Jump to content
News Ticker
  • I am now accepting the following payment methods: Card Payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal
  • Latest News

    Pre-1947 Indian Non-Gallantry Groups

    Recommended Posts

    just an aside...did you find anything on that Pir Baksh of the 5th Punjabi regiment???

    The one that Sam Moss asked you about...its coming to reside in my collection...Yay!

    No joy on this trip, sorry. But I haven't given up. Next time . . . .

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    • 5 weeks later...
    • Replies 92
    • Created
    • Last Reply

    Top Posters In This Topic

    One of the few things acquired in India this past summer:

    1- Title Badge, Rai Sahib, George VI - Baba Radha Raman Chatarji 14th June 1945 - have the recommendation - shall dig out and add

    2- King's Police Medal, George V (2nd Variety) - RADMA RAMAN CHATARJI, INSPECTOR, BENGAL POLICE.

    3- George V Jubilee - unnamed, but on roll

    Shall add more as I rummage through disorganised notes.

    Why is it that police groups, like Gorkha groups, seek me out???

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    • 3 weeks later...

    164 Sepoy Fazl Din, 33rd Punjab Infantry

    1- Second Afghan War, 1878-80 - Sepoy Fazl Din 21st Regt N. I.

    2- India General Service Medal, 1854-95 - WAZIRISTAN 1894-95 - 164 Sepoy Fazl Din 33d Bl Infy

    3- India Medal, 1895-1902, Victoria - PUNJAB FRONTIER 1897-98 - 164 Sepoy Fazl Din 33d Pjb Infy

    4- Indian Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, Victoria 1888 issue - 164 Sepoy Fazl Din 33d Bl Infy

    As a regiment, the 21st Bengal Infantry received no medals or clasps between 1869 and 1891, other than no clasp Afghanistan 1878 awards for service in the Kurram Field Force. From his name it is evident that Fazl Din was a Punjabi Musalman, and he would have transferred to the 33rd [Punjabi 'Mahomedan'] Regiment of Bengal Infantry in 1891. In accordance with orders received in January 1891, the 33rd Bengal Infantry was disbanded and then immediately re-raised with a substantially modified class structure- hence the transfer of Punjab Muslims from the 21st Bengal Infantry, including Fazl Din. The 33rd Bengal Infantry went on to serve with the Waziristan Field Force from November 1894 to March 1895 and then with the Tochi Field Force between June 1897 and March 1898, earning the 1854 and 1895 India General Service medals with appropriate clasps. It was not present in any other field operations until the Great War.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1341 Sepoy Chanda Singh, 34th Sikh Pioneers

    1- India Medal, 1895-1902, Victoria - RELIEF OF CHITRAL 1895 - 1341 Sepoy Chanda Singh 34th Bl. Infy.

    2- China War Medal 1900 - 1341 Sepoy Chanda Singh 34th Pjb Pioneers

    3- India General Service Medal, 1908-35, Edward VII - NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1908 - 1341 Sepoy Chanda Singh 34th Sikh Pioneers

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Sowar Hirah Singh, 13th Bengal Lancers

    1- Egypt Medal, 1882-89, dated 1882 - TEL-EL-KEBIR - Sowar Hirah Singh, 13th Bengal Lancers

    2- Egypt: Khedive's Campaign Star, 1882 - unnamed

    Egypt 1882, 11 July-23 September 1882; Tel-el-Kebir 13 September 1882.

    Served in the Indian Division (Maj-Gen Sir H. Macherson, VC, KCB) in the Cavalry Brigade (Brigadier H. C. Wilkinson) under Brevet Lt.-Col. W. H. Macnaghten.

    Embarked 6-15 August 1882 and arrived in Egypt 21August-10 September 1882.

    The 13th arrived early, before the 25th of August, concentrated at Ismailia by the 27th and advanced against opposition to Kassassin by the 30th. Before the battle, the 13th charged a vastly superior force of Egyptian horse and screened British forces. On the 13th scouted Egyptian positions at Tel-el-Kebir 7-12 September, when reports of this concentration were received.

    Battle at Tel-el-Kebir 13 September 1882 Indian cavalry sent to attack the western Egyptian column before the battle. In the battle, on the right wing, with Indian cavalry to the south of British units. The 13th attacked railway station at Zagazig and Belbeis and took the lead in advancing on Cairo after the battle.

    14 September 1882, Cairo captured. The regiment was stationed in Cairo on the 26th and participated in the ceremonies reinstalling the Khedive. At that time, the Duke of Connaught announced his intent to become Colonel-in-Chief.

    Left Egypt 5-27 October 1882 - KIA: 1 NCO, 1 man; died of disease: 1 man; wounded: 5 men; 28 horses lost on the outward voyage.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Private John Maxham, H. M. 40th Regiment

    Really a FRINGE item for me, but it was too nice to pass up.

    1- Candahar, Ghuznee, Cabul - Private John Maxham H. M. 40th Regt.

    2- Maharajpoor Star - Private John Maxham H. M. 40th Regt.

    A token European pair for my collection! Normally I do not bother with awards to natives (or the British Isles).

    "Paperwork" in hand. Full Diana Birch research job from the 1970s. :)

    In summary:

    Born Hansted, Suffolk, about 1807. A labourer, he enlisted in the 40th Regiment of Foot at Cochester on 21 November 1825, aged 18 years. He served nineteen years and 74 days, 16 8/12 years overseas:

    New South Wales and Van Diemen?s Land ? 1 year 11 months

    East Indies ? 10 years 10 months

    Scinde, Baluchistan, Afghanistan ? 3 years 11 months

    Shown as qualified for both medals. No courts martial and conduct shown as ?good?. Discharged 1 February 1845 on account of health, he signed with an ?X?.

    Now, someone find me a similar pair named to an Indian and we'll talk a trade . . . .

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Private John Maxham, H. M. 40th Regiment


    Born Hansted, Suffolk, about 1807. A labourer, he enlisted in the 40th Regiment of Foot at Cochester on 21 November 1825, aged 18 years. He served nineteen years and 74 days, 16 8/12 years overseas:

    Now, someone find me a similar pair named to an Indian and we'll talk a trade . . . .

    He was not home much back then. Keep em coming Ed :beer:

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Hello Ed,

    Superb wee groups! Thanks for showing us!

    Love the group to Sepoy Fazal Din....Wonderful! all Victorian! just magic!

    Also Love the Kabul to Khandahar pair! Am getting a pair with 3 bars to a Pte in the 92nd Highlanders soon! cannot wait!



    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    "New South Wales and Van Diemen?s Land ? 1 year 11 months "

    Gah! Be still my beating heart! :love: Truly beaut set there, will have to have a closer look on his units particular service down here. Probably guard duty and maybe a bit of 'pacification ' work.

    I may have to hold you to that trade. Eventually...


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    • 2 weeks later...

    Been around for a while, but only recently "dressed" and ready for public viewing:

    Resaldar-Major Malik Singh, Bahadur, 3rd Bengal Cavalry

    1- Order of British India, 2nd class - named as shown below.

    2- Second Afghan Wr, "KANDAHAR", "Ressr. Mullock Singh 3rd Bengal Cavy"

    3- Kabul to Kandahar Star - missing - anyone????

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Nice Ed :beer: Is that the attachment system on the rev of the star?

    The early OBIs and IOMs were made in a single piece, but they soon discovered that the high-domed enamel centres on the obverse cracked. The mint then started manufacturing these with a separate centre so it sould be screwed out and replaced if it was damaged. This is also the reason that early official naming of the IOM was stopped, to be replaced by occasional regimental naming. The 3rd Bengal Cavalry was very good in naming up the OBIs awarded to their VCOs, in pretty much the same style as Malik Singh's here.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    A part-original mounted group which I haven't had the heart to rip apart and remount.

    4648 Company Havildar Major Dina Nath, 2/17th Dogra Regiment

    1- IGS 08, GV, 2nd variety, "NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1930-31" -- "4648 SEP. DINA NATH, 2-17 DOGRA R."

    2- IGS 36, "NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1936-37" -- "4648 NAIK DINA NATH, 2-17 DOGRA R."

    3- 1939-45 Star -- "4648 CHM DINA NATH"

    4- Pacific Star -- "4648 CHM DINA NATH"

    5- Defence Medal -- "4648 CHM DINA NATH"

    6- WWII War Medal -- "4648 CHM DINA NATH"

    Need to check his POW status. Interestingly, no regiment on his WWII medals.

    Edited by Ed_Haynes
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Nice set of medals to a Dogra. I am reading a boig book by one of their officers, quite an interesting read!!!

    Thanks for showing. Wish I could find a supplier in India ;)

    I was asked why medals to natives generally sell for less compared to brit units and was it just snobbery? I think perhaps its because they are not so easy to research?

    Regards and best wishes

    Matt Gibbs

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I was asked why medals to natives generally sell for less compared to brit units and was it just snobbery? I think perhaps its because they are not so easy to research?

    By your reference to "natives", I shall assume you mean Indians (in the pre-1947 sense). Given the sense in which the word "native" was and is used, it is a grossly inappropriate word, similar to ni**er (which was and is also used to describe Indians). Unless of course, you intend it in its generic sense, as I do when I might refer to medals to natives (of the British Isles) being more (GENERALLY) expensive that those to Indians.

    Anyway, there are several issues:

    1- For enlisted men in the Indian Army medals have indeed been harder to research down to the individual level. Generally speaking, personnel records have been (and are still) retained by the regiments and/or battalions. The 1922 reorganizations brough havoc to record keeping as did the three-way partition of the Indian Army in 1947. While efforts are currently underway to preserve and centralise non-current or pre-1947 records that survive, there is also the concern that the release of any of these personnel records is in violation of Indian law. For enlisted men, research as to what the battalion was doing when the man was (presumably) with them is usually the best we can do. Regimental histories, usually written (pre-1947) by natives (of the British Isles), rarely make mention that anyone other that these selfsame natives served in the regiments; generally, the same is true for the war diaries, though there is more variability here. Research on VCOs is much easier, as they are listed in the army lists and a photo can usually be located; a lot can be done with a VCO's medal. Medals to European officers are the same as any other medals to natives (of the British Isles) and outside my concern.

    2- There is no one-stop-shopping for research. The relevant records are spread out among the National Archives of Britain (Kew, aka the PRO), the India Office Records (now in Thatcherised captivity at the British Library), the National Archives of India (New Delhi), the Indian Ministry of Defence Historical Section (strictly off-limits to normal humans), and the individual regiments. For regiments that went to Pakistan, no one has a clue, as many records have been lost and destroyed; the National Archives of Pakistan, while they are very nice folks, have NOTHING. Speaking of destruction, the Brits intentionally destroyed many records just before their departure in 1947 and military records were one of their special targets; when British officers weren't busy stealing the regimental silver, they were also holding bonfires of regimental records. Likewise, leaving historical records in working offices is always a bad idea, and India is no exception. Unfortunately, there is no enforced Indian law on regular and routine transfer of non-current records to the archives. This has left many valuable things in the hands of non-archivally trained bureaucrats (in or out of uniform), who see those old records as just so much junk. This, for example, led to the Indian equivalents of the British WWI MIC cards being pitched out by the MoD medal office in the late 1970s. Genealogy is not a well developed hobby in India (for better or worse) and we do need to remember that it is only the demands of genealogists (we simply don't count) that have led to the preservation of so many records relevant to our general concerns in the UK. Efforts are underway to centralise a lot of surviving Indian records in the new Center for Armed Forces Historical Research (at the USI India in New Delhi), but there's a long way to go and what's gone is gone.

    3- While I am not sure that much meaningful research can be done on the Internet, less is available for Indians than for Brits.

    4- There is a perception, among ethnically British collectors of "British" medals that medals to Indians (or whatever ugly word they choose) cannot be researched. This has been said over and over so many times than many have come to believe it as a matter of dogma.

    5- These days, most nice medals/groups don't make it out of India, as there are several very good and very sophisticated Indian collectors there who snag them. This, combined with the breaking up of a few classic collections from the 1950s and 1960s has driven up prices of Indian medals to where they are actually selling above MYB prices.

    6- Speaking of the MYB, that insidious thing is everywhere. I have been shown it by village silver dealers who didn't know English, but could see the picture and read the price in pounds and convert to rupees and ask that for any medal they had in stock. Ignoring whether MYB prices and information are fantasy, the cursed book is omnipresent.

    7- There is tremendous (and intentional?) ignorance about medals to Indians. The current BB&M edition is filled with so many errors that no one quite knows where to begin, though at least they removed some of Major Gordan's jovial racism that had been carried over from the earlier editions. There are hopes that the new edition will be better. Collective discussions are underway on doing an Indo-centric parallel book that focuses on the Indian military and mentioning in an "oh, by the way" fashion that some natives (of the British Isles) tagged along on things like the Chitral expedition.

    8- Important, maybe the most important, is simple racism. Because these medals are not to Europeans, to "natives" (in your original usage), they are denigrated, as non-Europeans were (and still are?) denigrated. In the 1970s, a major London-based medal firm described their small and vocally resented stock of medals to Indians as their "nig**r drawer"; they still use that term today (or at least they did last summer). Until very recently, most UK-based medal dealers and auction houses could not be bothered to stock medals to Indians, dismissing them (the medals or the men?) as "bazzar trash". A few UK dealers and one major auction house have challenged this assumption and done very well from doing so, but old attitudes die hard, and phaleristics is no exception to society at large.

    As I said above, prices of medals to Indians have been rising and, in many cases, now exceed the corresponding medal to a European. Those of us who collect medals to Indians suffer from this and, at times, wish we could go back to the "bad old days" when one could but this "garbage" at kilogram prices. In those bad old days, in the mid-1970, I went into one silver dealer's shop in Rajasthan and asked if the owner had any medals. His response: "Kitne kilo chaiye?" "How many kilos do you want?" Despite what some think, those days are gone, in many ways (the same dealer now has acopy of the MYB), and one only needs to look at Phil Burman's lists or a recent DNW auction catalogue to see otherwise.

    Hope this overly long note is of interest to someone.

    Edited by Ed_Haynes
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Sorry: Medal Year Book published annually by Token Publishers (the same folks who do Medal News), essentially a price guide with "information" appended.


    Many many years ago (when Michael Johnson and I were founding the "Indian Military Collectors Society, which still exists, I believe) I had a brief correspondence with an American gentleman. He was then stationed in Rome with the US Foreign Service (wring term?) but had been in Pakistan for some years.

    He recounted how his first trip to the Peshwar and Rawalpindi bazzars produced "Indian medals" by the kilo many of which, he said, were being busily converted into "ankle bracelets for dancing girls" :( (never forgot the phrase). However, on his next visit, a decade later, after being re-posted, he said that he asked a very small trader the price of a medal and had the man whip out a Sotheby's "Prices Realized" from under the rug which was his shop!

    The details may be apocryphal but not, I suspect, the general truth. I know that here in Ontario at least, over the last decade or so practically every item of militaria or medals I see in a flea market or generalist antique store is overpriced. The dealers have apparently decided that "miltary = rare = expensive" and without bothering to check have slapped ludicrous prices on most everything. A case of ignorance on the buyers part NOT helping the informed buyer! :(


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

    • Create New...

    Important Information

    We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.