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Gents

Has anyone seen, or does any know anything about this medal? It was passed it to me in a box of various collectables after the death of my Grandfather.

On one face it has 2 crossed rifles with the word "MARKSMAN", and on the other face it has a bugle & crown with the words "east indianrailway volunteers rifle corps".

size 26mm dia

No date given. I cannot see any other example on the internet. see photo.

Any help appreciated.

PS The other medal is a Queen Victoria Empress of India 1877 also 26mm

 

 

IMG_7629 copy.jpg

IMG_7630 copy.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by mark JW
grammar mistake

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Marksmanship competitions were evidently very common in the Imperial and Colonial military of the old British Empire.  Shown below is a "Marksman's Badge" and dated clasps awarded to an officer in the Colony of Natal's Border Mounted Rifles.  The ribbon of this example was suspended from a broach pin, and there is a second pin on the disc.  They would  have kept the ribbon and badge firmly attached to the wearer's chest when he lay in a prone position to fire his rifle.  The one you have shown may also have been attached to a ribbon.

Brett

BMR MARKSMAN'S BADGE 2.jpg

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Hi Brett, i'm guessing therefore that mine is from a one off markmanship competition. 

I'm not sure though if it is solid silver or not, and if indeed it has any collectable value. Like I mentioned above, I cannot find anything similar on the net.

mark

Edited by mark JW
Spelling mistake

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mark

I would collect marksmanship prizes if I could find them, but they are certainly not common where I live.  I suspect that these 'medals' are not as highly prized as war service and other military medals, so they end up in the melting pot.  The few that I have for the Border Mounted Rifles are hallmarked gold and silver, so they do have a commercial metal value, if not a collectable one.  Below are the other shooting prizes in my BMR collection.  They were awarded to a Major and a Sergeant.

Brett

 

GREER SHOOTING PRIZES.jpg

HAAJEM Shooting prizes 1.jpg

HAAJEM Shooting prizes 3.jpg

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That's a nice little collection of BMR medals and quite a niche market. I wish I had more info on the background of my own medals but my Grandfather is no longer here to tell the tales. 

Here is a pic of the Empress medal although I think it could be a later reproduction.

 

IMG_7631.JPG

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The Auxilliary Force India, of which the EIR Volunteers wre part, was a vast system of milita/territorials which took advantage of the hundreds of thousands of English subjects living on the sub-continent and, in a few cases, of Anglo-Indians.  Many of the unts existed for a century or more but many never saw war service and may not even have been called out to 'aid the civil power'.  A number were mobilized during the two World Wars but the various units also served a very important social function, bringing together Europeans, sometimes from scattered rural psotings to drill and socialize.  In fact, the Caalcutta Light Horse was notoriusly the 'Tight Horse' and membership in it seen by many  as a nice way to have the Government of India pay for one's polo pony!

The East India Railway Corps had several battalions at one point and are even mentioned by Rudyard Kipling in an article he wrote [http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/East_Indian_Railway_Regiment].  They recruited from the railway employees and so would have had Brits of several classes, I suspect, including managers and perhaps shop men, perhaps former British Army rankers.  Not sure whether or not they recruited Anglo-Indians but I suspect they may have, as the railways seem to have been one place many of them were employed.

All that said - 'Finally!' you gasp. - shooting competitions seem to have been a big part of the AFI, as in fact medals are not so uncommon, though I suspect that Brett is correct and that many have been melted down for their bullion value.  I recently saw another on a differen forum and a private medal to a member of an AFI unit who was, it is assumed, at the 1911 Delhu Durbar.  Many of the medals are quite attractive and generally very well made and might make a nice little collecting theme.

Thanks for sharing this one!

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The Railway regiments of the A.F.I. would have had Anglo-Indians.  As you say, they were one place that recruited heavily from this class.  A "Gunner Guard D'Souza" appears in another of Kipling's short stories. I saw a book called "The Proud and the Prejudiced" listed somewhere, which is a history of the Anglo-Indians.

Michael

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Interesting stuff and nice to learn a something about that era of British history. I have noticed during my investigations that there is little recorded history about these regiments, possible due to the amature nature of there being. 

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Further to my comment about shooting medals being melted down, there is a photo below of the medallic record of another Border Mounted Rifles marksman, who served with the regiment during the Boer War and was awarded the Queen's Medal with clasps that include 'Defence of Ladysmith'.  In 1902 he was a member of Natal's contingent in London to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII.   These celebrations included shooting competitions  held at Bisley, during which he won several prizes. He was also awarded the relevant Coronation Medal.  The latter medal and prize medallions are now missing.  While it has been possible to find a replacement for the Coronation Medal, which was issued unnamed, the Bisley prizes, and any others awarded locally, would have carried the man's name and so are irreplaceable.  Since the man fell on hard times after 1902, it is likely that they were sold for their gold and silver content..

Brett

 

HESLOP Medals.jpg

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<ark, as you say, most of the AFI units are poorly chronicled.  A few were mobilized in War Two for home defence and I suspect that they were robbed of their lower ranks asnd |NCOs for use as instructors in both wars - the officers would likley have been in war exempt occupations.

 A small group of the 'Tight Horse' actually carried out a private raid against a German ship in neutral Goa during WWII.  She was a source of supplies and information for German U boats and surface raiders in the Indian Ocean and a few men crossed the border, took her over and scuttled her.   "In 1978 James Leasor wrote an account of the Ehrenfels mission in the book Boarding Party: The Last Charge of the Calcutta Light Horse. The Hollywood film The Sea Wolves based on the book was made in 1980, with actors David Niven, Gregory Peck, Trevor Howard and Roger Moore."

Edited by peter monahan

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