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India Medal (1895-1902): CM.1412-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: London
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Artist: Saulles, George W. de
Ruler: Victoria regina et imperatrix (With the title of)




By 1895 it was beginning to be considered that the 23 bars issued to the India General Service Medal implied a need for its replacement, and in 1896 the new India Medal was first issued.
The North-West Frontier between British India and Afghanistan was a source of political tension for the length of the nineteenth century and beyond, as the precarious Imperial accommodations with local tribes required continual maintenance. In 1893 an agreement between the British in India and the rulers of Afghanistan instituted the Durand Line as a working frontier. This left many Pashtun tribal groups on the now-British side of the border, and the British found themselves unable to enforce any control over these unruly new subjects. In 1897 several parts of the Frontier rose in rebellion at once, all seeing an opportunity in a Pashtun rising which began the fighting.
This left many British garrisons isolated and defending themselves against heavy odds. No more desperate resistance can there have been than that of a 50-man Sikh garrison under one Indian officer who attempted to hold the signal post of Saragarhi against several thousand Orakazai and Afridi attackers. All were killed and their memory has now become legend, but for those who survived at other stations beyond the fort of Kohat during the attacks of August to October 1897 the bar for Samana 1897 was issued. The defenders of the fort of Shakbadar at the beginning of this period, the members of the Mohmand Field Force, which operated against the eponymous tribe from September to October 1897, and the Tirah Expeditionary Force which operated in that area of the frontier from October 1897 to April 1898, when a ceasefire was finally agreed, were instead awarded the bar for Punjab Frontier 1897-98.
This medal was awarded to Private M. Sullivan of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment. This unit was not part of either the Mohmand or the Tirah expeditions, which suggests that Sullivan fought in the defence of Shakbadar and was then moved out to a still-more-isolated garrison whose defence qualified him for the Samana bar. Lester Watson acquired the medal at some point before 1928.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, acquired before 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.2 mm
Weight: 53.51 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


1896 - 1902

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left with veil

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: British and Indian soldiers together holding a standard

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1412-2009
Primary reference Number: 141506
Watson Catalogue: 324
Ordering: M-0295
Previous object number: LW.0295
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 22 January 2022 Last processed: Sunday 23 January 2022

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "India Medal (1895-1902)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-02 12:45:48

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