Army Temperance Association Medal, India, six months of abstinence, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), 1889 (c)
Copper cross urdee with an initial 'C' enclosing the numeral '6', to denote a serviceman's six month's of abstention from alcohol. The arms of the cross bear the initials 'A', 'T', and 'A', for Army Temperance Association and the year '1889'. The medal has a suspension ring and a loop for suspension from a narrow dark 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 six months of abstinence from alcohol.
This award is sometimes known as the 'Crookshank Badge' or 'Crookshank Cross', reflected in the inclusion of the letter 'C' in the design. The names were originally linked to the illustrator George Cruickshank who produced caricatures relating to the theme of temperance but they are now thought to refer to Colonel Arthur Chichester William Crookshank who was President of the Soldiers' Total Abstinence Association. He died of wounds received during the Black Mountain Expedition, on the the North West Frontier of India, on 24 October 1888.
From a collection of temperance medals awarded to Major F H Keeler and Regimental Sergeant Major J Dray, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). From the collection of the former Buffs Regimental Museum.
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National Army Museum, Study collection