and its appendices contain descriptions of some of the events that led to acts of bravery that were rewarded with QGMs.
In short a "must have" for the medal enthusiast and student of the better aspects of human nature. The author is to be congratulated on a most remarkable and valuable work.
Bernard de Neumann – Mathematician and expert in the history and awards of the Sea Gallantry Medal. (Amazon review)
Nick Metcalfe is a former career soldier who served for many years in Northern Ireland, won the Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM) in 1989 and has now written an exhaustive history of the award.
This is an interesting and valuable work. The QGM came into being in the mid- Seventies, as a third-tier award for bravery below the George Cross and George Medal.
It’s for civilians and military personnel ‘not directly in action with an enemy’, and is given ‘for exemplary bravery’. So far 1,044 men and women have won it. As Metcalfe’s researches show, for each there’s a story to tell.
The first QGMs went to a couple of helicopter pilots who rescued a man in stormy waters off the coast of Queensland. On the same day a security guard who tackled armed robbers in Enfield, North London, was honoured, as were three men who helped foil the attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne on The Mall in 1974. One was her chauffeur, who was shot in the chest; another was a journalist, who happened to be in a passing cab, stopped and intervened and was also shot in the chest.
In 1975, seven Queensland policemen rescued guests from a hotel fire in Brisbane. Each received the QGM. ‘When I was crawling in black, plastic-filled smoke, I genuinely thought I was going to die,’ says one. ‘Training did not take over because I’d had none — it was just the terrified calls for help that motivated me to carry on.’ No one died or was seriously injured.
Metcalfe includes several case studies taken from first-person testimonies which are as gripping as thrillers.
In 1979, two Navy divers aged 17 and 18 were honoured after helping to rescue the crew of a ship that had sunk in freezing, stormy seas near Port St Vincent. Their captain’s comment summed up the stiff-upper-lipness of the operation.
'People say you must all be very brave. Like most servicemen I shrug this off and say we had a job to do, you didn’t question it, you just did what you could and to the best of your ability.'
There are airline pilots who persuaded hijackers to surrender, members of the public who rescued people from fires.
Bomb disposal experts feature prominently, as does the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Eight QGMs went to people involved in the Piper Alpha oil platform disaster of 1988. Quite a few are still subject to the Official Secrets Act, and might yet be for a while.
A handful of posthumous recipients include PC Keith Blakelock, killed during the Broadwater Farm riot in 1985.
These tales of uncommon courage, of people who had to do what they did, are inspiring, and deserve a wider audience.
Marcus Berkmann – Daily Mail, 10 April 2014
This is a book for which I, and the other 39 QGM recipients have waited for since the last QGM was issued to an Australian in 1986, when the Australian system of honours and awards totally replaced imperial decorations. However, I never imagined that such a fine and authoritative work would one day be authored and published. This work is by far the most outstanding example of research and documentation in respect any imperial award I have come across in 40 years as a police officer, and a serving senior commissioned officer of the Royal Australian Air Force.
'For Exemplary Bravery' set the benchmark for all similar works; I would be surprised if that benchmark was ever reached, let alone surpassed. This is a book which every relevant military establishment should have in its library. The accounts of outstanding courage by both civilian and military personnel contained in this book (1000 or so) should be studied by all whom not only have an interest in decorations and awards, but by anyone in general who is interested in the under-reported, and little known qualities of ordinary citizens.
I will be donating a copy of 'For Exemplary Bravery' to the Australian Bravery Association, and would recommend that they make available a copy to Government House as a fitting tribute to Australian bravery before the introduction of our own awards.
David Hewett-Lacon QGM (Amazon review)
Like many (QGM) recipients I was delighted to be involved in this book and ultimately share my story. I must admit however I was somewhat reticent at first, believing that no one would find my story even remotely interesting. Nick’s persona and genuine belief in me, and every ‘contributor’, quickly enabled me to believe in him and his vision for this book. As the title suggests this book is a tour de force, and one that delivers on so many levels. Filled with striking accounts of courage and self sacrifice, it also serves a superb resource for any military historian or student on the subject.
M S Groves QGM (Amazon review)
It has always been difficult to access information on the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, in comparison with awards such as the George and Victoria Crosses. In the publication of this book, the author has corrected that, and then some! This is an enormous book, weighing about 3kg(!), of over 800 pages, and is excellent value for money. Far from being a ‘dry’ list of QGM recipients, this book has many photographs, both black and white and colour, and contains numerous interesting stories behind the award of this medal.
The book is a must for any recipient of the QGM, for which it will be a wonderful memento, for medal aficionado’s, and for anyone who has an interest in the many and varied stories that resulted in the award. The author is to be congratulated on the huge amount of work and research needed for a book of this magnitude, a book that should become a classic in its field.
S P Holmes QGM (Amazon review)
For Exemplary Bravery ISBN: 978-0957269514
Contact Nick Metcalfe