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Reserved occupations


reformbill
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I wonder if anyone could direct me to a source where I might find:

1. An official list of reserved occupations during WW1

2. Guidelines issued to Military Tribunals concerning exemptions from conscription on medical and similar grounds.

I am interested in a man whose conscription was twice deferred on medical grounds by a local tribunal. Although there is a good deal of information about conscientious objection and the way cases were handled I have been unable to find anything on the web site or the forum about the above issues. Any help would be much appreciated.

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Reformbill,

These answer to your question can be found in nearly all local newspapers printed during the war as the general public was constantly being updated about the Group System(Derby Scheme) & Military Services Act of 1916.

Prior to that you had those who had enlisted under the "Derby Scheme", known as "Voluntarily Attested Men". Myth has these men listed as conscripts, when in actual fact all were volunteers who enlisted under a Group System, being called forward as and when required. This scheme was used as a pattern for the MSA, and it too is covered in all local newspapers.

A lot of what you require is covered in Army Council Instructions from 1915 onwards.

As an added bit of interest coal mining was not a reserved occupation until the advent of the MSA. The coalfields of Durham had over 30,000 volunteers serving in the armed forces by April 1915.

Hope it's of some use to you.

Graham.

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The local newspapers I've looked at cover tribunal hearings in great detail. Worth having a look to see how things worked 'on the ground'.

Jock Bruce

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Certified Occupations appear to have been listed in a pamphlet printed by HMSO, price One Penny, a part of the Military Service Act 1916. It is a four-page folded document, with a preamble and contents on the front, followed by three pages of close-printed occupations, some marked with an H.O. (Home Office) and some with M.M. (Ministry of Munitions).

The procedures for tribunals are explained in a printed paper, (13 printed sides, 16 sides total) headed "Schedule Regulations for Tribunals under the Military Service Acts 1916". The paper I have is dated 1st June 1916, and is referred to as the "Military Service Regulations (Amendment) Order, 1916".

Not much reference is made to medical exemptions. It does say that any application for a grant, renewal, variation or withdrawal of a certificate of exemption can be postponed, at the request of the Military Representative in order that the applicant can be examined and reported upon by a medical practitioner. If the man fails to appear for this examination, then his application would fail. It also says that the costs of any such examination should not be borne by the man/applicant, and that unless the Military Representative commits Army Council funds for that purpose, the Tribunal may determine the application without requiring the man to submit to such medical examination.

Medical exemption is described as "On the ground of ill-health or infirmity".

The procedures are written in the usual very dry parliamentary language. The suggestion of reading the local paper is a very good one. Usually there is as much on the tribunal as there is about the war. And the reports usually give a very good flavour or how the regulations were put into practice, and how the local tribunals actually dealt with applications. Remembering too that there was the provision to grant an application without a tribunal hearing if all parties agreed.

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Thank you for your help Greenwoodman. You would not by any chance know where I could see copies of those documents?

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  • 6 years later...

The list was amended time after time throughout the war.

The Copyright libraries Cambridge [uni] Oxford, London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff should have them all. Cambridge certainly does.

I have photocopies of several.

PM if you are keen.

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I wonder if anyone could direct me to a source where I might find:

... Guidelines issued to Military Tribunals concerning exemptions from conscription on medical and similar grounds.

I am interested in a man whose conscription was twice deferred on medical grounds by a local tribunal.

The relevant tribunals were Military Service Tribunals, not Military Tribunals. The distinction is not simply semantic or pedantic.

"Military Tribunal" implies a tribunal set up and run by the military, as, for example, the tribunals now being held in the USA for Guantanamo Bay detainees, or tribunals organised in some European countries supposedly for assessing conscientious objection.

The Military Service Tribunals set up under the Military Service Act 1916 were appointed by local authorities and comprised local citizens. There were many things wrong with the MSA, but setting up Military Tribunals was not one of them.

As to exemptions on medical grounds, that certainly was one of the oddities of the MSA, that the primary responsibility for asessing such exemptions was a tribunal of lay people, with referral for medical examination only as an option. It appears that even when a medical opinion was sought, it was only advice, which the tribunal was not bound to accept.

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The list was amended time after time throughout the war.

The Copyright libraries Cambridge [uni] Oxford, London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff should have them all. Cambridge certainly does.

I have photocopies of several.

PM if you are keen.

clearly not that keen to take the trouble!

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Grumpy,

Do they list the diffrent railway trades ?

Grant

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  • 3 weeks later...

A question regarding Military Service Tribunals. If a man applied for exemption from military service, and the Tribunal agreed, the Military representative then appealed, and won the Appeal, what would happen next? Would the case go back to a Military Service Tribunal to be re-heard ? Or would the man just be ordered by the Appeal hearing to report for service? Responses appreciated, Michael Bully.

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Thanks Terry. Did the local Appeal Tribunal have to agree to give leave to go to the Central Tribunal ? From reading local papers coverage of the Appeal Tribunal for East Sussex, there seemed to be hardly any successful appeals.

Furthermore, going to appeal could backfire. Brighton CO Percy Horton was granted exemption from combat service on 21st March 1916 by the Brighton Tribunal. Percy Horton wanted total exemption from any type of service. He appealed but on 14th April 1916 the East Sussex Tribunal rejected his appeal AND removed his exemption from combat service. Interesting to hear that he might have had a final avenue of appeal left via the Central Tribunal. Regards, Michael Bully

Michael

There was a further avenue of appeal, to the Central Tribunal which was based in London.

TR

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There was a further avenue of appeal, to the Central Tribunal which was based in London.

Whereas there was unfettered right of appeal from a local MST to the relevant County Appeal Tribunal, appeal from the County Appeal Tribunal to the Central Tribunal was only by leave of the County Appeal Tribunal, and leave was very rarely granted - essentially only when a point of major principle was involved.

A County Appeal Tribunal hearing was essentially a rehearing of the case, and its decision could be implemented without sending it back to the local MST. Sometimes, however, a County Tribunal would refer a case back if it felt it did not have sufficient information to make a detailed decision as distinct from a decision in principle.

In Percy Hortion's case the Military Representative cross-appealed, so that the Appeal Tribunal not only refused Hortion's appeal against non-combatant service, but granted the MR's appeal and removed even that limited exemption. That was not the only case in which such a thing happened.

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Thanks for your help once again, MB. Always appreciated. From looking at local papers of the time, so far I am finding hardly any cases where the County Appeal Tribunal upheld the appeal of the CO. Regards.

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A fair bit of the tribunals work was not about exemptions (or otherwise) from service but deferment of service (for example until the harvest is in) which would often be supported by the employer (I've got to fulfil a big order of thingamajigs for the Army and this man is my only skilled whatjamacallit maker. Can you defer him going into the army until the order is complete?)

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Both my Grandfathers died before i was born, so i could never ask them. However, one was a printer. Until I started interest in the Great War, I had never thought of famile lore that he was in a Reserved occupation. Subsequently, I have wondered if this could be the case. Aged Aunt pointed out recently that he was employed by Waterlow's, the Government printers, and I suppose that ties in. Bearing in mind the multiplicity of forms generated by the war, I suppose someone had to print them all.

Could he really have been in a Reserved occupation as a Government printer?

Bruce

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Certainly .I have been meaning at some point to try to work out some statistics using local papers reporting on Military Service Tribunals . A significant number of cases concern deferments, sometimes supported by an employer. Maintaining that someone else needed to be trained to do the job -such as an older man, or a woman. A Tribunal often awarded a few months deferment.

But there were some men who argued that their job could not be done anyone else-again with the employers backing and then there was another category of men who tried to gain an exemption on the basis that they had too many dependants relying on them, such as old and disabled relatives. Tribunals gave deferments in these case for them to make other arrangements, rather than exemptions. As Magnum Bellum has pointed out, the military representative could also appeal if they felt that a Tribunal were being lenient in granting deferments and exmeptions from combatant service.

I stress my knowledge is only from reading Sussex local papers -I honestly can't say whether this county was typical or not.

A fair bit of the tribunals work was not about exemptions (or otherwise) from service but deferment of service (for example until the harvest is in) which would often be supported by the employer (I've got to fulfil a big order of thingamajigs for the Army and this man is my only skilled whatjamacallit maker. Can you defer him going into the army until the order is complete?)

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Not a helpfull reply .... but

One of my men asked for a deferal becouse he didin`t believe his wife was strong enough in nature to run his pub! The tribunal gave him 4 months to "Train" his wife in running a drinking establishment.

When he was released from Service 2 years later his address was not the pub from which he left, i have yet to find if his wife was the reason why he no longer had a pub to run.

Bob

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Not a helpfull reply .... but

One of my men asked for a deferal becouse he didin`t believe his wife was strong enough in nature to run his pub! The tribunal gave him 4 months to "Train" his wife in running a drinking establishment.

When he was released from Service 2 years later his address was not the pub from which he left, i have yet to find if his wife was the reason why he no longer had a pub to run.

Bob

Perhaps she found someone to run it with her!

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Interesting one Bob, I found it helpful . I have seen cases where it was claimed by those seeking exemption that a woman was considered to be unable to replace a man of military age doing strong physical work, but not in running a pub.

My favourite case where someone has gone for exemption on grounds of being a CO is where a man claimed that he couldn't care less whether it was the King or the Kaiser in power. The tribunal ruled that he couldn't be a Conscientious Objector as he clearly had no conscience.

Another man tried to go for exemption on the basis that he was the best beekeeper in Sussex. He failed.

Michael Bully

Not a helpfull reply .... but

One of my men asked for a deferal becouse he didin`t believe his wife was strong enough in nature to run his pub! The tribunal gave him 4 months to "Train" his wife in running a drinking establishment.

When he was released from Service 2 years later his address was not the pub from which he left, i have yet to find if his wife was the reason why he no longer had a pub to run.

Bob

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post-7376-0-06380200-1315090609.jpg

I take it, that this would be one of the documents that you are referring to?

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Thanks Graham. I have been wondering whether Tribunals got harsher in allowing exemptions and deferments as time went on from March 1916. Looks like the provisions were actually reviewed in 1917.

Noticed from reading local papers there were men who sought exemptions on the grounds that they already had a brother or brothers already serving. Some employers also argued that they already had a high number of men from their workforce serving.

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Thanks Graham. I have been wondering whether Tribunals got harsher in allowing exemptions and deferments as time went on from March 1916. Looks like the provisions were actually reviewed in 1917.

Noticed from reading local papers there were men who sought exemptions on the grounds that they already had a brother or brothers already serving. Some employers also argued that they already had a high number of men from their workforce serving.

Michael - PM me your e.mail address and I'll send the contents of it for your perusal. A lot of references to the MSA can be found in Army Council Instructions. The Index of my late July - Dec 1916 copy of ACI's has nearly 3pages covering the MSA for all of 1916.

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From my own research into the Village of Purton (Wiltshire). This small farming community also had workers at the GWR in Swindon. The Tribunals listed below only cover those who have NO evidence of Military Service 1914-18.

I believe that whilst farmers were exempt, farm workers were not.

1

Date: March 1917.

Details: Aged 26, married with 2 children, 120 acre farm.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

&

Date: April 1917.

Finding: Exemption extended.

Stoke Common Farm (1918 RO).

2

Date: February 1917.

Details: Aged 28, married. Farmer at Home lodge, White farm, Braydon.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

3

Date: March 1916.

Details: Farm labourer, Pavenhill.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

4

Date: March 1917.

Details: Aged 24, married with 1 child.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

5

Date: January 1917.

Details: Aged 22, single. Cowman, herdsman and ploughman working 200 acres on Mr E C Godfrey Jull’s farm. Mr Jull applied for time for a replacement to be found.

Finding: Application granted.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

6

Date: May 1916.

Details: Aged 36, Group 41, shoeing and general smith – shoeing horses and

mending implements for farmers. Had business for 5 years, the oldest established blacksmiths in business in Purton. The tribunal heard that there were 2 other smiths in the area.

Finding: Absolute exemption granted.

&

Date: December 1916.

Details: Blacksmith.

Finding: Adjourned for a month.

Kelly’s Directory 1915 listed at Blacksmiths, Pavenhill. 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (RO), Pavenhill.

7

Date: March 1917.

Details: Aged 29, Baker and grocer.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

&

Date: April 1917.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Shopkeeper, High Street (1915, 1918 RO).

8

Date: June 1916.

Details: Employed at Manor Farm, 80 acres including 20 acres arable. 4 horses, 11 pigs and poultry. The tribunal heard that men on the farm had been called up; the farm was currently employing a discharged soldier.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Church Farm (1914), Kelly`s Directory 1915 listed at Manor Farm as a farmer.

Listed on the 1918 voters list (RO) at Church Farm.

9

Date: March 1917.

Finding: Total exemption granted.

Listed on the 1918 voters list ® at Lower Pavenhill.

10

Date: May 1916.

Details: Milker.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

11

Date: September 1916.

Details: Single, employed by his Mother, Mrs Annie Grimes, farmer and corn merchant. 12 – 14 cows in milk, 2 horses on 32 acres on her Farm. The tribunal heard that the farm employed 1 lad under 19 and that Mrs Grimes already had 1

son in the trenches.

Finding: Exemption until 1 October granted.

&

Date: March 1918.

Details: Mrs Grimes applied for her son. Declared that she would have to sell her stock that her son was managing.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

listed on the 1918 voters list ® at Packhorse farm.

12

Date: July 1916.

Details: Aged 37, married with 3 children. Shoeing Smith and general Smith, stated he would lose the business, he worked single handedly. He also repaired agricultural implements and made Army horse shoes.

Finding: Conditional exemption.

Blacksmith, Station Road (1915, 1918 RO).

13

Date: April 1916.

Details: Farmer at Drill farm. Worked with his father on the farm.

Finding: Exemption dismissed.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

14

Date: March 1918.

Details: Aged 20, Mrs Grimes of Packhorse farm applied for her son and Hiscocks a farm labourer

Finding: Exemption refused.

15

Date: April 1916.

Details: Farmer. Tribunal heard that the previous months tribunal had been adjourned so he could produce a tenancy agreement. The Chairman stated that Mr Hughes had misled the tribunal; Mr Hughes declared that this had been unintentional.

Finding: Total Exemption granted.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

16

Date: June 1916.

Details: Carter and ploughman employed by J Paginton on Restrop farm, 200 acres in size including 160 acres for hay, 10 horses including 2 brood mares.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

17

Date: January 1918.

Details: Employed by R J Hapgood, asked for adjournment so that he may apply to the County exemption committee for an exemption voucher to the effect that he was employed on a farm working of National importance.

Finding: Conditional exemption.

18

Date: August 1917.

Details: Aged 21, Single breadmaker.

Finding: Conditional exemption.

Listed on the 1918 voters list ® at Wootton Bassett Road.

19

Date: July 1917.

Details: Aged 25, Labourer, Groom and colt breaker as well as a milker. Employed by E L Gardener (Bakers). He also carried out bread making, passed fit for labour at home.

Finding: Exemption granted.

Listed on the 1918 voters list ® at Wootton Bassett Road.

20

Date: February 1917.

Details: Farmer.

Finding: Passed fit for Garrison duty.

Lower Pavenhill Farm (1918 RO).

21

Date: March 1916.

Details: Milker, sole support for his mother and father. When told he would have to go to the Army he declared “you will have to catch me”.

Finding: Not listed.

&

Date: April 1916.

Details: Cowman of Braydon. Applied on the grounds that he was indispensable to his employer Mr Clarke who appeared in his support.

Finding: Refused, the chairman told Mr Marsh that joining the Army was better than being a cowman.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

22

Date: March 1917

Details: Farmer, applied for by his father.

Finding: Conditional exemption.

Listed on the 1918 voters list ® at Wootton Bassett Road.

23

Date: March 1917

Details: Aged 36, married with 4 children at Oak Farm, Braydon.

Finding: Conditional exemption.

Oak Farm (1914, 1918 RO).

24

Date: April 1917.

Details: Aged 18. Employed by Mr Durnford (Baker). Stated that if deferment applied he would work at munitions factory in Swindon

Finding: Exemption granted for 2 weeks.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

25

Date: May 1916.

Details: Aged 31, group 37.Manager of Mother-in laws farm.

Finding: Absolute exemption granted.

&

Date: February 1917.

Finding: Exemption until April 1st granted.

&

Date: February 1918.

Details: Aged 33, married, employed as a bailiff to Mrs Harriet Wilkins his Mother in law at Down Farm. 170 acres including 75 horned head of cattle including 49 milk cows, 21 in calf, 2 bulls and 7 stirks. The tribunal heard that besides Parker were Mrs Wilkins 2 sons aged 16 and 17 and a soldier. He had complete management of the farm and promised to keep it going until sons were old enough to take over.

Finding: Exemption until the end April granted.

Listed on the 1918 voters list at ® Downs Farm.

26

Date: August 1917.

Details: Aged 41. Applied for by L J Barnes, Builder.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

27

Date: February 1917.

Details: Foreman and milker, applied for by his father at Ponds farm.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

28

Date: March 1916.

Details: (John aged 29 and Robert 26) This tribunal appears to have been heard in regard to there employment Parsloes Farm. The tribunal heard that they were employed by their Father William on his farm. The farm was 300 acres in size

including 26 pastures, 60 cows 45 in milk. There were also 8 to 10 horses, 30 young cattle and other stock. Mr Williams daughter helped in various ways, 3 other men employed there.

Finding: John received an exemption of 3 months; Robert received an exemption until 15th October.

Both men are not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

29

Date: March 1917

Details: Working for Captain Buxton.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

30

Date: March 1917.

Details: Aged 31, married with 5 children. Farmer at Red lodge farm.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Farmer, Red Lodge Farm (1915, 1918 RO).

31

Date: January 1917.

Details: Aged 34, married. Farmer of 78 acres land, passed fit for Garrison duty abroad.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Farmer, Bentham (1915), Pry Farm (1918 RO).

32

Date: September 1916.

Details: Aged 37, married carpenter, Painter and undertaker. Father in business for 53 years, William now managed it. The tribunal also heard that he ran the public house as his Father was to feeble to manage. He had already lost his

carpenter and labourer.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Listed on the 1918 voters list ® at The Hope Inn. W Shurey is recorded as constructing the Memorial boards that can be found within the Village Church.

33

Date: February 1917.

Details: Aged 36, married with 5 children.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Farmer, Hayes Knoll (1915).

37

Date: June 1916.

Details: Married with 5 children, farmer working 150 acres land milking 27 cows, 4 in calf. The tribunal also heard he had 2 store cattle, 2 bulls, 7 horses, 2 colts and 4 pigs as well as 150 poultry. He currently employed a man and boy.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Listed on the 1918 voters list (RO) Sparcells farm.

38

Date: October 1916.

Details: Aged 39, married with 4 children. Insurance agent by trade passed C1 (Fit for Garrison duty at home), The tribunal heard his request to be sent to Munitions work.

Finding: Deferment Dismissed.

Listed on the 1918 voters list (RO) New Road.

39

Date: October 1916.

Details: Wheelwright and cycle repairer. The tribunal heard that he was the only one in the District, in business for 8 years employing 1 labourer aged 69 years. Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Kelly`s Directory 1915 lists Harry Smith as a Coach builder at Station Road and

there is a Harry Arthur Smith listed on the 1918 voters list (RO) Station Road.

40

Date: June 1918.

Details: Aged 19, single. Applied for by his Uncle, C J Iles of College farm.

Finding: Exemption granted until the end of June.

41

Date: February 1917.

Details: Aged 22, single. Cowman applied for by Henry Thomas Poole at MoonLeaze farm, 170 acres land.

Finding: Adjourned for medical.

42

Date: March 1917.

Finding: Exemption granted until September 1st.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

43

Date: October 1916.

Details: Aged 38, married with 4 children. Farmer with 88 acres with 30 milking cows and 42 beasts. The tribunal heard that he also had 100 poultry and pigs, he had already been passed for Garrison duty at home.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Farmer, Hurstead Farm (1915), Listed on the 1918 voters list (RO) at Packhorse.

44

Date: March 1916.

Details: Carpenter in the employment of Messrs Twaine (Tinker).

Finding: 6 month exemption granted.

Not listed on 1918 Purton Parish voters list.

45

Date: May 1917.

Details: Aged 41, married. Farmer with 60acres.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Farmer, Bremhill (1915, 1918 RO).

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