India General Service Medal (IGSM) (1909)

Era: 1908 - 1935

The Indian General Service Medal (1909 IGSM) was issued in both silver and bronze and approved on 1st January 1909 for various minor military campaigns in India, during 1908 to 1935 for officers and men of the British and Indian armies.

This medal was also the last medal awarded in the reign of King Edward VII. Only one bar was awarded during his reign. A total of 12 Clasps were issued to the IGSM.

Permission was given to recipients of a Mention in Despatches during any of the campaigns for which this medal was awarded after 11th August, 1920, to wear a bronze 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 - Green with a broad central dark blue stripe

India General Service Medal (1909) ribbon
India General Service Medal (1909) ribbon

Type - Campaign Medal

Eligibility - British and Indian Forces

Awarded for - Campaign Service

Campaign - India 1908–35.

Established - 1909

Designer – Richard Garbe

Naming – The naming methods vary, and so will be given for each bar

Suspender - Ornate

Clasps – 12 issued

Description: Silver or bronze disk, 36mm diameter. The obverse has 3 issues to the IGSM – 1st issue: shows the bust of King Edward VII in uniform and legend “EDWARDVS VII KAISAR-I-HIND.” 2nd issue: Shows the crowned bust of King George V in robes and legend “GEORGIVS V KAISAR-I-HIND.” *(This issue started with the medal given with the bar for ‘Abor 1911-12’) The final 3rd issue shows the crowned bust of King George V in robes with the legend “GEORGIVS.V.D.G.BRITT.OMN.REX.ET.INDIAE.IMP” (This issue started with the medal given with bar for ‘North West Frontier 1930-31’)

The IGSM reverse shows the fortress at Jumrud in the Khyber Pass eleven miles from Peshawur. Between the “V” formed by a tied branch of oak and laurel is a tablet on which is the word “INDIA.”

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 1908’ (Issued in bronze to native bearers)                     (14th Feb – 31st May, 1908)

This bar was awarded for service in the Mohmand Field Force, Bazaar Valley Field Force, and for service at Landi Kotal and North of Adinazai. (The naming is in running script)

‘Abor 1911–12’ (Issued in bronze to native bearers)                                       (6th Oct, 1911 – 20th Apr, 1912)

This was the first bar awarded with the second issue of the IGSM. Except for their British officers, this bar was only awarded to Indian Troops. The naming is in bold sloping script.

‘Afghanistan N.W.F. 1919’                                                                          (6th May – 8th Aug, 1919)

This bar was awarded for service in the Third Afghan War and naming is in thin impressed block capitals.

‘Mahsud 1919–20’                                                                                       (27th Nov, 1919 – 7th May, 1920)

This bar was sanctioned by Army Order No.361 of 1921 to all who served under Major-General A. Skeen and all those who served under the G.O.C. Waziristan Force on the Takki Zam Line. The naming was in thin block capitals.

‘Waziristan 1919–21’                                                                                    (6th May, 1919 – Jan, 1921)

This bar was awarded for punitive operations against the Wana Wazirs, Mahsuds and Tochi, who caused considerable havoc since the third Afghan War. The naming if the medal was in thin impressed block capitals.

‘Malabar 1921–22’                                                                                      (20th Aug, 1921 – 25th Feb, 1922)

This bar was awarded under Army Order 50 of 1924 to all those who took part in the suppression of the Moplah Rebellion in Malabar. The naming of the medal is in thin impressed block capitals.

‘Waziristan 1921–24’                                                                                   (21st Dec, 1921 – 31st March, 1924)

The bar was authorised under Army Order 177 of 1925 to all those who served in the North and South Waziristan, Bannu, the DeraIsmil Khan Civil Districts and parts of the Mianwali District. The naming of the medal is in thin impressed block capitals.

‘Waziristan 1925’                                                                                         (9th Mar, - 1st May, 1925)

The bar was awarded for service under Wing-Commander R.C. Pink C.B., against the Waziris. The medals are named in thin impressed block capitals with the recipients rank, number, name and followed by the letters “R.A.F.”

‘North West Frontier 1930–31’                                                                     (23rd Apr, 1930 – 22nd Mar, 1931)

This bar was awarded for the suppression of the Afridi and Red Shirt Rebellions. This was the first medal of the third issue (see description). The naming is in thin impressed block capitals.

‘Burma 1930–32’                                                                                         (22nd Dec, 1930 – 25th Mar, 1932)

Sanctioned under Army Order 94 of 1933 the bar was awarded to all who were despatched from India and served in Burma between 22nd December, 1930 and 25th March, 1932. The naming of the medal was in small block capitals                                                   

‘Mohmand 1933’                                                                                         (28th July – 3rd Oct, 1933)

This bar was awarded to those of the Mohmand Column under the Command of Brigadier C.J.E. Auchinleck D.S.O, O.B.E.  The naming of the medal is in small thin impressed block capitals.

‘North West Frontier 1935’                                                                         (12th Jan – 3rd Nov, 1935)

The bar was awarded for service in the North West frontier area during the Third Afghan War. The naming is in thin impressed block capitals.


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


Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’


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