Army of India Medal

Era: 1799 - 1826

The Army of India Medal (AIM) was a campaign medal approved on 21st March, 1851 for issue to officers and men of the British Army and Honourable East India Company. The award was given retrospectively by the East India Company to survivors of various actions during the period 1799 to 1826. This period incorporated four wars: the Second Mahratta War (1803-4), the Gurkha War (1814-16), the Pindaree or Third Mahratta War (1817-18) and the First Burmese War (1824-26).  Each battle or action covered by the medal was represented by a clasp on the ribbon; twenty-one were sanctioned (although the maximum awarded to one man was seven).  The medal was never issued without a clasp. The medal was only awarded to survivors and, as such, there are substantially fewer medals issued when compared with the number of men who served during this period. This was largely due to the extreme lapse of time between the wars commemorated and the issue of the medal—forty-eight years had passed between the first battle commemorated —Allighur in 1803—and the date of issue, 1851. Some 4,500 medals were awarded in total—most with only a single clasp. It must be noted that the order of the clasps is different from most medals in that the last award is placed nearest the piece – i.e. the correct order reads downwards.

This medal followed on from the precedent set by the Naval General Service Medal and the Military General Service Medal, as retrospective awards for past campaign service.

Description:

Materials:      The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:         Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Ribbon – 32mm pale/light blue

Army of India Medal ribbon
Army of India Medal ribbon

Type - Campaign Medal.

Eligibility – British and Honourable East Indian Company forces.

Awarded for – Campaign Service

Campaign – India 1803 – 26

Suspender – Ornate swivelling suspender

Designer – W. Wyon, R.A.

Total Awarded – 4,500

Description – silver disk, 36mm diameter, the obverse show the diademed head of Queen Victoria with the Legend ‘VICTORIA REGINA.’  On the reverse side of the medal bears the seated figure of Victoria holding a laurel branch in her right hand and a wreath in her left. In the foreground are a lotus flower and a palm tree and trophy of arms in the background. Above is the inscription ‘TO THE ARMY OF INDIA.’ In the exergue are the dates ‘1799 – 1826.’

Clasps:

Clasps are commonly, though not strictly correctly, also referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating service in a particular campaign or battle.  The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned.  Usually the first earned Clasp is borne nearest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, though they can be found in the wrong order.  

The following clasps were issued with the medal:

  • Allighur
  • Battle of Delhi
  • Assaye
  • Asseerghur
  • Laswarree
  • Argaum
  • Gawilghur
  • Defence of Delhi
  • Battle of Deig
  • Capture of Deig
  • Nepaul
  • Khadki
  • Poona
  • Khadki and Poona
  • Seetabuldee
  • Nagpore
  • Seetabuldee and Nagpore
  • Maheidpoor
  • Corygaum
  • Ava
  • Bhurtpoor

 

This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals

Sources:

Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Army_of_India_Medal >

Which are released under the terms of

Creativecommons.org/licenses/by-s/3.0/.

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