Soldiers' Total Abstinence Association India Medal, three years of abstinence, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), 1867 (c)
Lozenge-shaped medal with, on the obverse, a four-pointed star with a central disc on which is a lion couchant, with the inscription, 'India', below. On the reverse, an upright sword wrapped in a riband bearing the motto, 'Watch and be Sober'. Around the edge is the association's title, 'Soldiers Total Abstinence Association'.
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 three years of abstinence from alcohol.
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.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study Collection