Indian Order of Merit

The Indian Order of Merit (IOM) was a military and civilian decoration of British India. It was established in 1837, (General Order of the Governor-General of India, No. 94 of 1 May 1837)[1] although following the Partition of India in 1947 it was decided to discontinue the award and in 1954 a separate Indian honours system was developed, to act retrospectively to 1947. For a long period of time the IOM was the highest decoration that a native member of the British Indian Army could receive and initially it had three divisions. This was changed in 1911 when Indian servicemen became eligible for the Victoria Cross. A civilian division of the IOM also existed between 1902 and 1939, however, it was only conferred very rarely.

Indian Order of Merit
Indian Order of Merit 1944

Lint Indische Orde van Verdienste Indian Order of Merit
Indian Order of Merit (2nd Class, Military Division) (top)
Ribbon (bottom)
Awarded by British Empire
TypeMilitary decoration
Established1837
EligibilityIndian citizens in the armed forces and civilians (civilian division)
Awarded forGallantry
StatusDiscontinued in 1947
Post-nominalsIOM
Precedence
Next (higher)Victoria Cross
Indian Order of Merit 1918
Indian Order of Merit, First Second and Third Classes

History

The medal was first introduced by the East India Company in 1837, under the name "Order of Merit" and was taken over by the Crown in 1858, following the India's First War of Independence. The name of the medal was changed in 1902 to avoid confusion with a British Order of the same name.[2] The Indian Order of Merit was the only gallantry medal available to Native soldiers between 1837 and 1907 when the Indian Distinguished Service Medal was introduced, and when the Victoria Cross was opened to native soldiers in 1911. Both divisions of the order were removed when India became independent in 1947. Recipients receive the post nominal letters IOM.

The original object was to "afford personal reward for personal bravery without reference to any claims founded on mere length of service and general good conduct"[1]

The medal

Military Division

The medal was originally introduced with three classes (first, second and third classes), until others medals were made available to Indian soldiers, at which point it was reduced to two classes (the Victoria Cross replacing the first class), and reduced to one class in 1944. A recipient technically needed to be in possession of the lower class before being awarded a higher class, although recipients were sometimes awarded the higher class if they performed more than one act of gallantry, then they may have been awarded the higher class, without receiving the lower one. The recipients of the order received increased pay and pension allowances and were very highly regarded.[1]

Civil Division

A civil division was available in two classes between 1902 and 1939, when it was reduced to one class. The civil medal was rarely awarded.

Description

Third Class

Eight pointed dull silver star with blue circle, surrounded by silver laurels, in the middle, with crossed swords and the words Awarded for Valour, this was changed to Awarded for Gallantry in 1944.

Conspicuous act of individual gallantry on the part of any Native Officers or Soldiers, in the Field or in the attack or defence of a Fortified place, without distinction of rank or grade.[1]

Second Class

Eight pointed shiny silver star with blue circle, surrounded by gold laurels in the middle, with crossed swords and the words Awarded for Valour, this was changed to Awarded for Gallantry in 1944.

To be obtained by those who already possess the third and for similar services.[1]

First Class

Eight pointed gold star with blue circle, surrounded by gold laurels in the middle, with crossed swords and the words Awarded for Valour, this was changed to Awarded for Gallantry in 1944.

To be obtained in like manner only by those who possess the third and second classes.[1]

Ribbon

Dark Blue ribbon flanked by two red stripes of about a sixth of the width.[1]

Notable recipients

  • Subedar Mir Dast VC, IOM
  • Major P. Sampangiraj IOM,IDSM,PVSM,YSM,MSM
  • Subedar Kishanbir Nagarkoti, IOM 5 Goorkha Regiment (Rifles) Only person to have been awarded the IOM four times and hence awarded a gold clasp as recognition.
  • Maharajadhiraja Bahadur Sir Bijay Chand Mahtab GCIE, KCSI, IOM
  • Sowar A.L. Dafadar Udey Singh, 1726 was awarded Indian Order of Merit for his gallant action and playing important role in pushing the enemy forces back during his time in France during World War I.[3]
  • All 21 soldiers of the detachment of 36th Sikhs British Indian Army which fought to the death against overwhelming numbers at the Battle of Saragarhi in 1897. [4] [5]
  • Havildar Karbir Pun was awarded the Indian Order of Merit for his joint actions along with John Duncan Grant who was awarded the Victoria Cross along with other members of the 8th Gurkha Rifles on July 6th, 1904 at the attack at Gyantse Dzong, Tibet as a part of the British invasion of Tibet with Colonel Younghusband[6]
  • Havildar Nur Khan, IOM, I.D.S.M., Regt No-13535, 3/2 Punjab Regiment, for planning and implementing and escape plan from Nazi Pow camp at Tobruk, Libya [1][7]
  • Subadar-Major and Hon. Captain[8] Bisesar (alternatively spelt Bissesar[9]) Tewari, Surdar Bahadur, the senior Indian officer of the 1st Brahmans regiment from 1909 to 1914. As a sepoy (private) in 1886, he was awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM), 2nd Class for his bravery in the 3rd Burma War (1885): 'in charging the enemy's position, when suffering from a severe wound in the neck, and remaining in action during the whole day.'[9]
  • Subedar Major (Hon Capt) Sardar Bahadur Muhammad Ismail, IOM 2nd Class 1897- OBI 2nd Class 1909-OBI 1st Class 1917 - 32nd Mountain Battery British India Army[10]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Calcutta Monthly Journal and General Register 1837". p. 60.
  2. ^ "Indian Order of Merit Badge of the 1st Class Military Division, 1837-1912". National Army Museum.
  3. ^ https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29886/supplement/55/data.pdf
  4. ^ "No. 26937". The London Gazette. 11 February 1898. p. 863.
  5. ^ Regimental numbers from photo of Saragarhi memorial plaque
  6. ^ "The London Gazette: Official Public Record "War Office, January 24, 1905"". The London Gazette: Official Public Record. 24 January 1904. Retrieved 13 August 2017. "The KING has been graciously pleased to signify His intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross upon the undermentioned officer, whose claims have been submitted for His Majasty's approval, for his conspicuous bravery in Thibet, as stated against his name...
  7. ^ No.113-H dated 10th July 1941.
  8. ^ "(1019) - Army lists > 1914-1940 - Monthly army lists > 1914-1918 > November 1914 British Military lists". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Online Collection | National Army Museum, London". collection.nam.ac.uk. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  10. ^ GGO/L/Mil/17/2-L/Mil/17/5] & The History of Indian Artillery by Brig Gen Graham.

Further reading

  • Duckers, Peter (2009) [2004]. British Orders and Decorations. Oxford: Shire Publications. ISBN 978-0-7478-0580-9. OCLC 55587484.
  • C Parrett & Rana Chhina (2010). "Indian Order of Merit: Historical Records, 1837-1860" Vol I. Tom Donovan Editions, Brighton, UK.. Further volumes of this comprehensive work are in the process of compilation and will bring the records up to 1947, ultimately.

External links

1915 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1915 were appointments by King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by members of the British Empire. They were announced on 1 January 1915.

2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse)

The 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse) is one of the oldest and most highly decorated armoured regiments of the Indian Army. It was originally raised in 1809. It served in the Nepal and First World War. During the reconstruction of the British Indian Army in 1922 it was amalgamated with the 4th Cavalry

Bakshi Tirath Ram Vaid

Sardar Bahadur Risaldar Major and Honorary Captain Bakshi Tirath Ram Vaid, (1857–1924), also known as Tirath Ram, was a decorated soldier of the British Indian Army.

Vaid enlisted in the ranks of the Queen's Own Corps of Guides on 1 May 1876.As a ressaidar with the Queen's Own Corps of Guides cavalry, Vaid was awarded the Indian Order of Merit, Third Class for gallantry displayed at the Siege of Malakand in 1897, where he fought against a much larger force of Afghan tribesmen. He was also rewarded with large tracts of agricultural land in District Lyallpur for his contributions.Vaid was decorated with the Order of British India, Second Class, with the title of Bahadur on 24 September 1904. He retired from the Indian Army and was appointed honorary captain on 1 February 1909.Vaid was elected president of All India Mohyal Conference of 1919, held in Rawalpindi.

Bengal Engineer Group

The Bengal Engineer Group (BEG) or the Bengal Sappers or Bengal Engineers as they are informally known, are remnants of British Indian Army's Bengal Army of the Bengal Presidency in British India; now a regiment of the Corps of Engineers in the Indian Army. The Bengal Sappers have their regimental centre at Roorkee Cantonment in Roorkee city, Uttarakhand. The Bengal Sappers are one of the few remaining regiments of the erstwhile Bengal Presidency Army and survived the Rebellion of 1857 due to their sterling work in the recapture of Delhi and other operations in 1857–58. The troops of the Bengal Sappers have been a familiar sight for over 200 years in the battlefields of British India with their never-say-die attitude of Chak De and brandishing their favourite tool the hamber.Over the years the Bengal Sappers have won many battle and theatre honours, 11 Victoria Cross, 116 Indian Order of Merit, 17 Shaurya Chakra, 93 Sena Medals and 11 Arjun Awards, the highest number of won by any single organization in the country. Lt Gen Joginder Singh Dhillon, commissioned into Bengal Engineer Group in 1936, who commanded the First Republic Day Parade in Delhi, became the first Army Officer to be awarded the Padma Bhushan, in November 1965. Among the three Sappers of Indian Army, Bengal Sappers was the first Engineer Group to receive the 'President Colours' in recognition of its service to the nation, on 12 January 1989, by R Venkataraman, the then President of India, who presented the Regimental Colours to Bengal Engineer Group at Roorkee.Besides service on the battlefield, the Bengal Engineers also rendered valuable peacetime contributions. The military engineer, Lt. James Agg, designed St John's Church in Calcutta. It was based on James Gibbs's St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and was consecrated in 1787.

Bijay Chand Mahtab

Maharajadhiraja Bahadur Sir Bijay Chand Mahtab, (19 October 1881 – 29 August 1941) was the ruler of Burdwan Estate, Bengal in British India from 1887 till his death in 1941.

Ganda Singh Datt

Sardar Bahadur Risaldar Major Ganda Singh Datt, (1830 – July 1903) was a decorated soldier in the British Indian Army, who served in the 19th Regiment of Bengal Lancers (also known as Fane's Horse).

Ganda Singh was a Muhiyal. He belonged to the village of Zaffarwal Dattan in Tehsil Rayya of District Sialkot. The Pakistani town of Ganda Singh Wala is named in his honour.

Gurmukh Singh (First World War)

Not to be confused with Sepoy Gurmukh Singh, who died in the Battle of Saragarhi.Gurmukh Singh, was a Sikh soldier from the village Gadram Badi of Ropar in district Ambala of the province of Punjab in British India. Saini won the Indian Order of Merit 1st Class during the First World War for splendid courage on the battlefield on the night of 1 March 1916. He was also awarded Imperial Russia's highest exclusively military award for gallantry in the face of enemy, the Cross of St. George. According to the January 1919 Indian Army List Gurmukh Singh enlisted 19 March 1904 and was a Naik in the 3rd Sappers and Miners when on the 2 March 1916 he was awarded the IOM 1st class. He was later awarded The Cross of St. George, 3rd class according to Honours and awards, Indian Army 1914–21. He was commissioned Jemadar 1 September 1917, and was still serving in 1923 according to the April 1923 Indian Army List.

IOM

IOM may refer to:

Indian Order of Merit, a military and civilian decoration in British India.

Infraorbital margin, the lower margin of the eye socket

Institute of Medicine, a not-for-profit, non-governmental American organization founded in 1970

Institute of Medicine, Nepal, a medical school in Kathmandu, Nepal

Institute of Occupational Medicine in the UK

Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Integrated Object Model, an Application Programming Interface used in SAS (software) 9.1+ Integration Technologies

International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental organization

International One Metre (radiosailing), a class of radio sailing boat

Intraoperative monitoring (neurophysiogical testing during surgery)

IOM soybeans, an industrial designation for soybeans from the U.S. states of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan

ISDN-oriented Modular Interface

Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea

Isle of Man Airport, its IATA airport code

Jupiter (mythology), or Jupiter Optimus Maximus, king of the Roman gods

Indian Distinguished Service Medal

The Indian Distinguished Service Medal (IDSM) was a military decoration awarded by the British Empire to Indian citizens serving in the Indian armed forces and police. When it was instituted in 1907 it was the second highest award available to Indians, behind the Indian Order of Merit, however, when eligibility for the Victoria Cross was extended to cover all Commonwealth subjects in 1911, the IDSM became third highest in the order of precedence. It was instituted in order to recognise acts of gallantry that did not meet the standards required of the IOM. Following the Partition and subsequent independence of India in 1947, it was decided to discontinue the award.Upon being instituted the medal was only available to members of the British Indian Army, Indian State Forces, militias and levies, however, after 1917 it was extended to 'non-combatant' followers, such as carriers and grooms. In 1929 eligibility was extended to the Royal Indian Marine and to the Indian Air Force in 1940.There were four versions of the medal, the only difference being the monarch depicted on the obverse. The medals were issued either with the engraved or impressed details of the recipient, including service number, name and regiment.The medal is considered reasonably rare and only about 6,000 were awarded, including bars. About 3,200 were awarded during the First World War, and 1,200 from the start of the Second World War to 1947. The remaining 1,600 were awarded between the wars during frontier fighting and other inter-war campaigns such as the Iraq campaign of 1919–20.

Indian Police Medal

The Indian Police Medal (IPM) was an award of the British Raj presented to both European and Asian police personnel. Established in 1932, the award was presented for meritorious service and gallantry that was of a lesser degree than what was required for the King's Police Medal.

List of Brigade of Gurkhas recipients of the Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross (VC) is a military decoration that may be bestowed upon members of the British or Commonwealth armed forces for acts of valour or gallantry performed in the face of the enemy. Within the British honours system and those of many Commonwealth nations it is the highest award a soldier can receive for actions in combat. It was established in 1856 and since then has been awarded 1,356 times, including three service personnel who were awarded the VC twice.The British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas, a group of units composed of Nepalese soldiers—although originally including British officers—has been a part of the Army since 1815. When raised it originally focused on conflicts in the Far East, but the transfer of Hong Kong from British to Chinese hands necessitated that the brigade move its base to the UK. A battalion is still maintained in Brunei and as at 2016, units serve in Afghanistan.

Since the VC was introduced it has been awarded to Gurkhas or British officers serving with Gurkha regiments 26 times. The first award was made in 1858 to a British officer of the Gurkhas, John Tytler, during the campaigns that followed the Indian Rebellion of 1857, while the first award to a native Gurkha, Kulbir Thapa, was in 1915 during the First World War. When the Victoria Cross was initially established, Gurkhas, along with all other native troops of the British East India Company Army or the British Indian Army, were not eligible for the decoration and as such, until 1911, all of the Gurkha recipients of the award were British officers who were attached to Gurkha regiments. Until that time the highest award that Gurkhas were eligible for was the Indian Order of Merit. Since 1911 however, of the 16 VCs awarded to men serving with Gurkha regiments, 13 have been bestowed upon native Gurkhas. The most recent award was made in 1965 to Rambahadur Limbu, during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. Along with the Royal Green Jackets, the Gurkha regiments are among the most heavily decorated Commonwealth units.In 1950, when India became a republic, Gurkhas serving in the Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army lost their eligibility for the Victoria Cross and they are now covered under the separate Indian honours system. Under this system the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), which is India's highest military decoration for valour, is considered to be equivalent to the Victoria Cross. As such only those serving in the Gurkha units of the British Army remain eligible for the Victoria Cross.

List of Indian Mutiny Victoria Cross recipients

The Victoria Cross (VC) was awarded to 182 members of the British Armed Forces, British Indian Army and civilians under their command, during the Indian Mutiny (also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857). The VC is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other Orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command. The VC is traditionally presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture at Buckingham Palace, though in a large number of cases this was not possible and it was presented in the field by a prominent civil or military official. The VC was introduced in Great Britain on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War.The Indian Mutiny (also known as India's First War of Independence, Revolt of 1857, or the Sepoy Mutiny) began as a mutiny of sepoys of British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut. It soon erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to Company power in that region, and it was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858. The rebellion proved to be an important watershed in Indian history; it led to the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858, and forced the British to reorganise the army, the financial system, and the administration in India. India was thereafter governed directly from London—by the British government India Office and a cabinet level Secretary of State for India—in the new British Raj, a system of governance that lasted until 1947.

Indian troops were not originally eligible for the VC, because since 1837 they had been eligible for the Indian Order of Merit—the oldest British gallantry award for general issue. When the VC was created, Indian troops were still controlled by the Honourable East India Company, and did not come under Crown control until 1860. European officers and men serving with the Honourable East India Company were not eligible for the Indian Order of Merit; the VC was extended to cover them in October 1857. The first citations of the VC varied in the details of each action; some specify one date, some date ranges, some the name of the battle and others have both sets of information. There were only two posthumous recipients of the VC for actions during the rebellion; the original Royal Warrant did not contain a specific clause regarding posthumous awards, although official policy was to not award the VC posthumously. Between 1897 and 1901, several notices were issued in the London Gazette regarding soldiers who would have been awarded the VC had they survived. In a partial reversal of policy in 1902, six of the soldiers mentioned were granted the VC, but not "officially" awarded the medal. In 1907, the posthumous policy was completely reversed and medals were sent to the next of kin of the six officers and men; Everard Phillipps and Edward Spence were decorated thus. The Victoria Cross warrant was not officially amended to explicitly allow posthumous awards until 1920. The Indian Mutiny holds the record for the most VCs won in a single day; 24 at the Second Relief of Lucknow on 16 November 1857.

List of Victoria Cross recipients of the Indian Army

The Victoria Cross (VC) was awarded to 153 members of the British Indian Army and civilians under its command, from 1857 until independence in 1947. The Victoria Cross is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other Orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command. The VC is traditionally presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture at Buckingham Palace, though in a large number of cases this was not possible and it was presented in the field by a prominent civil or military official. The VC was introduced in Great Britain on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War.Indian troops were not originally eligible for the VC, because since 1837 they had been eligible for the Indian Order of Merit—the oldest British gallantry award for general issue. When the VC was created, Indian troops were still controlled by the Honourable East India Company, and did not come under Crown control until 1860. European officers and men serving with the Honourable East India Company were not eligible for the Indian Order of Merit; the VC was extended to cover them in October 1857. It was only at the end of the 19th century that calls for Indian troops to be awarded the VC intensified. Indian troops became eligible for the award in 1911. The first awards to Indian troops appeared in the London Gazette on 7 December 1914 to Darwan Singh Negi and Khudadad Khan. Negi was presented with the VC by King George V two days earlier, on 5 December 1914, during a visit to troops in France. He is one of a small number of soldiers presented with his award before it appeared in the London Gazette.There have been a total of 148 VC recipients who were serving with an Indian Army or Honourable East India Company (HEIC) unit. 63 VCs were awarded to British officers and men of the HEIC during the Anglo-Persian War (1856–1857) and the Indian Rebellion of 1857. 33 VCs were awarded for action in various campaigns between the rebellion in 1857 and the First World War. 18 VCs were awarded for action in the First World War, and 30 in the Second World War. In addition to these, 5 civilians under military command were awarded the VC.

Mir Dast

Mir Dast, (3 December 1874 – 19 January 1945) was an Indian soldier and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Order of merit

An order of merit is an honorific order that is conferred by a state, government, royal family, or other sovereign entity to an individual in recognition of military or civil merit. The historical background of the modern honours system of orders of merit may be traced to the emergence of orders of chivalry in the Middle Ages.

Orders of merit may be bestowed as official awards by states or as dynastic orders by royal families. In the case of modern republics, an order of merit may constitute the highest award conferred by the state authority.

Param Vir Chakra

The Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is India's highest military decoration, awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime. Param Vir Chakra translates as the "Wheel of the Ultimate Brave", and the award is granted for "most conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy". The medal of the PVC was designed by Savitri Khanolkar, whose daughter's brother-in-law, Major Somanath Sharma, was coincidentally awarded the first PVC. As of January 2018, the medal has been awarded 21 times, of which 14 were posthumous and 16 arose from actions in Indo-Pakistani conflicts. Of the 21 awardees, 20 have been from the Indian Army, and one has been from the Indian Air Force. A number of central and state governments and ministries of India provide allowances and rewards to recipients of the PVC (or their family members in case of the recipient's death). Only 21 soldiers have received this award to date.The history of present-day Indian gallantry awards can be traced back to the rule of the East India Company, when the first formal award was instituted by Lord William Bentinck in 1834 as the Order of Merit, later renamed the Indian Order of Merit in 1902. During the First World War, the British awards system was adopted and continued through the Second World War. Post-independence, new awards were instituted on 26 January 1950, with retroactive effect from 15 August 1947. The PVC is equivalent to the Medal of Honor in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.

Sardar Lehna Singh

Sardar Lehna Singh, Sardar Bahadur, (1825–1916) was a British Indian Army soldier and the Chief of the village Lehna Singhwala (now located in present-day Punjab, Pakistan).

Sikh Regiment

The Sikh Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army that recruits from the Sikh community. It is the most decorated regiment of the Indian Army and in 1979, the 1st battalion was the Commonwealth's most decorated battalion with 245 pre-independence and 82 post-independence gallantry awards, when it was transformed into the 4th battalion, Mechanised Infantry Regiment. The first battalion of the regiment was officially raised just before the annexation of the Sikh Empire on August 1 1846, by the British East India Company. Currently, the Sikh Regimental Centre is located in Ramgarh Cantonment, Jharkhand. The Centre was earlier located in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.

The modern Sikh Regiment traces its roots directly from the 11th Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army. When transferred to the Indian Army like its sister regiments, the numeral prefix (in the case of the Sikh Regiment, 11) was removed and extra battalions were raised, transferred or disbanded to meet army needs. With a humble beginning of two battalions, today the fraternity has grown to a regiment of 19 regular infantry and two reserve battalions strong.

The Grenadiers

The Grenadiers is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army, formerly part of the Bombay Army and later the pre-independence British Indian Army, when the regiment was known as the 4th Bombay Grenadiers. It has distinguished itself during the two world wars and also since the Independence of India. The regiment has won many battle honours and gallantry awards, and is considered to be one of India's most decorated regiments with three Param Vir Chakra awardees in three different conflicts.

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