Army of India Medal, with bar for Nagpore, awarded to Naick Balloo, 1851
Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria
Reverse, Victory seated facing left before a palm tree and war spoils, holding a laurel branch and wreath
Army of India Medal, 1851 (Third Anglo-Maratha War)
The numerous campaigns of the forces of the British East India Company were not officially recognised with a medal until 1851, in the same move as that which created the Military and Naval General Service Medals for service in the contemporary French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The resulting Army of India medal covered battles from 1799 to 1826, so many of those involved were no longer living. Queen Victoria, by whose order the medal was issued and whose bust it therefore carried, was likewise not on the throne for the actions for which it was awarded.
Despite supporting the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, Baji Rao II, against his malcontents in the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803, British forces invaded the Empire in 1817 with the declared aim of punishing Pindari border raiders, and Baji Rao was rapidly forced to flight. His various subordinate kings however resisted the British independently, among them being Mudhoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur, who had succeeded in a coup in 1816. Facing not only British forces but those of the wealthy Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad, his army was defeated at Sitabuldi near the capital of Nagpur, and extensive territorial concessions forced from him. He was deposed soon afterwards, and a British Resident installed to oversee the rule of his infant successor. Nagpur was finally subsumed into the British Central Provinces in 1853.
This medal was awarded to Naick Balloo of the 27th Native Infantry. Lester Watson purchased it in an auction in November 1926.