15 March 2010

India Medal

An Army Order of 1st April 1896 authorised the India Medal and two clasps for the Defence of Chitral 1895 and the Relief of Chitral 1895.

Awarded to all those who took part in North-West Frontier operations between 1895 and 1902.

There were two issues of this medal, one depicting the head of Queen Victoria, and the other depicting the bust of King Edward VII. Both medals were silver, 36mm diameter, although the Edward version has a thinner gauge.

1. Queen Victoria (first issue)
The obverse depicts the crowned and veiled head of Queen Victoria and the legend, VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX. The reverse portrays a British soldier on the left and a Punjabi warrior on the right, both men supporting the same standard. The word INDIA appears on the left, and the date 1895 on the right. Thomas Brock (1847-1922) designed the obverse and George William de Saulles (1862-1903), the reverse.

2. King Edward VII (second issue)
The obverse depicts the bust of King Edward VII in Field Marshall's uniform and the legend, EDWARDVS VII REX IMPERATOR. The reverse is the same as above but with the date omitted. Both the obverse and reverse of the second issue were designed by George William de Saulles.

The medal could be issued in silver or bronze.

A floreated swivelling suspension.

32mm wide; crimson with two dark green stripes down the centre.

Generally in running script. However, medals with the Punjab Frontier clasp or Tirah clasp awarded to the Highland Light Infantry are named in block capitals.

Seven clasps were issued for this medal, as follows:

1. Defence of Chitral 1895
Awarded for the Defence of the Indian state of Chitral on the North West Frontier between 3rd March and 19th April 1895 (above).

2. Relief of Chitral 1895
Awarded for the Relief of Chitral on between 7th March and 15th August 1895.

3. Punjab Frontier 1897-98
Awarded for actions between 10th June 1897 and 6th April 1898. The clasp was authorised in June 1898.

4. Malakand 1897
Awarded for to those who took part in the defence and relief of Chakdara and Malakand between 26th July and 2nd August 1897.

5. Samana 1897
Awarded to the garrisons beyond Kohat for the part they played between 2nd August and 2nd October 1897. This clasp, authorised in June 1898, is always paired with at least one other clasp.

6. Tirah 1897-98
This clasp, authorised in June 1898, was awarded to the Tirah Expeditionary Force for the role it played between 2nd October 1897 and 6th April 1898. Like the Samana 1897 clasp, the Tirah clasp was never awarded singly.

7. Waziristan 1901-2
This bar was awarded to those who were engaged in the Mahsud and Waziri districts between 23rd November 1801 and 10th March 1902. It was authorised in March 1903. All single clasp Waziristan 1901-2 medals were issued with the Edward VII medal version (above).

The photographs are courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb, whilst British Battles and Medals has, as always, proven invaluable in compiling the information.

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