Medal Rolls

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The medals article has details of medals awarded for various military campaigns. Most of the nominal medal rolls for these awards are at the British Library. Many of the rolls are reprinted in books on the open access shelves. Details of the India Office Records' reference numbers can be found at Your Archives - Medal Rolls in the India Office Library.

FIBIS resources

See also

The National Archives, Kew, England

Research Guides

WO 100 Medal Rolls

The National Archives records WO 100 Medal Rolls are available to download free of charge as pdfs. These records are available on the pay site Ancestry, (refer below) but those do not have access to Ancestry, (or if Ancestry has transcribed the name in the roll incorrectly, or omitted the record[1]), may find the downloads useful. They are large pdfs, which require a broadband connection . For full details refer the National Archives advice page Digital microfilm

The records are mainly in respect of British Army regiments, although there are some in respect of the Indian Army. Some medals do not appear to have rolls in the WO 100 records, and appear to be only available in the India Office records at the British Library, refer above.

The catalogue entry is WO 100 Campaign Medal and Award Rolls (General Series) The following subseries have been noted , following the order of the National Archive’s Discovery catalogue

WO 102 Medal Rolls

The majority of the National Archives records Long Service and Good Conduct Awards, Registers: WO 102 are available to download free of charge as pdfs. The records in WO 102/1-24 are available as downloads, while the records WO 102/25-35 have not been digitised. The records are Registers of candidates noted for, and recipients of, the Long Service and Good Conduct awards between 1831 and 1953. They are large pdfs, which require a broadband connection . For details about the connection, refer the National Archives advice page Digital microfilm

ADM 171 Naval Medal Rolls

The National Archives records ADM 171 Admiralty, and Ministry of Defence, Navy Department: Medal Rolls 1793-1995 are available to download free of charge as pdfs. These records are available on the pay site Ancestry, (refer below) but those do not have access to Ancestry may find the downloads useful. They are large pdfs which require a broadband connection. For full details refer the National Archives advice page Digital microfilm

  • These records include ADM 171/62 1915-1952. Naval General Service Medal: including clasp for Persian Gulf 1909-1914; clasp for Iraq 1919-1920; clasp for North West Persia 1920. The clasp for Persian Gulf is known to include Royal Indian Marine recipients.

First World War

Medal Index Cards

  • The National Archives research guide British Army medal index cards 1914-1920. Includes a Search facility, information about the medals and how to read the cards, and reference to the Indian Army Medal Index Cards, catalogue references WO 372/25 to WO 372/29, for the period to 31 December 1918. Note however, there are some Medal Index Cards relating to men in the Mesopotamian Railways, Indian Ordnance Department, Indian Mountain Artillery, and perhaps others, which are not specifically classified as Indian Army, and are catalogued outside this range.
  • Images of the medal index cards are also available on the commercial site Ancestry. The Ancestry database also includes the back of the cards which sometimes contain information. Additionally the Ancestry cards are in colour, which may be easier to read, whereas the National Archives images are in black and white. The Ancestry website advises some records including Indian Army cards are not included. However some Mesopotamian Railways, and perhaps other entries which are not classified Indian Army may be included on the Ancestry database.
Note. There are known to be some accidental omissions from the Ancestry database, including one large batch.[3]
Note
  • There are some Medal Index Cards for Indians belonging to the British Army. Lascars in the Royal Artillery (see Gun Lascar), and Inland Water Transport, Royal Engineers have been noted, together with some soldiers in Indian Artillery Mountain Batteries.
  • The Medal Index Cards appear to only contain some of the medal entitlements for soldiers, (both European and Indian), in the Indian Army. Some medals, such as the War Medal and the Victory Medal were issued by the Government of India.[4] Generally these are not included in the Medal Index Cards.

Medal Rolls

  • WO 329. The Medal Rolls for some records may contain information additional to that in the Medal Index Cards.
Catalogue reference: WO 329 War Office and Air Ministry: Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War includes a free download Index and Key to War of 1914-1918 medal rolls. This guide was written prior to the current catalogue, and the relationship between the original index references and the modern WO 329 are described here [5]
The medal rolls for the Indian Army in this series include British War Medal and Victory Medal: officers and other ranks WO 329/2384-2391, Officers WO 329/2303 - Described at item level, WO 329/2304,W0 329/2347-2352; 1914-15 Star: WO 329/2939 (part of) WO 329/2940, WO 329/2941; Territorial Force War Medal: Officers: WO 329/3272- Described at item level.
For soldiers who were in Volunteer regiments in India pre WW1, see Calcutta Volunteer Battery for more details of medals to this Battery which may be classified according to the original Volunteer regiment the soldier came from.
Note: The WO 329 medal rolls available at the National Archives appear to only contain some of the medal entitlements for soldiers in the Indian Army. It appears that some of the medals may have been issued in India but although the the British Library appears to have a medal roll for the 1914-1915 Star, it is unclear what rolls for other medals are available. Refer "British Library records" below.
The medal rolls are available on the pay site Ancestry. Transcription of some/all of the WO 329 medal rolls are available on the pay site "Naval and Military Archive". See External links below.

Details inscribed on the medals

The regimental particulars inscribed on British War and Victory Medals are those held on first disembarkation in a Theatre of War. The rank is highest attained provided it was held in a Theatre of War or overseas prior to 11-11-18.[6]

For First World War Medals, millions of which were issued, there was plenty of potential for errors in the inscriptions, given the many different clerical steps involved.[7]

Merchant seamen

Eligible Merchant seamen and officers were entitled to British War Medal and the Mercantile Marine Medal. There are Medal Index Cards available in the National Archives series BT 351/1/1, BT 351/1/2 and MT 9/1404. Refer Research Guides, above for a Search facility. Relevant records may be downloaded for a fee.

Members of the Indian Mercantile Marine were also eligible for the above medals[8], but it seems probable these medals were issued by the Government of India, and do not appear in the National Archives records.

British Library records

As stated above, many of the medal rolls are reprinted in books on the open access shelves at the British Library.

Note: Use the British Library Archives and Manuscripts Search if you cannot access the following links.

Catalogue references are

  • Medal Rolls IOR/L/MIL/5/42-141 1799-1911 with links to the sub categories. (These records are those covered in the "Your Archives" link above, but the catalogue references are given again, as the accompanying information may be slightly different)

Additional to the catalogue references for Medal Rolls IOR/L/MIL/5/42-141 the following list contains both medal roll catalogue references and some catalogue references which do not specifically mention rolls but which may possibly contain medal rolls, listed (approximately) according to date of the military action.

IOR/L/PS/20/H143 1917. Roll of rewards and promotions of officers and men of the Indian Army and departments, and of Royal Artillery and Royal Engineer officers and men attached to Indian units, serving in the undermentioned forces:- France (A) East Africa, including Cameroons (B) Mesopotamia (D) Egypt, including Sudan (E) Gallipoli, including Salonica (G) Indian Frontier Indian area, including Aden, Perim, Somaliland, Gulf of Oman, and China Up to and including "London Gazette" dated 11th May 1917 and "Indian Gazette" dated 3rd February 1917 [?London: India Office, 8th edn, 1917].
IOR/L/MIL/14/237-238. War Rewards to the Indian Army, 1915-1921. Printed roll of rewards and promotions appearing in the London Gazette and Gazette of India.
IOR/L/MIL/17/5/2416. List of awards granted to Indian officers, non-commissioned officers & men & followers of the Indian Army & Imperial Service Troops etc, in all theatres during the Great War. Simla: AG's Branch, 1923 (478 pages)
IOR/L/MIL/17/5/2417. List of honours awarded to the Indian Army August 1914 to August 1921. Calcutta: AG in India for Indian War Memorial Committee, 1931. This List is available online (note spelling in actual title is List of Honors), and was also the basis for a reprint edition, (with some amendments), refer below.

The Gazette of India, 1864-1947, and other Government Gazettes IOR/V/11 may be a possible source of information. For some online editions, see Gazette of India online.

Medal Rolls for Indian Native Troops

The information in respect of Medal Rolls IOR/L/MIL/5/42-141 1799-1911 states that the names of Indian recipients rarely appear (except, however, in L/MIL/5/87-103). These latter records are detailed Your Archives - Medal Rolls in the India Office Library, which also lists a few entries such as L/MIL/5/60 Nominal rolls of Indian Army native troops. 1870-1878.

The National Archives, Kew medal roll WO 100/99 China, refer above, contains some Indian Officers of the 24th Punjabis, and even some Indian soldiers.[9]

For details of some medals awarded to Indian troops in the Boer War, see External links below.

Publications containing Medal Rolls

  • Published works: British & Commonwealth Orders Decorations and Medals northeastmedals.co.uk
  • The Delhi Durbar 1903: A Complete Roll and Index of Recipients by Peter Duckers and Ian McInnes, was published in 2002
  • The Delhi Durbar Medal 1911 to the British Army compiled by Peter Duckers was published c 1999 and is available at the British Library
  • Honours and Awards Indian Army 1914 – 1921. Facsimile reprint JB Hayward & Son, London 1979 and 1986, (the latter is stated to include some amendments made by the publisher), originally published in 1931 in Calcutta as Roll of Honour Indian Army 1914-1921. The original publication is probably that available at the British Library under the title List of honors awarded to the Indian Army August 1914 to August 1921, published 1931. The latter 1931 publication is available online, refer Historical books online, below.
  • Reward of Valor: The Indian Order of Merit, 1914-1918 by Peter Duckers was published in 2004 (first published 1999). The 1999 edition is available at the Imperial War Museum, London. However, see P P Hypher's 1927 book available online below, which includes content relating to the Indian Order of Merit, 1860-1925.
  • The Indian Distinguished Service Medal by Rana Chhina. Details: Hardcover: 359 pages Publisher: InvictaIndia (2001) ISBN-10: 8187642009 ISBN-13: 978-8187642008 "The definitive study …which contains a detailed list of all those who were awarded the medal". [10] Available at the British Library.

Books currently available

Books currently available (November 2012) which have been noted:

External links

  • Kevin Asplin’s excellent British Medals Website contains transcriptions including the following Medal Rolls
  • The Fee Paying Website "Ancestry" (allows a free search) now hosts
    • UK, Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1949, based on the National Archives records WO 100 "This database contains lists of more than 2.3 million officers, enlisted personnel and other individuals entitled to medals and awards commemorating their service in campaigns and battles for the British Army between 1793 and 1949". Note there are some known omissions[1], or names may be transcribed incorrectly. Campaigns in India are included - but not WWI or WWII medal and award rolls. WWI medal information is available in the following collections.
    • British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 Based on records from the Army Medal Office WWI Medal Index Cards. "The Medal Index Cards collection is the most complete listing of individuals who fought in the British Army in WWI, containing approximately 90% of soldiers’ names". Note. It is advised "Indian Army cards are not presently included in this database". It is believe the excluded cards may be restricted to those in the National Archives record series WO 372/25 to WO 372/29, and that Medal Index Cards for a limited number of Indian Army personnel are available ion Ancestry. However, an overriding factor is that some/most Indian Army personnel are not included in the National Archives records. There are also some accidental omissions.
    • UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920. Based on the National Archives records WO 329. "The volumes in this series record the entitlement to medals and awards of men and women serving in some capacity during the First World War. Most pieces concern those serving in the Army". However there are other categories. Note: Silver War Badge records are in a separate dataset, following.
    • UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920 WO 329, 2958–3255. Awarded to military personnel who had been discharged because of wounds or illness. Available as both transcribed records and images. Also on Findmypast as transcribed records only.
    • UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Based on the National Archives records ADM 171. "The rolls include medals awarded for British campaigns and service in Europe, India, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere during the height of the British Empire and into the 20th century. This database also includes medal rolls from the First and Second World Wars".
    • See later entry for the London Gazette.
  • findmypast. Fee paying website.
    • "Silver War Badge Roll 1914-1920", located under Armed forces & conflict/First World War. Transcriptions only. Images are available on Ancestry.
    • "British Army, Indian Volunteer Force Medal Awards 1915-1939", located under Armed forces & conflict/ Medal rolls and honours.The information for each transcript was extracted from the Indian Army Orders by Kevin Asplin. Although titled British Army, these awards actually appear to be Indian Army.
    • See later entry for the London Gazette.
  • Anglo Boer War.com Select Forum- Main Forum- Medals and awards- Indian Contingent, for information about some of the Indian troops sent to South Africa, and the medals awarded.
  • Naval and Military Archive. A pay website associated with Naval and Military Press. Includes "Campaign Medal Rolls of the Great War", transcribed from National Archives Medal Rolls, for 1914 Star, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, Territorial Force War Medal 1914-19. Silver War Badge records are also available. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  • Medal Roll for India General Service Medal with clasps 1919-1935: RAF personnel. Surnames A-Brymer only. Includes the Squadrons present. html version pdf version naval-military-press.com. Retrieved 9 August 2014
  • The [London] Gazette Official Public Record for the U.K. Free Search for gallantry awards for both officers and other soldiers. Search tips: include full stops after initials, and if the name includes an apostrophe, follow this by a space. [11]
Some data from the London Gazette is available online elsewhere, where the Search facilities may be easier to use (Free Search, pay to view) :
Ancestry includes the database "The London Gazette (London, England), 1825-1962" (located under Newspapers & Periodicals), but notes there are random gaps in this collection.
findmypast includes the database "The London Gazette, Supplements August 1914 - January 1920" (Located under Armed forces & conflict/Medal rolls and honours), which also includes promotions and Battle Despatches

Historical books online

  • Deeds of Valour Performed by Indian Officers and Soldiers during the period from 1860 to 1925 by P P Hypher, Army Department 1927 printed at Simla, is available on the FIBIS database as a series of many pdf files to download. Depending on your browser, you may need to locate the files in your downloads folder. Contents: The Indian Order of Merit 1860-1913 pages 1-178; IOM 1914-1925 p 230-491; The Victoria Cross p 179; The Military Cross p 187; Foreign Decorations p 210. Includes details of the actions which led to the awards.
There is a previous book Deeds of Valour of the Indian Soldier which won the Indian Order of Merit, during the period from 1837 to 1859 by PP Hypher 1925 (of which only 500 copies were printed.[12]) Available at the British Library, BLL01012490851 and the National Army Museum.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 almaboy. Another Crimea medal roll check Victorian Wars Forum 08 December 2017. Retrieved 09 December 2017.
  2. Chapter Six, last page British Military Medals: A Guide for the Collector and Family Historian by Peter Duckers. 2nd edition 2013 Google Books
  3. MBrockway Ancestry MIC dataset - where have all the Beards gone?! Great War Forum 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  4. charlie962 MIC indian army Lt J F Petrie North Waziristan Militia Great War Forum 20 March 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  5. aussienoel WO 329 Medal Rolls - Index Download Great War Forum 6 August 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  6. Upton, Andrew. 2nd Liutenant C.F.Moore - which unit? Great War Forum 13 January 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  7. Russ T. Serial numbers on the Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Rolls not the sa… Great War Forum 04 July 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  8. The Mercantile Marine War Medal 1914 – 1918 defence.gov.au
  9. Cassandra. Indian troops in the Boxer Rebellion, 1900 Victorian Wars Forum 10 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  10. Moreman, Tim Indian DSM Great War Forum 12 February 2014 Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  11. Guest (previously Martin G) et al. London Gazette Black Belts Great War Forum 19 February 2016 et al. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  12. DNW auction 7 December 2005