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alf mcm

Indian Medical Officers in I.M.S. - King's Commissions?

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alf mcm

I understand that native Indian Medical Officers in the Indian Medical Service were given a King's Commission {like their British colleagues} rather than a Viceroy's Commission. This raises a few questions:-

 

1. Am I correct in what I say above, or were other Indians give the King's Commission?

2. Why were they given King's Commissions instead of Viceroy's Commissions?

3. Would the Indian Medical Officers have British {Lieutenant, Captain ...} or Indian {Jemadar, Subedar ...} ranks?

4. Would a Medical Officer then be, technically, superior in rank to all Viceroy Commissioned Officers?

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

Edited by alf mcm
Revised to use correct terminology

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Maureene

Would a King’s Commission apply during WW1?

 

The following is my understanding of the situation.

 

The Indian Medical Service was the “senior” level of medical services in the Indian Army, and consisted of those who had applied for, and sat examinations in Britain.  Predominantly these were British doctors, but  there was no racial qualification I am aware of, so it did include some native Indian doctors, mainly those who had studied in Britain, and thus likely to come from wealthy families. These doctors had British officer ranks. 

 

Another part of the medical services was the Indian  Subordinate Medical Department, ISMD. The Subordinate part of the title was dropped subsequently. This consisted of doctors appointed in India, who mainly had studied at Indian universities, and included British born doctors, doctors born in India of British background, and native Indian Doctors. These doctors were officially Warrant Officers, although the most senior had Honorary  British Officer rank.

 

As far as I am aware, none of the doctors in medical service in the Indian Army had ranks such as  Jemadar etc

 

I believe a native India doctor in the Indian Medical Service , being someone who would have  British Officer rank would be superior in rank to the Viceroy Commissioned Officers.

 

I don’t know how a Warrant Officer doctor  ranked when compared with a Viceroy Commissioned Officer.

 

During  WW1 I am not aware of any other native Indians with a King’s Commission, although I believe some were appointed in the 1920s.

 

There were probably historical reasons  the above system was in force, but the appointment process for senior Civil Servants was similar to the system for appointment into the Indian Medical Service.

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

 

 

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alf mcm

Hello Maureen,

 

Thanks for your comprehensive reply. I know that Indian regiments had Sub Assistant Surgeons, who were Warrant Officers, but I'm not sure if they were fully trained Doctors. I would assume they belonged to the I.M.D., but may be wrong.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Chasemuseum

With reference to Srinath Raghava "India's War" (which is primarily about India's involvement in WW2) on page 82, he states that a "viceroy Commissioned Officer" was equivalent to a senior warrant officer. Further that prior to WW1 Indians were not allowed to hold the King's Commission, but that from 1917 that 10 places were reserved at Sandhurst for "Kings Indian Commissioned Officers" (KCIOs).  Training of KCIOs was substantially expanded after the war.

 

With fully qualified medical officers there are a variety of conflicting issues why they may have been given a temporary war time Kings Commission, in much the same way as women doctors were during WW2, however without a suitable reference I cannot confirm this. What I can confirm is that some of the Indian University medical schools of this period were fully recognised and graduate doctors did have an automatic right of registration throughout the empire.

 

Regards

RT

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alf mcm

Maureen,

  Just noticed my obvious mistake. I did of course mean 'King's Commission'! I will now attempt to change all references of Queen's Commission to King's Commission.

  Do you think anyone else has noticed?

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

 

 

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alf mcm
7 hours ago, Chasemuseum said:

With reference to Srinath Raghava "India's War" (which is primarily about India's involvement in WW2) on page 82, he states that a "viceroy Commissioned Officer" was equivalent to a senior warrant officer. Further that prior to WW1 Indians were not allowed to hold the King's Commission, but that from 1917 that 10 places were reserved at Sandhurst for "Kings Indian Commissioned Officers" (KCIOs).  Training of KCIOs was substantially expanded after the war.

 

With fully qualified medical officers there are a variety of conflicting issues why they may have been given a temporary war time Kings Commission, in much the same way as women doctors were during WW2, however without a suitable reference I cannot confirm this. What I can confirm is that some of the Indian University medical schools of this period were fully recognised and graduate doctors did have an automatic right of registration throughout the empire.

 

Regards

RT

 

Thanks RT, very interesting.

 

  I can't help thinking, though, that Srinath Raghava is wrong in saying that a Viceroy's Commissioned Officer is equivalent to a senior Warrant Officer. After all, they held a Commission, which gave them officer status. They would have ranked below British Officers, with a King's Commission, but only because their commission came from the Viceroy, who ranked lower than the King. As officers they would have been senior in rank to the most senior Warrant Officers.

 

  I must admit I was unaware of 'King's Commissioned Indian Officers'.

 

  I am not certain that King's Commissions to native Doctors were Temporary. Perhaps someone can confirm whetther or not this is the case?

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

Edited by alf mcm

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Maureene
56 minutes ago, alf mcm said:

 

  I am not certain that King's Commissions to native Doctors were Temporary. Perhaps someone can confirm whetther or not this is the case?

 

Probably all doctors who signed up just for the duration of WW1 were given a Temporary Commission. Otherwise I believe the situation I described  above in post 2 continued, probably unchanged until April 1943 when the Indian Medical Department effectively ended as a separate entity  when it was amalgamated with the Indian Medical Service and the Indian Hospital and Nursing Corps, to form the Indian Army Medical Corps. In this form, it still exists today.

 

At any period, any person in the Indian Army, whether native Indian or of British background, who had Surgeon in their title, had undergone training, and qualified, at a Western style medical school and was entitled to registration in  India as a (western style) doctor. Most of the medical schools in India had been established by the British, and by WW1 probably all were part of Universities. As far as I am aware, there were no practitioners of Indian native medicine in the Indian Army, all the doctors were graduates of schools of western style medicine.

 

For anyone interested in the Indian Medical Department, in the earlier days until 1894,  the practitioners in this department were called Apothecaries  and there is a FIBIS Fibiwiki page Apothecary which sets out the history from 1812, when a training scheme was introduced. The emphasis  in the Fibiwiki page is on the British in the Indian Medical Department

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Apothecary

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

 

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Guest

Indian Officers in the IMS were not uncommon in 1914. One has an obituary in the Bond of Sacrifice. He was serving with the 59th or 57th Rifles if memory serves. Their commissions were the same as a British Officer in the IMS. 

 

Indian Officers with Viceroy's Commissions were not the equivalent of British Warrant Officers. Their ranks structure was completely separate. Most VCOs carried out the duties usually executed by British subalterns in British regiments; platoon commanders. There were 17 VCOs in a battalion and 16 Platoons. Jemadars and Subadars carried out duties similar to British subalterns. The roles of (Double) Company commander and (Double) Company 2IC were normally occupied by British Officers.  The extra VCO was the Subadar Major who was the Commandant's right hand man in all matters relating to the soldiers. 

 

MG

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Guest

Atal, Major Pandit Piaray Lal, Indian Medical Service, attd. to the 129th Duke of Connaght’s own Baluchis, was born on the 2nd August, 1872. He was the son of Pandit Kishan lal Atal, formerly Private Secretary to the Maharaja of Jodhpore and afterwards to the Maharaja ofJaipur State, and was a grandson of the late Dewan Pandit Motilal Atal, Prime Minister of Jaipur State, Rajputana. He was educated in the Maharaja’s Collegiate School, Jaipur, until matriculating, when he entered the Medical School, Lahore. After studying there for· three or four years he came to England, and passing the competitive examination for the IMS, in May 1899, was appointed Lieutenant in February 1899. After serving in India he returned to England and specialised in diseases of the nose, throat and ear, during the year 1912. While in the Army he served in China in 1900, receiving the medal for his services. After a few years he left the Military and was employed in the Civil Service, but was again, a few years later, transferred to the Military side. When at school he was fond of cricket, and later was a well-known cricketer in the teams of the States in which he was employed. He was a member of several clubs in the Madras Presidency. Major Atal was killed on the 23rd November, 1914, by the destruction of the Military Hospital from the effects of shell fire while he was attending to a wounded officer. Previously he had escaped unhurt while attending wounded in the field under heavy fire. He married Mrs. Raj Atal, daughter of the late Pandit Sri Kishan Kichloo, Extra Assistant Commissioner of Ferozepore, Punjab, and only granddaughter of the late Judicial Commissioner, Pandit Bihari Lal Kichloo, Rai Bahadur. Major Atal left five children: three sons, Hiralal born January. 1904, Ram Nath born August, 1908, and Kanahiya Lal born December, 1910, and two daughters, Kamlapati born December, 1910, and Brijpati born December 1911. He was promoted Captain in 1902 and Major in 1911, and was shortly to he promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel. He was in his 43rd year when he met his death.

 

5a140fe454c0d_IMSAtal.JPG.fa737d0034e7afe0daba5ebf48a25fb6.JPG

 

Singh, Captain Kanwar Indarjit, MB, MRCP, Indian Medical Service, Medical Officer of the 57th Wilde’s Rifles (Frontier Force), was the son of Rajah Sir Harman Singh, Ahluwalia, KCIE, ofKapurthala, Punjab, a grandson of his late Highness the Maharaja Sir Randhir Singh, GCSI, of Kapurthala, and a firstcousin of HH Maharaja Sir Jagatjit Singh, GCSI, of Kapurthala. He was born at Lucknow, Oudh, on the 27th December, 1883, and was educated at Forman Christian College, Lahore, and at the Punjab University (1901), where he took the degree of B.A. He was also a B.Sc. (1905) and M.B. (1910) of Cambridge (Pembroke College), and passed third on the list of successful candidates for the Indian Medical Service, in which he received his commission in January, 1911. In the same year he became (by examination) M.R.C.P., London. While in India he served as Medical Officer to three regiments, and was promoted Captain in April, 1914. He was a keen horseman, and a member of the Rawal Pindi and Ferozepore Clubs. He accompanied the 57th Wilde’s Rifles to Europe for active service in August, 1914; was twice mentioned in despatches; and awarded the Military Cross for distinguished service and conspicuous gallantry (“London Gazette,” 1st January, 1915). Captain Indarjit Singh was killed at Festubert on the 23rd November, 1914, while attending to the wounded in a house which was completely destroyed by the enemy’s shells. His father received a letter from Colonel C C Manifold, IMS, saying: “It has just been my lot to meet an officer who was attached to the 57th Wilde’s Rifles, who . . . was giving me an account of the desperate fighting the 57th had had, and the vicissitudes they had, losing nearly all their officers. I asked him, ‘Who was your Medical Officer?’ He said, A most splendid fellow. Nothing I could say would be too great praise for him. Ten Victoria Crosses would not have been too much for what he did. There could not be found a braver man. I am filled with admiration, which will always last, for him.’ I need not say it was your son he was talking of.” The Adjutant of his regiment wrote: “During the whole of the hard-worked and frequently trying time we have had since receiving our mobilisation orders, Captain Indarjit Singh has worked whole-heartedly and ungrudgingly, and at a time when we had only three combatant officers left with the regiment, and most of our companies were very deficient of Indian officers, he gave me the very utmost assistance in the routine part of the work of the regiment, frequently looking after the duties of Quartermaster and Transport Officer in addition to his own duties. As a doctor he worked untiringly for the good of the men, and will be missed by them almost as much as by us who had come to know him very well during the last few months.” Captain Singh was the first scion of the family of an Indian ruling chief to lay down his life for the King-Emperor and the Empire.

 

 

IMS Singh.JPG

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alf mcm

Thanks for posting these Martin. They make very interesting reading.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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petestarling

The History of the Indian Medical Service by Lt Col DG Crawford is in two volumes and although published in 1914 so does not cover the First World War will give you an insight into the structure and organisation of the IMS pre First World War

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alf mcm

The Roll of the Indian Medical Service, 1615-1930 {on Ancestry} shows that 13 of their men died during the war. Of these 5 were Indians;-

Atal, Paudit Payari. Killed, Flanders, 23 Nov. 1914.

Singh, Kumar Indrajit. Killed, Flanders, 23 Nov. 1914.

Patel, M.B. {Tempy.}. Died. Dec. 1915, of wounds received in battle of Ctesiphon, 26 Nov. 1915.

Kharas, Darabochi Rustomiji {Tempy.}. Killed, Mesopotamia, Aug. 1917.

Sinha, Atul Krishna. Killed, Mesopotamia, Aug. 1917.

Regards,

Alf McM

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charlie962

This little report published 1912 gives some useful background on IMS and IMSD. on Archive.org

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alf mcm

Thanks Charlie,

 

   Very interesting in that it says 10% of Sub-Assistant Surgeons were Commisioned {with the remainder being Warrant Officers}. I would guess that those commissioned would be V.C.O.'s, unless anyone knows different!

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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seaJane

Hope this doesn't confuse the issue too much but by way of interest, contents page from the Transactions of the Bombay Medical Congress 1909:

 

 

IMG_20171127_162324.jpg

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alf mcm

Thanks SeaJane,

  It’s a good reminder of the I.M.S.’s expertise in tropical medicine.

 Major Daniel Grove Marshall, I.M.S., was brought out of retirement and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the R.A.M.C., so that he could head the new Tropical Diseases Department at Edinburgh War Hospital, Bangour.

Regards,

Alf McM

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seaJane

I particularly noticed Khan Bahadur N.H. Choksy, M.D., participating.

 

Our copy of the book was owned by an R.G. Armstrong, Surgeon R.I.M.S. MINTO whom I now want to catch up with and see if he was still serving five years later!

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Maureene

 

 

On 27/11/2017 at 07:47, alf mcm said:

Very interesting in that it says 10% of Sub-Assistant Surgeons were Commisioned {with the remainder being Warrant Officers}. I would guess that those commissioned would be V.C.O.'s, unless anyone knows different!

 

As stated in post 2, these Commissions were Honorary Commissions, and the men officially remained Warrant Officers. I do not believe they would be VCOs.

 

On 28/11/2017 at 11:10, seaJane said:

I particularly noticed Khan Bahadur N.H. Choksy, M.D., participating.

 

"Khan Bahadur" is a civil honour, according to Wikipedia. Khan Bahadur N.H. Choksy, M.D does not appear to be in the IMS/ISMD.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Bahadur

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

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seaJane

Thanks for clarifying that Maureen.

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alf mcm

The July 1915 Indian Army List shows the following for Sub-Assistant Surgeons {All belonging to the Indian Subordinate Medical Department};-

Senior Sub-Assistant Surgeons 1st Class – Ranking as Subadars

Senior Sub-Assistant Surgeons 2nd Class – Ranking as Jemadars

Sub-Assistant Surgeons 1st Class – Ranking as Warrant Officers

Sub-Assistant Surgeons 2nd Class – {No rank shown, but presumably Warrant Officers}

Sub-Assistant Surgeons 3rd  Class – {No rank shown, but presumably Warrant Officers}

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Maureene
17 minutes ago, alf mcm said:

The July 1915 Indian Army List shows the following for Sub-Assistant Surgeons {All belonging to the Indian Subordinate Medical Department};-

 

Interesting,  thanks for posting Alf.

 

As British and Anglo-Indians in the Indian Subordinate Medical Department at the upper level, only received Honourary Commissions, not actual Commissions, and officially retained the rank of Warrant Officer,  it seems very likely to me that for consistency the same policy of Honorary Commissions would apply to Sub-Assistant Surgeons in the ISMD, i.e. those who were native Indian doctors in the ISMD

 

Cheers

Maureen

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alf mcm

 The Army List does not identify the Senior S.A.S. ranks of Subadar and Jemadar as being honorary. It seems to me that they were substantive V.C.O.’s.

 

1SMD SAS.pdf

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

Edited by alf mcm

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Guest

where is the evidence the Indian IMS doctors' commissions were honorary? None of the obituaries mention this and neither do the Army Lists. Happy to be proven wrong but their inclusion in BOS might suggest otherwise. MG

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Maureene

There is a difference between the Indian Medical SERVICE IMS and the Indian Medical DEPARTMENT, also known as the Indian Subordinate Medical  DEPARTMENT IMD/ISMD.

 

The Honorary Commissions only applied to the upper levels of doctors in the IMD/ISMD.

 

It has not been suggested that  "Indian IMS doctors' commissions were honorary".

From my post 2 above, 

On 20/11/2017 at 15:27, Maureene said:

 

The Indian Medical Service was the “senior” level of medical services in the Indian Army, and consisted of those who had applied for, and sat examinations in Britain.  Predominantly these were British doctors, but  there was no racial qualification I am aware of, so it did include some native Indian doctors, mainly those who had studied in Britain, and thus likely to come from wealthy families. These doctors had British officer ranks. 

 

On 12/12/2017 at 22:48, alf mcm said:

 The Army List does not identify the Senior S.A.S. ranks of Subadar and Jemadar as being honorary. It seems to me that they were substantive V.C.O.’s.

 

1SMD SAS.pdf

 

Alf, the wording does say "Ranking  as"

 

On 12/12/2017 at 10:11, alf mcm said:

 

Senior Sub-Assistant Surgeons 1st Class – Ranking as Subadars

Senior Sub-Assistant Surgeons 2nd Class – Ranking as Jemadar

It doesn't say that they WERE Subadars and Jemadars, and to me, what is written there is not evidence that they were VCOs 

 

However, as mentioned in post 22,  I believe that all the doctors in the IMD/ISMD would be part of a similar structure, whatever their race. The British and Ango-lIndians (mixed race)  In the IMD/ISMD only had Honorary commissions. I believe for consistency the native Indian Doctors would likewise have Honorary Commissions.

 

Cheers

Maureen

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