A version of the following was published in the "Journal of The Orders and Medals Society of America" in the issue marked January-February 1996, Vol.47 No.1
by Richard A. Fikentscher

     There was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, and native military and police units spanned the globe from the Bahamas to the Far East.  For the collector of British Medals this means there are plenty of interesting, exotic, or just plain offbeat areas to explore, but it can also be confusing.  A lot of new collectors are discovering medals with what looks like alphabet soup for a unit name.  For example: S.I.Ry.Vol.RF.--which translates as South India Railway Volunteer Rifles.
     Below is a short list of abbreviations found on medals issued to native troops by the British Army. I hope it may be of some help to the youngsters and oldsters out there who have been scratching their heads trying to decipher that odd British medal that has been tucked away in the back of the
case. This list is by no means complete---let's just call it a teaser!

A.B.C.---Army Bearer Corps
A.F.I.------Auxiliary Forces ,India
Assam M.P.(A.M.P.)---Assam Military Police
Assam V.L.H.(A.V.L.H.)---Assam Valley Light Horse
B.M.R.----Burma Militia Rifles/regt.
B.M.P.----Burma Military Police
B.M.D.----Burma Medical Dept.
B.E.D.----Burma Excise Dept.(the TAX collectors)
Bo.Grds./Grnds.----Bombay Grenadiers
Bo.M.D.----Bombay Medical Dept.
Bo.N.I.----Bombay Native Infantry
Bo.CMT.Dept---Bombay Commisariat Dept.
Bo. S.& M.----Bombay Sappers and Miners
Br.Coy.----Bearer Company
B.L.H.----Behar Light Horse
D.C.O.Lancers----Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
E.B.S.R.V.R.---East Bengal State Railway Volunteer Rifles/Regt.
Eur.Fus.---European Fusileers
B.S.A.Co.P.----British South African Company Police
B.B.Police----Beuchanaland Border Police
E.A.P.----East African Police
B.M.R.----Border Mounted Rifles
N.W.F.P.---North West Frontier Police
A.P.Dept.---Army Paymasters Dept.
C.L.I.----Ceylon Light Infantry
A.H.C.---Army Hospital Corps
P.L.H.---Punjab Light Horse
E.I.Ry.R.---East India Railway Regt.
F.C.----Frontier Constabulary
F.F.R.---Frontier Force Rifles/Regt.
F.G.A.---Frontier Garrision Artillery
R.G.R.----Royal Gurkha Rifles/Regt.(the 5th Gurkhas)
G.R.-------Gurkha Rifles/regt.
G.T.R.---Gurkha Transport Regt.
H.E.I.C.---Honorable East India Company
I.A.C.C.---Indian Army Corps of Clerks
I.A.O.C.---Indian Army Ordinance Corps
I.A.R.O.---Indian Army Reserve of Officers
I.D.F.-----Indian Defense Forces
I.E.M.E.---Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
I.M.L.----Indian Misc.List
I.M.D.-----Indian Medical Dept.
I.M.Ry.---Indian Military Railways
I.M.S.---Indian Medical Service
I.M.W.S.--Indian Military Works Services
I.P.S.---Indian Postal Service
I.A.S.C./I.S.C.-----Indian Army Service Corps/Indian Service Corps
I.S.M.D.----Indian Subordinate Medical Dept.
I.U.L.---Indian Un-attached List
I.W.T.---Inland Water Transport
L.C.----Labour Corps
M.E.S.-----Military Engineering Services
M.F.D.-----Military Farms Dept.
M.N.I.-------Madras Native Infantry
M.P.B.-----Madras/Military Police Battalion
P.C.&C.D.---Port Conservation & Construction Dept.
R.I.M./R.I.M.S.----Royal Indian Marine(service).....The Indian Navy
S.I.Ry.Vol.R.----South India Railway Volunteer Regt/rfls
U.B.Batt.-----Upper Burma Battalion
Z.M.----Zhob Militia
V.R.B.G.----Vice-Roys Body Guard
N.W.Ry.Bn.----North West Railway Battalion
E.B.Ry.Bn.----East Bengal Railway Battalion
PJB./PJBIS./PJBS.-----Punjab Units
S.F.------State Forces
Ry.Bn.S.&M.----Railway Battalion Sappers & Miners
Mtn.Bty.----Mountain Battery
A.B.Ry.Bn.---Assam-Bengal Railway Battalion
B.-N.Rlwy.Bn.----Bengal-Nagpur Railway Battalion
B.C.C.---Bikanir Camel Corps
B.B.&C.I.Rlwy.Regt.------Bombay,Baroda&Central India Railway Regt.
B.Rlwy.Vol.Corps-----Burma Railway Volunteer Corps
G.I.P.Rlwy.Bn.------Greater Indian Peninsula Railways Battalion
K.C.C.---Khaipur Camel Corps
K.G.F.Bn.----Kolar Gold Fields Battalion
M.&S.M.Ry.Rif.----Madras & Southern Mahratta Railway Battalion
U.P.P.----Upper/United Provinces Pol
C.I.H.--Central India Horse
RMT.Dept.----Remount Dept.
N.B.M.Rif.---North Bengal Mounted Rifles
L.T.Corps----Lamd Transport Corps
O.&R.Rlwy.Vol.Rif.----Oudh & Rohilkund Railway Volunteer Rifles
So.Pro.Mtd.Rif.----Southern Provinces Mounted Rifles
S.C.Corps---Sudan Camel Corps
P.P.---Punjab Police
P.P.---Palestine Police
S.&T.Corps------Supply & Transport Corps

               These abbreviations are taken mainly from actual medals. There is a variation in the usage of the abbreviations used, mainly to the clerk filling out the requests for the medals and how he understood what was written on the orders.

Sources of Info:
                 "The Indian Army," by Boris Mollo
                 "Military Badges of the British Empire 1914-18, by Reginald H.W. Cox
                 Assorted Auction Listings
                 And various medals in private collections

contact the author

phone: (919) 787-0881
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fax: (919) 787-1882