A Collection of Medals to the Indian Police

Date of Auction: 25th March 2014

Sold for £3,300

Estimate: £2,500 - £3,000

A C.I.E., K.P.M. and Second Award Bar group of five to Superintendent John Coatman, Punjab Police

The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, C.I.E., Companion’s 3rd type neck badge, gold and enamel, in Garrard, London case of issue; King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue, with Second Award Bar, ‘1st January 1921’ (John Coatman Asst. Supt. Punjab Police) on ‘gallantry’ ribbon; British War and Victory Medals (J. Coatman, Fr. Constab.); India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, Afghanistan N.W.F. 1919 (J. Coatman, Police Dept.) last officially re-impressed, medals mounted as worn, good very fine (7) £2500-3000


C.I.E. London Gazette 3 June 1929; Edinburgh Gazette 4 June 1929. ‘John Coatman, Esq., Indian Police Service, Director of Public Information, Government of India’

K.P.M. London Gazette 1 January 1916. ‘Assistant Superintendent, Punjab Police.’

Recommendation reads: ‘When the recent trouble in the south-west portion of the Punjab was at its height Mr Coatman was sent from Phillaur to Muzaffargarh to assist in the suppression of dacoits in that district. Immediately on arrival Mr Coatman proceeded with a small body of reserves to Jatoi, the storm centre, where he acted with great vigour, patrolling himself night and day and sending out well organized patrol parties in different directions. Several dacoities were prevented by the energy of Mr Coatman who sent out patrols to villages likely to be attacked and himself drove off several gangs. In one of these cases he personally captured a dacoit red-handed, and, in another case, one of his patrol parties encountered and after a brief fight dispersed a gang of 500 dacoits. Mr Coatman’s firm, vigourous, and courageous action put an immediate stop to the trouble then prevailing in the Muzaffergarh District. His health subsequently broke down as a result of the strain and exposure entailed in carrying out his arduous duties.’

K.P.M. Bar London Gazette 28 January 1921 ‘Superintendent, Northwest Frontier Province Police, India.’

John Coatman was born in 1889 and was educated at Eccles Elementary School and Manchester Grammar School, 1903-07 where he gained the Langworthy Scholarship and the Walters Scholarship for Manchester University.

After Manchester University he joined the Indian Police force in 1910, being awarded the King’s Police Medal for Gallantry in 1916 and a Bar in 1921.

Returning to England, he then studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, 1921-24 and gained a First. Here he played Rugby for the College XV. Returning to India, he became Director of Government Information Services and in the same year (1926) became a Member of the Indian Parliament. In 1930 he became Professor of Political Science at Delhi University. In 1934 he returned to Manchester to take up the position of North Regional Controller of the BBC until moving on in 1949 to St Andrews University as Director of Social Science Research. In 1954 he retired and died in 1964.

From the time of his return to England he was successively Governor, Deputy Chairman and Chairman of Governors at Manchester Grammar School and was influential in the appointment of the School’s greatest modern High Master Eric (later Lord) James in 1945.

Not least amongst his achievements was to become a selector for the Scotland Rugby XV - a rare honour for an Englishman.

Author of the books: Years of Destiny: India 1926-1932 published 1932; India in 1928/29, published 1930; The Indian Riddle : A solution suggested 1932; India The Road to Self Government 1941; Police 1959; Magna Britannia 1936; The British Family of Nations 1950.

With a silver card case, 82 x 72 x 8mm., lid engraved, ‘JC’, inside inscribed, ‘To John Coatman Esq. from The Committee of the Chelmsford Club, Delhi, March 1930’, hallmarks for Birmingham 1928; with a letter to accompany a length of K.P.M. ribbon; also with a small blue leather case, 74 x 56 x 17mm., lid inscribed, ‘John Coatman’ - containing a British 1937 Crown coin; Book: Years of Destiny, India 1926-1932, by J. Coatman, C.I.E. With copied gazette extracts and other interesting research details.