Thursday, September 19, 2013

WW1 Conscription Appeals

The World War 1 Military Conscription Appeals series contains 11,000 case papers from the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal which, between 1916 and 1918, heard appeals from men who had previously applied to a local tribunal for exemption from compulsory military service. The reasons provided by applicants are varied, with applications made on moral grounds (conscientious objectors), on medical grounds (disability), on family grounds (looking after dependents) and on economic grounds (preserving a business). The vast majority of cases relate to the impact of war on a man’s family or their business interests, and the papers reveal some fascinating and tragic stories.

Due to the sensitive issues that surrounded compulsory military service during and after the First World War, only a small minority of the tribunal papers survive. In the years that followed the end of the war, the Government issued instructions to the Local Government Boards that all tribunal material should be destroyed, except for the Middlesex Appeal records and a similar set for Lothian and Peebles in Scotland, which were to be retained as a benchmark for possible future use. A sample of records from the Central Tribunal were also retained, which are also part of the series.

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