Indian Order of Merit, Military Division, I Class Medal (1912-1939)
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The Indian Order of Merit was established by the Honourable East India Company in 1837 and was later taken over by the British Empire in 1858 following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Its name was changed from the “Order of Merit” to the “Indian Order of Merit” in 1902 upon the creation of the British award of the same name. It is the oldest gallantry award of the British Empire, but it was discontinued following the establishment of Indian independence in 1947.
The Medal was originally awarded to military personnel of the British Indian Army in recognition of acts of gallantry and was the only gallantry award available to this population from 1837 to 1907. It was originally awarded in 3 classes before it was divided into two divisions in 1902. The military division was reduced to two classes following the establishment of the Victoria Cross in 1911, and again to a single class in 1944.
Recipients of the military division are generally admitted into the lowest class before progressing into higher classes. However, in cases where eligible personnel performed additional qualifying service, they may initially gain admittance into a higher class.
Recipients of the Indian Order of Merit were also entitled to receive an increase in pay and pension allowances.
There are multiple versions of the Military Division I Class Medal which are believed to vary by design and composition according to the period of institution and service recognized.
Additional versions of the I Class Medal may exist which vary by composition or design, but subsequent research is needed.
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