Army Temperance Association Medal, India, seven years of abstinence, awarded to Sergeant J Phillips, 27th Battery, Royal Artillery, 1899
Silver medal in the form of a cannon cross with rays emanating from the word, 'India', in the centre; on the three upper arms of the cross are the initials of the Army Temperance Association, 'ATA'. The medal is suspended from a red and navy blue ribbon.
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 seven years of abstinence from alcohol and, along with an earlier version produced by the Soldiers' Total Abstinence Association, was known as the 'Havelock Cross', named after Sir Henry Havelock (1795-1857).
As a lieutenant in the 13th (The 1st Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) Havelock formed a temperance club, 'Havelock's Saints', in Rangoon in 1823. He went on to form a Regimental Temperance Society. He died at Lucknow in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny (1857-1859).
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