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Reserved occupations


reformbill
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I've seen suggestions that inefficient (ie low yield) farmers were much less likely to get exemptions that efficient ones on the assumption that the war effort would be better if a more effective farmer took over. This was certainly formalised in WW2. Not good for "organic" types.

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Thanks Graham for offering further information on Military Service Act. Have sent you PM

Very informative posts Seasider and Centurion.

WIth regard to 'conditional exemption' -would a main condition be that the man concerned was not to change his occupation for the duration of the war ? Regards, Michael Bully

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At some point i will try & list the lads whose tribunals were "unsuccesfull". As i said earlier this detail is only really relevant to similar farming communities, and even then maybe only similar communities in Wiltshire, other areas of the country may have different boundaries.

I find this aspect of the Great War very interesting to follow, the line about the Army being better than being a cowman almost suggests that persons own opinion!

I believe i would be right in stating that no two tribunals were similar, and that they worked within "the spirit" of the regulations layed down.

What i did find interesting at first was the number of men who were not within the village in 1918 who were liste earlier, my first assumption (wronly i now believe) was that they moved around to dodge the system, however given the sometimes mobile nature of certain aspects of farming life it would be wrong to think that way.

I would be interested to see results from other areas of the country.

Bob

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What i did find interesting at first was the number of men who were not within the village in 1918 who were liste earlier, my first assumption (wronly i now believe) was that they moved around to dodge the system, however given the sometimes mobile nature of certain aspects of farming life it would be wrong to think that way.

Shepherds and ploughmen for example being very peripatetic.

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Here we go lads who applied/were applied for but later served,as i say this only can be used against the list i supplied earlier for Purton(Wiltshire).

BALL, Sidney John.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: March 1916.

Details: Joint tenant with his father of a 59 acre farm.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Dill Farm 1914 voters list, 1918 voters list for Purton Parish

(a NM), Dill Farm.

BUNCE, Percy Morris.

Enlisted: 09/12/1915, Swindon. (Derby Scheme Group 1).

Occupation: Market Gardener / Farm hand.

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: Purton. Father (Unnamed) detailed living in Pavenhill, Purton.

Extracts from: Service record.

63103 1st (Garrison) Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. “Home Service only”.

10/12/1915 Transferred to Army reserve.

21/03/1916 Mobilized.

21/03/1916 Discharged.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: March 1916.

Details: Market gardener and retail salesman.

Finding: Exemption refused.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: April 1916.

Details: Market gardener, Pavenhill.

Finding: Exemption refused.

01/05/1918 Mobilized at Trowbridge.

08/05/1918 Posted to 1st (Garrison) Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, Devizes.

17/05/1918 Dublin, occupation cards dispatched.

20/08/1918 Medically examined in Dublin.

21/02/1919 Discharged to Z class Army reserve, address given as Odd time Cottage, Purton.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name on Remembrance list in St Mary’s (Listed as Maurice, 1st Garrison Battalion Warwickshire Regiment), National Archive details (Service records), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM) Pavenhill.

BURGESS, Ernest William.

Enlisted: 01/12/1915, Swindon.

Age given: Born 27/03/1889.

Occupation: Baker.

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: Son of John and Mary Burgess, High Street, Purton.

Extracts from: Service record (Royal Navy).

2093 (S) Royal Marines Light Infantry.

02/12/1915 Transferred to Army reserve.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: December 1916.

Details: Baker, brother had already died in Military Service.

Finding: Temporary exemption granted until March 1st.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: April 1917.

Details: Bakers business sold to Mr Durnford.

Finding: Clear for Army call up.

03/05/1917 Mobilized.

12/05/1917 to 25/06/1917 Regimental Depot Deal.

29/06/1917 to 16/03/1917 RM Brigade.

26/10/1917 Wounded in action, severe gunshot wound in the left wrist and forearm.

16/11/1917 The North Wilts Herald reported that Ernest was in the Birkenhead War Auxiliary Hospital.

17/03/1918 to 06/05/1918 Plymouth.

07/05/1918 to 13/03/1919 Cyclops II (Shore base in the Orkneys which had on its books the men of the RMLI and

Royal Marine Artillery manning the Scapa Flow shore defences).

16/04/1919 Demobilized.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church, 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), High Street.

BUXTON, Albert Peter.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: August 1917.

Details: Gardener for Captain Richardson at Purton House.

Finding: Exemption granted for 1 month.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church (RAF), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), The Lodge.

DIXON, Ivan Harold.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: March 1917.

Details: Aged 23, single. Applied for by his father on medical grounds, the Chairman declared that the Army could sort it out.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Queen Street, Braydon.

EVELEIGH, William Charles.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: May 1916.

Details: (aged 27) Tribunal hearing was found to have taken place in Swindon; I believe this was heard on appeal from Williams employers at New Swindon (East Street) Industrial Co-operative society (No 5 branch). The hearing also listed the names of 2 other Co-Operative employees. The tribunal heard that William was married and the manager of the branch in Purton that had a weekly turnover of 100 pounds, the society had originally employed 47 men but now employed 27 women and men over Army age.

Finding: Exemption granted for 14 days.

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: Purton. NOK listed as Eva (Wife) 5 Station Road, Purton. Son of Thomas and Mercy Eveleigh of 5 Whiteman St, Gorse Hill, Swindon. William was born in Hallsbrow, Somerset; his Father Thomas was a railway signalman which possibly brought the family to Wiltshire (1914 voters list records William’s address as Station Road and No3 Osbourne Terrace, Rodbourne, Swindon).

MIC details / Medal entitlement.

25773 6th (Service) Battalion (A Company), Wiltshire Regiment.

British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Extracts from: Wiltshire Regiment War diary, Red Cross files.

10/04/1918 Taken POW at Wytschaete, Belgium.

Death / Burial / Memorial details (CWGC details).

Died whilst a Prisoner Of War in Germany aged 30 on the 24th October 1918. Remembered on the TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Panel 119/120. (Flanders, Belgium). William’s name is included on Swindon`s Roll of Honour.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Purton War Memorial (Recorded as W.EVELEIGH), Memorial Board in St Mary’s Church, name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church, SDGW listing.

GARDNER, Gilbert David.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: May 1916.

Details: Aged 18 ½, applied for by his father Mr Gardener (Baker).

Finding: Exemption refused.

MIC details / Medal entitlement. (Possibly)

M2/265592 Army Service Corps.

British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church (Royal Army Service Corps, MT), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Church Street.

GRIFFEN, Henry George.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: March 1916.

Details: Milker employed by Mr Wilkins.

Finding: Exemption refused.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: April 1916.

Details: Cowman of the Row, Purton.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Bentham.

HALE, William Henry.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: August 1917.

Details: Aged 27, single. Gardener to Miss Russell. Stated he was looking after the house whilst she was away working as a Red Cross Auxiliary.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Hyde.

MORSE, Charles.

Enlisted: (Short Service) 12/12/1915, Shirehampton. (Derby Scheme Group 14).

Age given: 31 years 6 months.

Occupation: Hawker, Farm Labourer.

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: The Green, Purton. NOK listed as Martha Ann Morse (Mother).

MIC details / Medal entitlement.

214367 ASC (Remount), 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment.

Silver War Badge.

Extracts from: Pension record.

13/12/1915 Transferred to Army reserve.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: March 1916.

Details: Hawker.

Finding: Exemption refused.

18/03/1916 Mobilized.

18/03/1916 Relegated.

04/08/1916 Mobilized and Posted ASC (Remount)

13/02/1917 Posted 3rd Cavalry reserve.

03/09/1917 Discharged not fit for War Service.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: National Archive details (Pension records).

PONTING, Fred Bruce.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: April 1917.

Details: Aged 23, single. Applied for by his father Mr E Ponting, Braydon.

Finding: Exemption granted for 1 month.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Church farm, Braydon.

ROBSON, Basil Robert Mayon.

Enlisted: (Territorial Force, 4 years Service in the United Kingdom) 01/09/1914, The Limes, Swindon.

Age given: 26 years 5 Months. Born Hampshire

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: NOK listed as William Robson (Father) Purton, Wilts. (Mother, Mary)

Extracts from: Pension record.

22 Army Vets (T)

12/09/1914 Promoted to Cpl.

16/10/1914 Discharged medically unfit, para 156 TF Reg (11).

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: August 1917.

Details: Applied for by his Father. Worked at Army Remount Depot, application was supported by Colonel Ryder.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

MIC details / Medal entitlement.

French RX (Red Cross), driver.

Victory Medal.

00/09/1918 Arrived France (Detail from MIC).

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church (Royal Army Veterinary Corps, 1/1 Wessex section, V.M Driver No4 section. British mbulance Committee, Attached French Ambulance), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish ® Manor Hill.

SCOTT, Walter George.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: March 1916.

Details: Working on his fathers Farm (Haxmore).

Finding: Exemption granted for 6 months.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Haxmoor Farm.

SELBY, Edward.

19/07/1917 Letter sent from Army Breaking Depot (Purton) stating that an application for exemption had been sent to the tribunal in Wootton Bassett for H F Sutton and E Selby. Letter signed by Col Ryder, D.A.D.R No2 circle.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: August 1917.

Details: Applied for by Mr Robson. Worked at Army Remount Depot, application supported by Colonel Ryder.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church (Royal Field Artillery) 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM) The Fox. (See ROBSON for details of the Purton Remount Depot).

SELBY, James Telling.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: February 1917.

Details: Aged 37, single. Cowman applied for by Mr Dash of Quarry Road, stated that Selby was his only farmhand.

Finding: Conditional exemption.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), The Fox.

SELWOOD, Walter John.

Enlisted: (Short Service) 12/12/1915, Swindon. (Derby Scheme Group 37).

Age given: 31 years 6 months.

Occupation: Agricultural labourer.

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: Lower Pavenhill. NOK listed as Alice Mary Selwood (nee Telling), wife, married 08/05/1915, living at Pavenhill. 3 children listed, Ida Mary Telling (16/05/1913) Illegitimate, Annie May (10/05/1915), and Elsie Elizabeth (08/09/1916). Brother of Richard George Selwood listed above.

MIC details / Medal entitlement.

38990 3rd (Reserve) Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.

British War Medal, Victory Medal, Silver War Badge.

Extracts from: Service record.

12/12/1915 Transferred to Army reserve.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: October 1916.

Details: Married with 3 children, a pigman and ploughman employed by Mr William Ball a market gardener with 11 acres.

Finding: Deferment dismissed.

Extracts from: Service record. Other Service numbers found on records were 216084, Royal Field Artillery and 112511Tank Corps (Not on MIC).

14/12/1917 Mobilized.

20/01/1917 Posted 7th reserve Brigade RFA.

09/07/1917 Charged for overstaying leave, 2 days pay.

11/08/1917 Compulsory transferred to Machine Gun Corps (MGC).

21/08/1917 Charged for overstaying leave 9 days pay.

25/08/1917 Transferred 3rd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment

22/10/1917 To France.

24/10/1917 Posted 2/5th East Lancashire Regiment.

12/04/1918 Returned to England, to hospital Newcastle-on –Tyne.

02/08/1918 Discharged,” no longer physically fit for war service”.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church, National Archive details (Service records), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (RO) Lower Pavenhill.

SHAILES, Ralph.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: January 1917.

Details: Single, gardener applied for by his mother. Declared that 3 other sons were in the Army already, 2 other sons under 14 years of age. She had a large garden including poultry and stated that her husband had died July 1916.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church (Royal Flying Corps), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Hyde.

SIMPKINS, Edward James.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: September 1916.

Details: (aged 30) Married milk seller, passed for general Service. The tribunal heard that he had 6 cows in milk, 1 due to calve next month on 25 acres pasture. Also ¼ acre allotment with no employees.

Finding: Exemption until 1 December months granted.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Later joined up as he is listed on the 1918 voters list (a NM), Stoke. Unable to find further documentation.

SMITH, Sapper George Arthur.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: October 1916.

Details: (aged 40) Married with 1 child. Plasterer and Slater by trade passed for Garrison duty abroad. The tribunal heard that he had employed 4 – 8 men, now only his Brother was employed and he was due for Military Service. The business established for 52 years, he had 3 sisters in the village.

Finding: Exemption until 31 December granted.

Enlisted: (Enrolment paper, Military Service act 1916) 21/12/1916, Swindon.

Age given: 40 years 11 months.

Occupation: Master Builder.

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: Alma House, Purton. NOK listed as Nellie Harriet Smith (Nee Hedges). Wife, married 06/07/1907. Two children are listed,????? George, born 26/08/1913 and Anthony Stanley born 07/06/1917.

MIC details / Medal entitlement.

217199 Royal Engineers.

British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Extracts from: Service record. On enlistment stated a wish to serve with The Flying Corps.

15/09/1917 Transferred from C Company, 1st RB Royal Engineers, Brompton.

16/09/1917 Transferred to B Company Chatham.

14/12/1917 Attached to Canadian Engineers Western on the Green.

19/04/1918 Transferred to E Company Royal Engineers, Chatham.

Transferred to BEF.

20/02/1919 Discharge papers show 134 Army Troops Company, Royal Engineers. Theatre of War France. Address shown as “Croftdene”, Purton.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: National Archive details (Service records), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Station Road.

STANLEY, George.

Enlisted: 10/12/1915, Swindon. (Derby Scheme Group 45).

Age given: 39 years 11 months.

Occupation: Licensed Victualler.

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: Greyhound Hotel, Pavenhill, Purton. NOK listed as Luannie (Wife, married 15/05/1900, Gloucester). One child is listed Lucy Adelaide born 18/02/1901, Wootton Bassett.

Extracts from: Service record.

111077 RAMC.

688597 Labour Corps.

11/12/1915 Transferred to Army reserve.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: June 1916.

Details: Licensee of the Greyhound Public House also had capitol invested in the business. The tribunal heard that his wife would be to nervous to manage the Pub.

Finding: Exemption for 2 months granted.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: February 1917.

Details: Applied for an extension to look after his pigs. He stated that they were not ready for slaughter and that he would lose money if he sold them now.

Finding: Exemption until April 1st.

03/04/1917 Mobilized.

12/05/1917 Posted to “G” Company, RAMC.

05/09/1917 2nd training Battalion, RAMC.

The Labour Corps Service number allocated to George was issued between May and September 1918.

06/02/1919 Chisledon.

07/02/1919 Discharge paperwork shows 651 Company, Agricultural Labour Corps (Devizes). Address shown as

Hook near Wootton Bassett.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1915 Kelly’s directory (Greyhound Public House), National Archive details (Service records). Not listed on the 1918 voters list.

SUTTON, Sgt Harold Frederick.

Enlisted: (Short Service) 11/12/1915, Swindon. (Derby Scheme Group 7).

Age given: 24 years 6 months.

Occupation: Looking after Army horses (Groom). (See ROBSON for details of the Purton Remount Depot).

Address / Next Of Kin, family details: Church Field, Purton. NOK listed as Albert Sutton (Father).

Extracts from: Service record.

178134 Machine Gun Corps.

12/12/1915 Transferred to Army reserve.

19/07/1917 Letter sent from Army Breaking Depot (Purton) stating that an application for exemption had been sent to the tribunal in Wootton Bassett for H F Sutton and E Selby. Letter signed by Col Ryder, D.A.D.R No2 circle.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: August 1917.

Details: Applied for by Mr Robson. Worked at Army Remount Depot, application supported by Colonel Ryder.

Finding: Conditional exemption granted.

18/10/1918 Mobilized.

19/10/1918 “E” MGC training Battalion.

25/10/1918 Hospital in Cannock chase with Influenza until 03/12/1918.

17/12/1919 Demobilized.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: National Archive details (Service records).

WEBB, Oliver Tom.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: March 1917.

Details: Market gardener, applied for by his mother.

Finding: Exemption refused.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Queens Street, Braydon..

WOOLFORD, George Ernest.

DEFERMENT OF SERVICE TRIBUNAL

Date: October 1916.

Details: (aged 28) Milker employed by Job Simpkins at Pry farm with 70 acres grass with 15 cows.

Finding: Exemption until 1April granted. (Later joined up, see detail below).

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church (Royal Garrison Artillery), 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), The Pry.

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  • 10 months later...

In Seasider's listings, there are a considerable number of men granted a "conditional exemption".

What might that mean? A deferment until the harvest was in, or until Land Army women could be found? Or is it something else?

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There were three types of exemption

  • Permanent
  • Conditional
  • Temporary

Conditional could be on the grounds of National Interest, Hardship and Illness. National Interest could be for example if you were employed in essential war work and your exemption was conditional on your continued employment in this. Illness was for a non permanent condition, conditional until you got better. Hardship appears to be on things like caring for a dying close relative. Temporary seems to be for situations were you can put a date on the deferment (the harvest will be in by October for example)

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I would point out that the word "permanent" was never used. The wording in the final version of the Military Service Bill reads thus:

Any certificate of exemption may be absolute, conditional, or temporary, as the authority by whom it was granted think best suited to the case,and also in the case of an application on conscientious grounds, may take the form of an exemption from combatant service only, or may be conditional on the applicant being engaged in some work which in the the opinion of the Tribunal dealing with the case is of national importance. (Military Service (No 2) Act, 1916 2 (3)

The word "absolute" was taken to mean, by Sir Walter Long, President of the Local Government Board, whose organisation was tasked to oversee the running of the Military Service Tribunals, as " without conditions".

TR

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I would point out that the word "permanent" was never used.

It was certainly used. See this entry on the Chippenham Tribunal

Sitting of the Exemption Board – Monday (8 May 1916)

In the case of Harry Button, 33 and single of 44 New Road, Chippenham. The manager of the grocery and chemists business in Market Place formerly belonging to Alderman JC Coles (died April 1916). The chairman said that the facts of the case were that Mr Button had applied for exemption and the Tribunal gave him 4 months. The Army was prepared to grant Mr Button a permanent exemption because of his occupation as a chemist. He was trained to issue all medicines apart from controlled poisons. This put him into the exemption class. Mr Button argued that because he was not able to prescribe all medicines then he should not be exempt. The tribunal awaited a further review of the case.

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Not good enough I'm afraid Centurion, the context of my post is obvious and unfortunately you happened to pick the wrong bit of the internet to look at. In any event, the tribunal could not have granted him such an exemption as the legislation makes clear . Facts sir, facts.

TR

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Sorry you can't deny you said "I would point out that the word "permanent" was never used." and it most certainly was and this is only one example I can provide plenty more. And less of the sneering please.

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Centurion

Nobody is sneering at you, I deal in facts, you deal in any information that suits your attempt be right. You are very good at isolating bits of posts to get yourself out of a hole but it doesn't wash with me.

Grumpy

Semantics has no part to play in this. If you read my post carefully, you will see that. The fact is, that all certificates of exemption could be removed if the authorities so wished ,including absolute certificates of exemption, absolute meaning "without condition". That hardly makes them permanent and the word was never used in the legislation.

TR

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The inference that I do not read all posts carefully is perhaps a form of covert sneering. However, on this thread I have said what I have said and do not wish to add to it.

Rejoice!

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It was certainly used. See this entry on the Chippenham Tribunal

Sitting of the Exemption Board – Monday (8 May 1916)

In the case of Harry Button, 33 and single of 44 New Road, Chippenham. The manager of the grocery and chemists business in Market Place formerly belonging to Alderman JC Coles (died April 1916). The chairman said that the facts of the case were that Mr Button had applied for exemption and the Tribunal gave him 4 months. The Army was prepared to grant Mr Button a permanent exemption because of his occupation as a chemist. He was trained to issue all medicines apart from controlled poisons. This put him into the exemption class. Mr Button argued that because he was not able to prescribe all medicines then he should not be exempt. The tribunal awaited a further review of the case.

Isn't this a case of a journalist interpreting an official statement?

His translation of 'absolute' as 'permanent'.

Kath.

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  • 1 month later...

I too have been looking for some information on people with reserved occupations in WW1. I do not live locally to look up newspapers of the time and wondered if anyone could be of help. I believe my grandfather Frederick Gleave born 1882 in Oldham Lancs and living in Manchester at the time of the war, worked on making the aeroplanes in AVRose probably in Ancoats, Manchester. Would like any further information on him if possible.

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  • 1 month later...

Just ti

It was certainly used. See this entry on the Chippenham Tribunal

Sitting of the Exemption Board – Monday (8 May 1916)

In the case of Harry Button, 33 and single of 44 New Road, Chippenham. The manager of the grocery and chemists business in Market Place formerly belonging to Alderman JC Coles (died April 1916). The chairman said that the facts of the case were that Mr Button had applied for exemption and the Tribunal gave him 4 months. The Army was prepared to grant Mr Button a permanent exemption because of his occupation as a chemist. He was trained to issue all medicines apart from controlled poisons. This put him into the exemption class. Mr Button argued that because he was not able to prescribe all medicines then he should not be exempt. The tribunal awaited a further review of the case.

Just to follow up on Harry Button...died of dysentery in Salonika 29 Jun 1918 whilst serving with the ASC.

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  • 1 year later...

I, and my wife, are starting to research what our grandfathers did in WW1. I am fairly certain my two (grandfathers 1 & 2) were in reserved occupations, whilst one of my wife's (grandfather 3) was as well. Her other grandfather served (we think) in the Royal Engineers (service no:238583 and WR202957). He was a railway signalman in civilian life so we assume he was with the railways in France.

However, grandfather 1 was an engineer and pre-war was working for a company in Peterborough (Peter Brotherhoods) & I believe involved in the manufacture of turbines for the Royal Navy.

Grandfather 3, coincidentally, also worked for Brotherhoods. He had been a boot & shoe repairer and was short in stature with bad eyesight. His daughter told us he had worked on making wings for the aircraft of the RFC.

Grandfather 2 was a coal miner in South Wales.

How did a worker gain a 'reserved occupation' status - did he apply for it or did his employed?

Is there a register of these available to search?

What recognition did they wear to prove to the outside world they were in reserved occupations and not shirkers and cowards?

Thanks, as always, for any help.

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There have been two recent posts on Reserved Occupations - see 'Other', and 'At Home'. You may find something of interest. And also in 'At Home' a recent post 'Coal Miners - Reserved Occupation?'

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  • Admin

The issue of 'reserved occupations' or 'scheduled trades' and 'certified occupations' developed throughout the war. Although fairly complex and many amendments and additions there were three main phases which coincided with recruitment, voluntary enlistment 1914-15; the Derby or Group Scheme 1915 and the Military Service Act from March 1916.

Initially anyone could volunteer for the Army and many coal miners, railway workers, engineers did so . At this stage the demand for men for the Army meant no thought was given to 'reserved occupations'. It was soon realised that this policy led to a shortage of skilled workers and as a result in certain trades men needed the permission of their employer to volunteer.

As early as February 1915 engineering and shipbuilding companies introduced 'on war service badges' together with a card or certificate, although unofficial they offered some protection from the pressure to enlist. The Admiralty introduced an official 'on war service badge' scheme (Google images for examples or search the forum) the same year, similar systems were introduced following the 'munitions crisis' by the newly formed Miinistry of Munitions and the War Office. In spite of what you may read elsewhere on the forum these were lapel badges and it became a criminal offence to wear one if you were not entitled to do so. An essential part of the scheme was the 'trade' or 'badge certificate' which had to match the number on the badge and gave the details of the holder. The wearers became known as 'badged men'.

Following the National Registration Act 1915 men in essential industries had an asterisk, or 'star' placed against their name on their 'pink' form, in common usage these were 'starred' men. For an introduction to National Registration see

http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/socialpolitical/research/economicsocialhistory/historymedicine/scottishwayofbirthanddeath/warandnationalregistration/

Local advisory boards/tribunals were set up to consider exemptions from military service on occupational grounds and apparent anomalies in the definition of 'essential trades'. In November 1915 the Government published a Lists of Scheduled Trades for the guidance of the tribunals.

Grandfather 1 and 3 probably came under List A 'Occupations required for production of munitions' although a boot and shoe maker engaged in the production of army boots was also exempt under List D. All coal miners working underground were exempt under List B and, incidentally railway signalmen under List C. These exemptions did not apply to those who were already in the Army.

This was the system in place when the Derby or Group Scheme was introduced and remained in force until the Military Service Act March 1916, the basic provisions and exemptions under this Act are on the parent site the LLT (link top left). I posted the link to a free download of certified trades and other pamphlets relevant to the Act from TNA on one of the threads referred to above.

This poster from December 1915 briefly explains the situation for single 'badged' and 'starred' men under the terms of the Act http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/28365

[initially the provisions of the MSA only applied to single men but that distinction did not last long.] The role of the tribunals created above was extended to consider exemptions under the MSA.

Very few records of the local tribunals have survived, although their deliberations were often published in local newspapers. Records were probably kept by employers and again there might be some in an archive somewhere but not easily accessible. There was no National register that is available to search.

Engineer is a fairly generic term but I'd guess Grandfather 1 had a trade e.g. fitter; mechanic (1911 Census?) which meant he was exempt when the various regulations came in and remained so throughout the war, similarly Grandfather 2, the coal miner. In other words they were 'badged men' and their trade or badge certificate entitled them to exemption as broadly outlined above.

Grandfather 3 probably failed the medical due to his eyesight and height in 1914, and although demand meant standards were less stringent post 1916 his occupation allowed him to apply for exemption with the support of his employer after the introduction of the Military Service Act. Though we don't have details it's possible his job could have been taken over by a woman as it was not his original trade and therefore seems to have been semi-skilled. Though for all we know he could have been conscripted and failed the medical again in which case he came under a different class of exemption under the Act.

Ken

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An interesting anomaly was that farm labourers were starred but farmers were not considered to be in a reserved occupation.

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An interesting anomaly was that farm labourers were starred but farmers were not considered to be in a reserved occupation.

Unfortunately it was not as straightforward as that. Following national registration a number of agricultural occupations were 'starred' in the original scheduled occupation list but they did not include farm labourers. Many of these agricultural occupations were later removed from the scheduled list the following year.

The system was not neat and there was widespread controversy over how local tribunals inconsistently applied the guidance in various parts of the country. I believe 'farmers' were not ’starred’ as they were considered (as later defined) ‘proprietors’ or 'the directing hand' rather than an 'occupation'.

With the introduction of the Military Service Act farmers as a class (including fruit farmers and market gardeners) were granted exemption from military service by the Board of Agriculture. The procedure under the Act was that each farmer had to apply for a certificate of exemption from the local tribunal and provided the criteria set out in the Act was met this would usually be granted although the military authorities could object on limited and specified grounds. The Act also set out certain parameters for example a farmer could claim exemption for one man, preferably not of military age to manage a certain number of animals, each species set down in the regulations under the Act.

The law was open to some abuse, farms were quietly passed on to sons; a ploughman could be given a parcel of land ‘to farm’ and there were some legal challenges.

Ken

btw thanks to Uncle George for posting the certificate.

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