The Duke of Wellington is reported to have held the view that the rank and file of the British Army had "all enlisted for drink" and that "the parent of every other military offence is drunkenness". It is therefore of no surprise he was keen to hear of any Temperance Societies being formed in the Army
The first Military Temperance Society was founded in Kolkata in India on August 29th in 1832 and by 1836 it was reported that there was barely a regiment without a Temperance Society. By 1844 it was recorded that 3,551 soldiers had signed the pledge.
In 1845 a United Military Temperance Society was formed in London but Wellington then dealt the Temperance cause a body blow by outlawing Regimental Temperance Societies. It was 15 years before Temperance activity began again in the Army, societies being formed in India and in the Cape and in 1862 the Soldier's Total Abstinence Association was founded and spread widely.
In 1867 silver medals began to be awarded to abstianers of 12 months standing and by 1874 it was estimated there were over 8,000 abstaining soldiers.
Temperance organisations active in the Army included the International Order of Good Templars (IOGT), the Army Temperance Association India (ATAI), the Royal Army Temperance Association: India/Home (RATA) and the Indian Army Temperance Association.