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1939 - 1945 India Service Medal: some questions

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Hello Everyone,

The 1939 - 1945 India Service medal, was it awarded to non-Indians? To English forces in India? Also, was someone who was awarded the Defence Medal eligible for this award? I have seen ribbon bars with both the Defence Medal and India Service Medal represented. Some of the literature I've read online is contradictory about this. I just bought a named example of the India Service Medal and am curious.

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Officially the answer is no, one can not qualify for both.

The reality,in my opinion, is that yes, it has happened and I have such an example of a group in my own collection.

Perhaps it is a matter of the recipient being awarded both more by official "accident" than anything. Maybe he was in both the UK and then in India though the war and was then awarded both.

Some, probably most, collectors would say this is impossible but oviously the groups exist.

I'm sure the debate will continue.



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Yes, very clearly it did happen, despite the regulations to the contrary which were, obviously, designed to prevent a recipient 'double dipping': being given two service awards for one period of service. Thta's to say, there was nothing wrong with earning a campaign star plus a War Medal plus a Canadian Voluntary Service Medal, for example, as in theory they recognize three separate things, but not overlapping service awards. However, as Brian says, many served in multiple theatres and errors would have been made and very very few would have made the Parasitical decision to 'send one back'. So, they are 'real' groups. I've even seen a group, many years ago, in which were two identical medals to the same man. I can only assume he got two or got one, lost it, got a replacement then found the original. Clearly, though, from the wear on the ribbons, he did wear both! And a suspect his mates at the Legion would have thought it a priceless joke on the base-wallahs at GHQ!

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The Indian medal system can produce many anomalies and while they shouldn't happen they do, for example I have a KSA, 1 clasp SA 1902to a recipient who was entitled to a QSA with the same clasp (obviously had a few spare KSAs knocking about). I also have a EVII Indian MSM awarded to a member of the state forces but awarded for the Great War and in the GOI of 1920 (he's only a country bumpkin, both kings have beards, he will be none the wiser). While there should not be a Defence medal with an Indian Service Medal (and this is where many of those who make up groups foul up). Whether due to incompetence or human error the combinations does occur albeit quite rarely. When looking at the Indian award system one should not confuse it with the British system where such errors very rarely if ever happened.


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