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India General Service Medal (1854-1895), with bar for Samana 1891, awarded to Pvt. E. Oliver, 1892

India General Service Medal, 1892

Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria

India General Service Medal, 1892

Reverse, Victory crowning a seated Classical warrior with a laurel wreath

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India General Service Medal, 1892

The Army of India Medal's issue in 1849 having marked the previous half-century's combats in the region, further conflicts in the 1850s led in 1854 to the design and issue of a General Service Medal for the theatre, for which bars would be issued as each new campaign merited.
The province of Maranzai, in modern Pakistan, was in the 1890s one of a number of unstable areas whose position on the North-West Frontier of India made them a paramount British concern. When, therefore, an extremist Muslim religious leader, Syed Mir Basha, declared a local jihad in the Samana Heights, two Expeditionary Forces were sequentially dispatched to settle the area. The bar to this medal was awarded for participation in the second campaign, and the medal was awarded to Private E. Oliver of the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment. Lester Watson purchased the medal from the London dealers Baldwin in 1927.