Royal Army Temperance Association Medal, twenty years of abstinence, awarded to Colour Sergeant J H Smith, Royal Munster Fusiliers, 1915 (c)
Silver, gold and enamel badge with an open-work centre with the figure of St George slaying the dragon surmounted by a crown, within a wreath with a scroll bearing the motto, Watch & be Sober'. The medal is suspended from a maroon and grey ribbon with a bar bearing the inscription, 'RATA XX Years'.
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 twenty years of abstinence from alcohol and was awarded during World War One (1914-1918).
From a medal group awarded to Colour Sergeant J H Smith, Royal Munster Fusiliers.
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