36mm wide circular silver medal with ornate scrolled swivel ribbon suspension bar with ‘PUNJAB FRONTIER 1897-98’, ‘SAMANA 1897’ & TIRAH 1897-98 clasps; the face with the crowned veiled head of Queen Victoria facing left, showing pawn broker mark & circumscribed ‘VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX’ (Victoria Queen and Empress) and signed ‘T.B. (for the sculptor Sir Thomas Brock KCB, RA, 1847-1922 whose most famous works include the statue of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial at Kensington and the Imperial Memorial to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace); the reverse with the full-length figures of British and Indian soldiers holding a standard, circumscribed ‘INDIA’ to the left and ‘1895’ to the right; attributed on the edge: 78939 Gunr H Steel 9th Fld By R.A. (Gunner H Steel, 9th Field Battery, Royal Artillery) on correct ribbon. (Note the rare campaign bar Samana 1897).
The medal was instituted in 1896 and replaced the existing India General Service Medal which had been in use since 1854. Like its predecessor, it was awarded for minor actions where no specific campaign medal was created.