India Service Medal


The Indian Service medal was sanctioned by the King in Parliament on the 6th June, 1946.  It was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth that replaced the 1908 awarded. The medal was given to personnel of the Indian Forces, for three years non-operational service in India or elsewhere between 3rd September, 1939 and 2nd December, 1945 (WWII).  This medal was not awarded to those recipients who qualified for the Defence Medal.  The India Service Medal was additional to the War Medal and Campaign Stars and takes precedence immediately after the War Medal.

There are two different striking’s of this medal, one being minted in England and the second minted in Calcutta, India.  The latter is slightly thicker and general finish is poor compared to the English version and that the Indian issue claw is plain where on the British striking it is ornate.

The following where eligible for this medal:

  1. British Officers resident in India, Viceroy Commissioned officers, British other ranks and Indian personnel of the Indian Army.
  2. Members of the Indian Territorial and Auxiliary Forces who were called up for service, Indian States Forces which embodied and the Indian Women’s Services.
  3. Non-combatants in military employment who performed duties with a military formation.
  4. British personnel who served with the Indian or British Armies providing that they resided in India prior to 3rd September, 1939.
  5. Europeans and Indians who resided in India prior to 3rd September, 1939, who served with the British Forces in India, or elsewhere, who were not eligible for the Defence Medal


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 – Stone coloured centre flanked by thin red stripes on each side and green edge’s 6mm wide. This is to represent the colours of the Order of the Star of India and the Order of the Indian Empire.

India Service Medal ribbon
India Service Medal ribbon

Type – Campaign medal.

Eligibility – Indian Forces.

Awarded for – Campaign service.

Campaign – Second World War 1939-45.

Established – 6th June, 1946.

Suspender – Straight (plain)

Clasps – None

Description – The Indian Service Medal is circular, cupro-nickel made and 36mm in Diameter.  The obverse of the medal is the same as that of the War Medal, thus showing the crowned head of King George VI and the legend ‘GEORGIVS VI D : G :BR : OMN : REX ET INDIAE IMP’. (George VI by the grace of God King of Great Britain and Emperor of India).  On the reverse it can be observed a relief of the India's map and the words "INDIA" and "1939-45"


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


Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’


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

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