India General Service Medal (1936)

Era: 1936 - 39

The India General Service Medal (IGSM) was instituted on 3rd August, 1938 and was a campaign medal for officers and men of the British and Indian armies, authorised public, police and other civilian personnel who had full time active service employed in military operations in or around the frontier of India.  The IGSM 1936 replaced the IGSM 1908 award which used during the reigns of King Edward VII and King George V and had three different designs of obverse.

The 1936 IGSM was awarded for various minor military campaigns in India, during 1936 to 1939. Each action covered by the medal was represented by a clasp on the ribbon, the medal could not be awarded without a clasp.

There are two different striking’s to this medal, one from Calcutta which had a simple claw mount and the second minted in England that has artistic shoulders to the claw.  The India made medal is distinctly crude in finish and thicker than those struck by the Royal Mint.

Recipients of a Mention in Despatches were entitled to wear an oak leaf emblem on the ribbon.


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, grey flanked by narrow red stripes, with broad green stripes at the edges.

India General Service Medal (1936) ribbon
India General Service Medal (1936) ribbon

Suspension – By an ornamental suspender of the usual India Medal pattern.

Type – Campaign medal.

Eligibility – British and Indian forces, authorised public, police and other civilian personnel who had full time active service employed in military operations

Awarded for – Campaign Service.

Campaign – India 1936-39.

Established – 1938.

Designer – H. Wilson Parker.

Naming – In thin impressed block capitals.

Suspender - Ornate

Clasps – Two issued.

Description – The obverse of the IGSM 1936 is the crowned head of King George VI and the legend ‘GEORGIVS VI D: G: BR: OMN: REX ET INDIAE IMP.’  The reverse shows a tiger, with raised right front paw.  His head is turned back to the right and almost meets his long tail that is reaching out to the left as he is standing on a rocky ground.  The word ‘INDIA’ is written above the tiger.

Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s 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 closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order. 

North West Frontier 1936–37.

Awarded for service within the geographic limit between the dates 24th November, 1936 – 16th/17th January, 1937 and 16th/17th January, 1937 – 15th/16th December, 1937.  Officially defined via AO 168 of 1938.

North West Frontier 1937–39.

This bar was sanctioned by Army Order 217 of 1940 to be awarded for operations in Waziristan between midnight 15th/16th December, 1937 and midnight, 31st December, 1939/1st January, 1940.  Officially defined via AO 217 of 1940.


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