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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.[1] Following the Partition and subsequent independence of India in 1947, it was decided to discontinue the award.[2]

Indian Distinguished Service Medal
Indian Distinguished Service Medal Ribbon.gif
Medal ribbon
Awarded by British Empire
TypeMilitary decoration
EligibilityIndian citizens in the armed forces and police
Awarded forDistinguished service
StatusDiscontinued in 1947
DescriptionRibbon: blue and red ribbon

Medal: round silver medallion
Obverse:profile of reigning monarch

Reverse: inscribed 'For distinguished service', surrounded by a laurel.[1]
ClaspsNo clasps
Established25 June 1907[2]
Total awardedapprox 6,000 including bars[1]
Order of Wear
Next (higher)King's African Rifles Distinguished Conduct Medal[3]
Next (lower)Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery (Silver)[3]

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.[1]

There were four versions of the medal, the only difference being the monarch depicted on the obverse.[2] The medals were issued either with the engraved or impressed details of the recipient, including service number, name and regiment.[1]

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.[1]


Notable recipientsEdit

Honorary Captain and Subedar Major(Retired)U.M.Rai,IDSM,1944,3/10 Gorkha Rifles


  1. ^ a b c d e f Duckers 2001, pp. 40–41.
  2. ^ a b c Robertson, Megan. "Medals of the United Kingdom". Medals of the World. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  3. ^ a b "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3352.
  4. ^
  5. ^ London Gazette, Monday, 10 April 1911
  6. ^ S Najumddin, List of Some Better-Known IDSM Recipients British Indian Army during World War 1, in Durbar Journal of the Indian Military Historical Society UK, No 3, Autumn 2011
  7. ^ Also see record in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database at
  8. ^ Durbar List 2011 a.a.
  9. ^ Durbar List 2011,a.a.
  10. ^ Durbar List 2011
  11. ^ Indian Army List (IAL)1925
  12. ^ Durbar List 2011 aa
  13. ^ http://glosters.trkhcom/ICawards1.htm
  14. ^ Brown Pundits site giving details of Force K6 in WW2. Retrieved 30/3/2018
  15. ^


  • Duckers, Peter (2001). British Gallantry Awards, 1855–2000. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7478-0516-8.

External linksEdit