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alf mcm

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

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charlie962
On 26/11/2017 at 21:47, alf mcm said:

it says 10% of Sub-Assistant Surgeons were Commisioned {with the remainder being Warrant Officers

The actual text in the 1912 Report says 'Honorary' commisions and say 'ranking as ' warrant officers.

 

MilitaryAssistantSurgeons.JPG.493e4b46f7b6dbb6663b684940209d6d.JPG

 

edit: The extract for Sub-assistants is a little more vague?

 

MilitarySubAssistantSurgeons.JPG.27575c0f7e626c46789e6a916c0baceb.JPG

 

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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alf mcm

Thanks Maureen,

  In post 25 you say that all Doctors in the ISMD had honorary commissions. Do you know if these commissions be for British {Lieutenant, Captain} or Indian {Subadar, Jemadar} rank?

 

Thanks Charlie,

  Your first extract covers Assistant Surgeons, and it is clear that 10% were given honorary commissions. As above, I am wondering if they were British or Indian commissions.

 Your second extract covers Sub-Assistant Surgeons. It doesn’t mention honorary commissions, but it would appear from the Army List that these were Indian commissions.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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alf mcm

I have some answers to my previous post {details taken from Indian Army List, July 1915};-

 

ISMD Senior Surgeons were granted Honorary Rank of Lieutenant, Captain or Major. I didn't see any Indian names in the list.

 

ISMD Assistant Surgeons were Warrant Officers.

1st Class Assistant Surgeons were ranked as Conductors.

2nd Class Assistant Surgeons were ranked as Conductors.

3rd Class Assistant Surgeons were ranked as Sub-Conductors.

4th Class Assistant Surgeons were ranked as Sub-Conductors.

 

None of the Assistant Surgeons had Indian names.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Masha
On 20/11/2017 at 10:57, Maureene said:

 

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

 

 

 

 

Maureen, my grandfather Late Taranikanta Roy, was a LMP from the first medical school in northeast India started in the name of John Berry White, a British doctor during 1900. My grandfather was in the rank of a Jemadar and he died during world war 2 in Singapore. I have been trying to gather more information on him and that's what led me here.

 

Hope it's helpful.

 

Cheers,

Masha

Edited by Masha

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alf mcm

Hello Masha,

  Welcome to the forum.

  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website show that your grandfather, Tarani Kanta Roy died on 13th February 1942.

  I have looked through the Indian Army List for 1915, which shows all Army Doctors, and couldn't see him mentioned. He could of course have served after 1915.

  Do you know if he served in World War 1?

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Maureene

 Thans Masha for you comments.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record, mentioned by Alf mcm, for your grandfather is 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2072915/tarani-kanta-roy,-/  which shows 

Service Number ME/119

 

Should you have not already done so, you could contact the National Archived of India to see whether they hold a service file. You should quote the service number shown in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

 

For details, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Indian Army, section, Records, National Archives of India 

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army#National_Archives_of_India

 

Cheers

Maureen

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Masha
23 hours ago, alf mcm said:

Hello Masha,

  Welcome to the forum.

  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website show that your grandfather, Tarani Kanta Roy died on 13th February 1942.

  I have looked through the Indian Army List for 1915, which shows all Army Doctors, and couldn't see him mentioned. He could of course have served after 1915.

  Do you know if he served in World War 1?

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

Thank you Alf McM. I am so happy to read your message mentioning my grandfather. I am told he served during World War 2 and not prior to that. I am trying to gather information as to what inspired him to join the war and related matters like how they were selected. If there were any survivors....I hope someone can help me. 

 

Regards,

 

Masha

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Masha
5 hours ago, Maureene said:

 Thans Masha for you comments.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record, mentioned by Alf mcm, for your grandfather is 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2072915/tarani-kanta-roy,-/  which shows 

Service Number ME/119

 

Should you have not already done so, you could contact the National Archived of India to see whether they hold a service file. You should quote the service number shown in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

 

For details, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Indian Army, section, Records, National Archives of India 

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army#National_Archives_of_India

 

Cheers

Maureen

Thanks a bunch Maureen. I shall do as suggested. It means a lot to me. And also keep you posted.

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Ajaib Singh

Maureen is unfortunately wrong in the conclusions she has drawn, as is Charlie, although he clearly seems to conclude he fails to understand the structure.

 

1 - After the Army reforms of 1922 the IMS and ISMD were merged, so depending upon the period one is not incorrect to refer to it as one.

 

2 - The ISMD was a very large department, and those listed in the Indian Army List are not Warrant Officers, but Viceroy Commissioned Officers - ranking equivalent to Subadar Majors, Subadars, and Jemadars

 

If you use the original lexicon, pre the formation of the ISMD you had Native Senior Hospital Assistants, Native Hospital Assistants, Native Senior Hospital Attendants, Native Hospital Attendants etc., and after the ISMD was formed the Native Senior Hospital Assistants became Snr Sub Assistant Surgeons, and the Native Hospital Assistants became Sub Assistant Surgeons.

 

So the Warrant Officers were the Sub Assistant Surgeons / Hospital Assistants 3rd to 1st Class, and they could progress to a Viceroy Commissioned Officers ranking as Senior Hospital Assistant, 3rd Class, 2nd Class, and 1st Class respectfully, if they passed the qualification bars.

 

For every Senior Sub Assistant Surgeon there were 2 Sub Assistant Surgeons / Hospital Assistants, and they were supported by 8 Senior Hospital Attendents, and 16 Hospital Attendants, who in turn were supported by Bearers, Compounders etc etc etc.

 

In terms of duties, the Senior Sub Assistant Surgeons did the same thing as the European Assistant Surgeons, the only difference being European Assistant Surgeons were posted to British and European Regiments, and Senior Sub Assistant Surgeons to Indian Regiments.

 

This should not be surprising given the European rank of Apothocary 1st Class became Snr Hospital Assistant, and then Assistant Surgeon. Depending upon length of service this was an Honoury Commissioned rank equiv to Capt or Major, inline with the British Army, but with the Army reforms, as with Quarter Masters and Senior Conductors, it became a Regular Commission.

 

So whilst the European Snr Assistant Surgeon had an Honoury Rank equiv to Lieut, Capt, or Major, he was a part of the senior imperial service (IMS) ranking akin to his British counterpart, whilst the Snr Sub Assistant Surgeon held a Viceroy Commision (Jemdr, Subdr., or Sub-Major), but was in the indian service (Subordinate Medical Dept).

 

This unnatural division was drawn to prevent direct comparisons in seniority between the two, so that Indians could not outrank Europeans. For similar reasons Indian VCOs in Line Regiments when taking Staff Positions, such as Quarter Master, Adjutant or Riding Master, could only be Hon. Regimental Staff Members.

 

The Rank of Senior Sub Assistant Surgeon 1st Class was very prestigious. If I recall correctly there were 8 per presidency in peace time. So whilst all Indian Regiments would have had a Senior Sub Assistant Surgeon, very few would have one ranking equiv to a Subadar Major.

 

This was purely done in relation to the formation of Divisions, and the miserly monetary sums proportioned to the pension establishment of the ISMD as opposed to Front Line Regiments, whilst it also imited the number of VCOs who could be nominated to the Order of British India.

 

For this reason you find many SASs being nominated for junior and senior Indian Titles, such as Khan Sahib, Rai Sahib, Rao Sahib, Diwan Sahib, and Sardar Sahib, followed by Khan Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Rao Bahadar, Diwan Bahadur, and Sardar Bahadur.

 

For the same reason the annuity Indian Meritorious Service Medal was also extended by Royal Warrant to include junior Senior Sub Assistant Surgeons (i.e. 3rd Class), meaning they were the only Viceroy Commissioned Officers to qualify alongside Warrant Officers prior to WW1.

 

Incidentally the Indian Title was a Military and Civil Award, and King George the V designed and implimented the Neck Badge for these ancient titles in 1911. His understanding of the award and class system were the inspiration for the MBE, OBE, and CBE, with the higher grades of the Order being akin to the CSI and Star of India - but I digress.

 

3 - Per the original questions, was it normal to have Indian Doctors in the IMS, and did they receive King's Commissions. The answer is absolutely on both accounts.

 

Qualified Indian Doctors had been appointed as Regimental Doctors to Indian Regiments since before the Indian Mutiny. The number of such appointments fell after 1862, with the Crown impossing new standards for Medical Schools.

 

With the formation of IMS Dr Boyce is considered the first Indian Doctor to be appointed to it, although there were Indian Doctors that were more senior to him, but which had not graduated through the more modern system.

 

Therefore the IMS was the only part of the Indian Army where Indians could receive King's Commissions prior to the reforms of 1903, and one must view it as an exception, made for pratical reasons, given the traditional pre-mutiny practice of appointing European Drs, Snr Hospital Assistants / Hospital Assistants to European Regiments, and Indian Drs, Snr Hospital Assistants / Hospital Assistants to Indian Regiments.

 

In this context the practice of European Drs being nominated for all vacancies on the Indian Establishment was shortlived, lasting about 20 years - though due to stereotypes associated with the RAJ of the 1870s - 1890s, it casts a long shadow.

 

I trust the above is imformative Alf. MG's observations being largely correct that these Commissions were not Honoury. A little knowledge can be a dangerous this.

 

BTW - what prompted your question.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ajaib Singh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ajaib Singh

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alf mcm

Ajaib,

  Welcome to the forum.

  Many thanks for your very detailed and informative response. You have answered all my questions. I am interested in medical services generally, and had started reading about the Indian Army. The Indian medical services seemed to be organised differently from the British. That was what prompted my original questions.

 

Regards,

 

Alf

Edited by alf mcm

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Maureene

Ajaib Singh has said I am unfortunately wrong in my conclusions. However, based on information in Indian Army Lists, he appears to be unfortunately wrong in some of his facts. 

 

I would also like to repeat that my statements about Honorary Rank were in respect of the Indian Medical Department, IMD, (which until 1919 was called the Indian Subordinate Medical Department ISMD),  not the Indian Medical Service IMS.

12 hours ago, Ajaib Singh said:

 

1 - After the Army reforms of 1922 the IMS and ISMD were merged, so depending upon the period one is not incorrect to refer to it as one.

The January 1941 Indian Army List shows the Indian Medical Department still in existence, indicating it was not merged with the Indian Medical Service in 1922.

https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.284990/2015.284990.Indian-Army#page/n833/mode/2up

Page 1135.

12 hours ago, Ajaib Singh said:

 

This should not be surprising given the European rank of Apothocary 1st Class became Snr Hospital Assistant, and then Assistant Surgeon. Depending upon length of service this was an Honoury Commissioned rank equiv to Capt or Major, inline with the British Army, but with the Army reforms, as with Quarter Masters and Senior Conductors, it became a Regular Commission.

 

So whilst the European Snr Assistant Surgeon had an Honoury Rank equiv to Lieut, Capt, or Major, he was a part of the senior imperial service (IMS) ranking akin to his British counterpart, whilst the Snr Sub Assistant Surgeon held a Viceroy Commision (Jemdr, Subdr., or Sub-Major), but was in the indian service (Subordinate Medical Dept).

 

Firstly, at the time of the Great War which is the period we are talking about Commissions were still Honorary, and I believe this also included the Indian doctors in the Indian Medical Department. 

 

Secondly, the European doctors who held Honorary rank were not part of The Indian Medical Service, they were part of the Indian Medical Department

The January 1920 Indian Army List  clearly shows Honorary Commissions for the Indian Medical Department, which includes both European and Indian Doctors

https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.278912/2015.278912.The-Quarterly#page/n1295

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.56.39 pm.png

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charlie962
12 hours ago, Ajaib Singh said:

Maureen is unfortunately wrong in the conclusions she has drawn, as is Charlie, although he clearly seems to conclude he fails to understand the structure.

Welcome Ajaib,

I don't think I made any conclusion ? I merely drew attention to the 1912 Report. Appologies if this was misleading information ?   I would agree I don't fully understand the structure!

Charlie

 

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Ajaib Singh

Maureen,

 

1 - the IMD and ISMD are not the same. The army reforms rationalised the hospital / bearer corps, corps of lascars, and the hospital attendants on Divisional lines to create the IMD. Whilst the IMS was adjusted to include a Civilian reserve and facilitated Snr Sub Assistant Surgeons, and those with lesser Qualifications, gaining full Commisions due to Indianisation.

 

2 - You are confusing two topics, that of the (European) Assistan Surgeon, and of the Native (Snr Sub) Assistant Surgeon. Neither of these were ever Doctors.

 

I am not sure if you had difficulty understanding my comparisons, but I clearly state that the Assistant Surgeon held an Honoury Commission, whilst the Native (Snr Sub) Assistant Surgeon held a Viceroy Commission.

 

Therefore whilst the European was a Warrant Officer, the Native was an Indian (Viceroy Commissioned) Officer.

 

Furthure more, it should be quite clear, that prior to the establishment of the IMS and ISMD in the 1880s, the (European) Hospital Assistant, and the (Native) Hospital Assistant were equal, both being Warrant Officers. This was not the case afterwards.

 

It was the normalisation of granting Honoury Commissions in the Invalid Battalions to senior long serving Sergeant Majors and Warrant Officers (from the 1840s to 1860s) that provided the precident for granting Honoury Ranks to (European) Hospital Assistants, and latterly Viceroy Commisions to (Native) Hospital Assistants.

 

This was formalised when the new establishments for the IMS and ISMD occured, which coincided with the reformation of the Presidency Army Lists after 1881 - normalising.

 

Your commentary across several pages is confused, ignoring the evolution of these roles, and at times a disregard and disinterest in Indian Medical Officers - who held Kings Commissions like their European counterparts, which formed a central part of the question.

Edited by Ajaib Singh

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charlie962
3 hours ago, Ajaib Singh said:

and at times a disregard and disinterest

Ajaib

Based on Maureene's huge contribution to the forum I would suggest this is an inappropriate choice of words. We are all keen to learn and to share knowledge, each contributor being encouraged to express their views on a subject ( but not on the person) so that misunderstandings can be resolved and questions answered.

 

I agree that the Indian IA side is a much overlooked topic so I am hoping that you are bringing a particular expertise to throw light on this dim -lit corner. And Medical, whether British or Indian Army, is a complicated subject in itself. So, double the problem. Please be patient with us.

 

Charlie

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BP1

Hello all,

I’ve been following this post with some interest as I am tracing my maternal grandfather who was a 1st class senior sub assistant surgeon in the Indian Medical department. All I have had to go on are a clutch of medals my mother brought back from India (I’m Scottish) my original post is here:

Firstly, if I may I would like to say I too have found Maureene’s contributions particularly helpful as I was in fact labouring under a false lead which she alone put right.

Moving on, is there any direction anyone can steer me in in terms of trying to find out when my grandfather may have joined the Indian medical department and then retired? I have found various entries in the The Quarterly Indian Army List (thanks Maureene) and the attached letter dated 1924 indicates he was already retired when he was sent his Indian Army Meritorious Service Medal and may suggest he was attached to the 8th KGO Light Cavalry Letter.

Any direction in terms of other related documents / photos etc. would be really helpful in building a broader picture of his life.

Thanks, Bobby 

16.10.27 KGO Light Cavalry Letter (1924).pdf

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alf mcm

Bobby,

 

The July 1919 Indian Army List shows that Harbans Lal was appointed Temporary Sub Assistant Surgeon on 23rd April 1918.  A search of other Indian Army Lists should show his promotion. The Lists are online here;- https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army_List_online

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Maureene

The Medals topic linked in post 40 above indicates "the award of the 1914-15 Star to Harbans Lal, shows he must have entered a theatre of war before 01 Jan 1916" (post 22 of the Medals topic)

 

I said in post 17 of the Medals topic, "he was probably a career doctor in the Indian Army, as he had long service"

 

I  think the  person referred to by Alf McMm,  the Temporary Sub Assistant Surgeon  appointed on 23rd April 1918 is NOT him (possibly a relative?)

 

Wikipedia,  "Indian Meritorious Service Medal (for Indian Army)" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Meritorious_Service_Medal_(for_Indian_Army) says

"To be awarded the medal men must have served at least 18 years"

I think all you can do is go through the Indian Army Lists for quite a long period of time, using the link for online volumes in the post above.

 

You could try writing to the National Archives of India for a service record, but I have only heard of there being WW2 service records.  For a long period of time including the 1920s, British Officers were given their service records when they retired. Possibly the same also applied to Indian Officers.

 See the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Indian  Army https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

 

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BP1

Thanks for getting back to me both Maureene and Alf.

Yes, I’ve been following the entries in the Indian Army Lists and beginning to build a picture of his (assuming it’s indeed him) service.

I’m now trying to move into more of the granular history of him and the regiment(s) he was possibly attached to. For instance, I have sourced the ribbons for the first three of his medals (Victory Medal/British War Medal/1914-1915 Star), to frame them for my mother – he was her father. However, The Indian Army Meritorious Service Medal was presented with a plain crimson ribbon from 1888 (when the medal was instigated) until 1917, after 1917 this medal would have had a ribbon with white stripes on the crimson background. So, it’s information like that including theatres of war he potentially served in (so far there is an entry of service in Aden

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31277/supplement/4549

Thanks for steering me towards the National Archives of India for a service record Maureene, I’ll check out that lead. I suppose (I’m thinking out loud now) if I can find specific regimental documents – unlikely – or possibly accounts of the regimental histories, I may be able to piece more information from that.

Thanks again, Bobby

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