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Ed_Haynes

Indian ArmyRecruiting Badge for WWI

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Numbered "531" on reverse. Awarded to 16026 Quartermaster Havildar Phuman Singh, Central Drivers' Depot, Poona.

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What a splendid looking ?numbers signed up? reward.

Was that what this was given for? Were there different classes for higher or lower numbers of recruits?

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Quoted from http://sagongs.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=493 :

Established to reward service in recruiting for WWI. It was allocated to provinces and other administrative units based on the number of recruits sent forward from that province. The badges were distributed at the rate of one badge for every 1100 recruits. It was left entirely to the individual provincial governments to determine who would get the badges, and the provinces were simply given their quota.

There were two "waves" of issues, one covering recruiting prior to 1 June 1918, and the second covering late war recruiting from 1 June 1918 to 30 November 1918 (and distribution was stopped after this latter date). Combining the two generations, total issues were:

Madras -- 86

Bombay -- 66

Bengal -- 55

United Provinces -- 264

Punjab -- 411

NWFP -- 43

Burma -- 17

Bihar & Orissa -- 39

Central Provinces -- 12

Assam -- 15

Ajmer-Merwara -- 9

Hyderabad -- 11

Mysore -- 3

Coorg -- 1

Kashmir -- 25

Central India Agency -- 6

Rajputana -- 44

Sikkim -- 1

Baluchistan -- 2

Nepal -- 52 (only awarded 10, others returned)

An ambiguity is raised when we ask whether these 1120 badges the only ones issued? Are "military" awards subsumed within these "provincial" awards? Frankly, I think so, that these were in fact the only badges issued, but the records are vague and confusing on this question.

Interestingly, we can use these numbers to "read backwards" and obtain another accounting of the numbers of recruits from each administartive unit, suggesting, for example, around 12,100 recruits from Hyderabad.

Rolls were prepared (in triplicate) to be sent from each provincial administration to the central givernment, showing which badge, by number, was awarded to which individual. To date, none of these rolls have been traced (though I keep trying!). Some badges to serving military, however, were reported by number in Indian Army Orders and can be traced through that approach. This is how I know that the badge illustrated here, #531, was awarded to 16026 Quartermaster Havildar Phuman Singh, Central Drivers' Depot, Poona.

The badge was worn around the neck from an 18-inch dark green ribbon. While it was supposed to have been worn only at durbars, photos show it being much more widely worn.

Sources: Foreign and Political Department Proceedings, Int. B, Dec. 1919, 205-244.

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To add, from the same off-site thread referenced above:

OK, I have answered part of my own question--

Military Secretary to GoI to the Adjutant General, 28 October 1918, Army "B" Proceedings, February 1919, 311A-331 and appendices:

750 Recruiting Badges available for issue by the Army:

12 for each division

3 for each brigade

2 per cavalry regiment

22 for artillery

21 for sappers and miners

2 for machine gun corps

3 (sometimes 2) per infantry regiment

5 for gurkhas

15 for the adjutant general

20 for the quartermaster general for the muleteers

Also an additional issue of 113 badges for the States:

Nepal 47 (also refused?)

Rajputana 29

Kashmir 20

Hyderabad 7

Musore 3

Central India 3

Baluchistan 2

Sikkim 1

Coorg 1

So . . . this gets us up close to 1983 badges?

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So what legal status were these given, then? Official government ISSUE/sanction (presuming Royal consent?), or "local" souvenir type badges?

At least I know now why I've never seen one before! :cheers:

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Official, for sure. But not allowed to be worn in uniform on normal "service" occasions, only at "durbar" -- much like title badges (q.v.) -- but in practice worn much more widely.

See, for example, this Maratha (?) VCO worthy, examining (gawking at?) his newly awarded 1937 Coronation Medal. If he could wear it to the King-Emperor's coronation, then, well . . . ?!

(To post this, I have had to reduce, and reduce, and reduce the size so I cannot guarantee what it will look like. Size limitations are MADDENING! THIS IS INSANE!!)

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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These are indeed splendid rewards. Unlike the GVI variant, the GV awards are very seldom seen, and it's one of the few awards that I have not actually encountered.

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Ed,

Here is the one I have in my collection. A couple of questions if you don't mind.

1) Is there any significance between the green ribbon on yours and the purple mine has?

2) Is the number on mine (599) traceable at all?

Thank you,

Garth

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Nice one, Garth. They are getting fairly uncommon, especially in good condition.

Will see what I can find on the award. These can sometimes be traced, but it requires going through Army Orders. A real nightmate.

Ribbon? The dark green on mine is correct, yours is on what was probably OBI ribbon.

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