Indian Order of Merit, 1st Class, awarded between 1837 and 1912Image["Indian Order of Merit, 1st Class, 1837-1912"]
Obverse, a blue enamel boss with crossed swords in a circle and lettering around, all in gilt; a wreath around, all on an eight-pointed gold starImage["Indian Order of Merit, 1st Class, 1837-1912"]
Indian Order of Merit, 1st Class, 1837-1912
The Indian Order of Merit, instituted by the Honourable East India Company in 1837, is the oldest award for gallantry of the British Empire. The Order had three classes until 1912, for which medals were awarded in silver, silver and gold and gold respectively, and promotion from one class to a higher was achieved by further acts of bravery.
The receipient of this medal must therefore have been awarded the Order's medal three times at some point between 1837 and 1912, when Indian troops were made eligible for the Victoria Cross thus displacing the original first class, but as the medals were issued unnamed, we do not know who the recipient was. Lester Watson purchased the medal from the London dealers Baldwin in 1927.