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Discharged 1916


pgardiner1418
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All,

On Saturday I came across a man who enlisted in 7th Battalion The King's Liverpool regiment in the 2nd week of September 1914, his number being consistent with this joining date.

The gentleman had no previous military experience but was discharged in early 1916 the reason given on his discharge being "Military Service Act" within a week or so of his discharge he had joined the Royal Navy serving with them until the end of the war.

At first this made little sense as he seemed fit but had not moved with the battalion to France in March 1915.

I wonder if this man, after joining up, began to have second thoughts about the war and refused to sign the Imperial Service Agreement with the rest of his comrades in January 1915 the discharge occurring so as to put him in a higher category for conscription, his joining the Navy being his way around going to France?

Because of my commitments on the day I was unable to make a note of the mans name.

Has anyone come across anything similar?

All the best,

Paul

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There were men who by 1916 had still refused to sign the I.S.O. and were on home service - There was a push to keep them in the army long enough to retain them under the MSA rather than discharge them although some men seem to have been discharged before then having to be conscripted.

What was planned to have happened was , unless there was a reason they weren't eligible to serve under the MSA 1916, was to make them stay in service and apply for exemption before releasing them. I have a few questions regarding this myself that I might open a new thread on.

Married men also fell outside of the initial 1916 act and were subject to release.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1916/mar/08/territorial-force-home-service

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1916/mar/07/territorial-force-home-service

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I think that when conscription came into force those men who had not signed the Imperial Service Agreement and kept back for home service where deemed to be now available for overseas service anyway so discharging him to make him liable for conscription would seem to be a waste of time and effort when they could ship him off to France anyway.

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Gentlemen,

Thank you for your input.

The thing I cannot understand is exactly as you state. Men of 1/7th King's around his number who also declined the Imperial Agreement seem to automatically have been moved to the 2/7th Battalion or in some cases to the 3/7th the only real difference seems to be that a lot of these men had family commitments while this particular man is single, of military age and no previous connection with the Navy.

To me the logical thing to have done was to hold on to him until the 1916 Act kicked in.

Thanks again,

Paul

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To me the logical thing to have done was to hold on to him until the 1916 Act kicked in.

It would have been but presumably there was a reason to release him - it's just a case of finding it...

Perhaps he was over age

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1916/mar/07/territorial-force-home-service#S5CV0080P0_19160307_HOC_111

"Single officers and men of the Territorial Force under forty-one years of age not coming within the exceptions provided for in the First Schedule of the Military Service Act were at liberty to put in a claim for exemption. If they are not exempted and if they have made no claim for exemption they are discharged from the Territorial Force and simultaneously become Reservists under the Military Service Act. There is no interval between the ending of the Territorial status and the beginning of the Reservist status.

Craig

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Craig,

Re the "over age" idea. The lady who's relative it was had photographs of him in both King's Regiment and Naval uniform I would put his age at no more than 22.

As you say there is a reason somewhere.

Thanks,

Paul.

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Re the "over age" idea. The lady who's relative it was had photographs of him in both King's Regiment and Naval uniform I would put his age at no more than 22.

Ah well, another one bites the dust.

Craig

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Craig,

I have been giving a little more thought to this problem and am beginning to wonder if it is not just a case of simple contract law which may have worked as follows.

Man joins 1/7th Battalion Sept 1914 signing a legal document which allows home service.

Refuses to sign for Imperial Service Jan 1915.

1/7th Battalion proceeds overseas March 1915.

Man transfers along with others who do not sign to 2/7th Battalion.

Military Service Act passed 1916.

Those who did not sign offered the chance to alter their terms so as to stay with 2/7th Battalion, most do.

This man still refuses to sign therefore in law his original contract is still valid, the only way to change the terms of the contract is to discharge him knowing that he is a single man who now has military experience thus putting him quite high in the league of suitable draftees.

Man realises this and joins the Navy as soon as he gets home thus avoiding France.

This is the best sense I can come up with and would explain why it was quite a rare occurrence.

All the best,

Paul.

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Just a thought

presumably he was from Liverpool, Could the man have had some nautical skill/experience of value to the RN?

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My understanding is:

The intention of the army was that the MSA didn't include men who weren't liable for foreign service - this would mean that the men who where 'Home Service' men could have been left alone if the army so wished.

The army however decided that they would unilaterally cancel the home service engagement with effect from the start of the MSA and apply the terms to all men they wished to cover - presumably there were acts of parliament in place that allowed the government to chance terms during the war at their discretion.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1916/mar/07/territorial-force-home-service#S5CV0080P0_19160307_HOC_111

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1916/mar/08/territorial-force-home-service#S5CV0080P0_19160308_HOC_46

Craig


presumably he was from Liverpool, Could the man have had some nautical skill/experience of value to the RN?

Possible but I would have thought it was a rare occurrence for a man to be moved like that. Many men did re-enlist to the RN rather than go back to the trenches.

Craig

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Bill,

The man was from Southport with no maritime skill evident.

Craig,

Brilliant there is the answer in the last paragraph of the cutting " while the men can either undertake foreign service or be discharged"

so he opts for discharge then joins the Navy as a better option to France & Flanders.

Stunning work,

Paul.

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The article seems in some ways to add to the confusion of the time as it states that the man could elect for discharge and try his luck with the MSA (which in theory was due to start the day after the home service option ended and he would be immediately re-enrolled in to the Cass B Army Reserve for service with them) whereas the discussion in Parliament was the man would be retained in the army unless he could otherwise apply for exemption.

It would appear that some men weren't retained and were discharged at their choice ( perhaps the Army where as confused as everyone else over how it worked).

The man then came under the MSA 1916 and was immediately enrolled in to the Army Reserve.

A man could however elect to make a declaration that he wished to be considered for naval service under the MSA and the Admiralty had first choice of these men.

It seems this man managed to avoid being retained in the army and then elected under the MSA for naval service.

Craig

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