Army Temperance Association Medal, Home, five years abstinence, with a 'Watch and be Sober' bar (for six years), and a campaign clasp, 'South Africa', awarded to Colour Sergeant J H Smith, Royal Munster Fusiliers, 1902 (c)
Silver medal with Maltese Cross on a rayed background, surmounted by a crown. Saint George is depicted slaying the dragon within a blue enamelled oval bearing the association's name, 'Army Temperance Association'. The medal is suspended from a crimson ribbon. Attached to the ribbon is a bar with foliage and a scroll bearing the motto, 'Watch and be Sober', denoting an additional year of abstinence while the clasp bearing the campaign honour, 'South Africa', recognises service during the Boer War (1899-1902).
This design of medal was awarded for five years of abstinence from alcohol. Known as the 'White Star', the medal was originally produced for troops serving in India with later versions, like this, produced for personnel serving at home or in other colonies.
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.
From a medal group awarded to Colour Sergeant J H Smith, Royal Munster Fusiliers.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum Copyright
National Army Museum, Soldier gallery