Soldiers' Total Abstinence Association Medal, one year of abstinence, awarded to Sergeant J Phillips, 27th Battery, Royal Artillery, 1893
Circular silver medal with, on the obverse, two Indian women by a palm tree surrounded by the inscription, 'Total Abstinence Medal. India'; on the reverse, the inscription, 'Watch and be Sober', surrounded by the association's title, 'Total Abstinence Association, Formed 1862'.
From the 1850s regimental and garrison temperance associations had been established to combat high rates of drunkenness and to encourage and reward temperance towards alcohol. The Soldiers' Total Abstinence Association (STAA) was founded in 1862 by the Reverend John Gelson Gregson, in and attempt to amalgamate the many military temperance societies set up in British India. The STAA was a success and gained official approval in 1876 with a government financial grant. The intervention of Lord Roberts, Commander in Chief in India, led to the association being replaced in 1888 with the Army Temperance Association, India. A Home branch was formed in 1893 and in 1902 the Association was granted its 'Royal' prefix by King Edward VII.
One of the rewards the Association provided to its members were medals that recognised their commitment to temperance. Some medals continued to be issued after organisational name changes were made as updated replacements were not always immediately available. This medal was awarded for one year of abstinence from alcohol.
From a collection of temperance medals awarded to Sergeant J Phillips, 27th Battery, Royal Artillery, 1892-1902.
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National Army Museum, Study collection