I have a medal to the Supply & Transport Corps, Madras Command, Secunderabad District., a cook . This was a corps of syce, 350 strong, sent to South Africa in early 1902, primarily, I presume, from the available documents that I have been able source, to provide labour for the Remount Stations.
From the Report of the Remount Department in South Africa WO32/8761/115
An idea of the enthusiasm for service in South Africa is found in "The Homeward Mail from India, China and the East Monday" 24th March 1902.. This applies more to the Bangalore District but I imagine would be applicable. It is worth remembering that India was in the grip of a massive famine so any work opportunities would be highly desirable.
“The recruiting of syce for service with the Remount Depot in South Africa has become so popular in Bangalore that not only cooks and shoe makers, but even native policemen, are volunteering. One of the latter was apprehended on leaving the station as a syce with a batch, and on being placed before a magistrate was fined a month’s pay, or in default a fortnight’s imprisonment. During the past month about 600 followers of the various classes have been recruited here for South Africa, being encouraged by the good reports of the returning syce and others”
Finally from "The Homeward Mail" 28th April 1902
Looking for Salutries, Salootries and Veterinary Duffadars.
I collect primarily QSAs to Indian Recipients.
Since the 17th Bengal Lancers were in existence from 1900 to 1903 "very few medal can therefore exist to this title" (Ian McInnes "A Indian Cavalry Regiment" Coin and Medal News, January 1988.) Ian McInnes had a China Medal & there are 3 bronze medals that have been for sale.