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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Attested and enlisted?


Taters
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Hi All

What is the different between being attested and being enlisted?

Was everyone attested then enlisted? (or vice versa?)

Any different for volunteers and conscripts?

Anything else I should know about enlistment and attestation?

Thanks :D

Taters

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I think enlistment was merely the process of 'joining up', whereas the signing of the attestation document, wherein numerous questions had to be answered correctly on pain of death (I jest), was a formal legal process.

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Correct you're "attested on enlistment", as Horatio points out enlistment is the process of joining, whereupon you were then attested and then posted to your Depot or Battalion, depending on the time period. There was no difference in enlisting procedures apart from changes in the paperwork for the "three years or duration" men.

The Militia/Special Reserve and Volunteers/Territorials went through the same processes, but their attestation documents were again printed to suite their terms of service. Hopefully a couple of Attestation heading examples will be attached.

Graham.

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And one for the Special Reserve.

Graham.

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  • 3 years later...

Could I ask some supplementaries?

At what stage was Approval, at the bottom of the Attestation form, supposed to take place, and by whom? Could recruits be said to have enlisted in the army but not yet been accepted by the particular battalion until that took place? And is joining the same as enlisting or the act of physically going to the battalion?

I have looked at hundreds of 21/KRRC forms in researching 21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen but very few others. It would be interesting to know how they compare with general practice. The Earl of Feversham, as C/O, interviewed hundreds of recruits personally, which may have been unusual.

Many of these have the Attestation signed by the attesting officer at a place near the recruit's home, and then the Approval is signed perhaps a couple of days later by the C/O of the battalion, the Earl of Feversham, or another senior officer, at Helmsley, where the battalion was being raised and trained before going to Aldershot. (The medical usually takes place on the same day as the attestation, doesn't it?)

To take an example, Francis Robert Cook, C/12234, of Acomb, York, attested at York on 15 Nov 1915, and the attesting officer was W A White, Col of the WYR, if I've read his signature correctly.

His approval was signed 'Feversham', with his stamp 'Lieut -Col, King's Royal Rifles, Comnding 21st Battn.(Yeoman Rifles)', at Helmsley, dated 17 Nov 1915. The Statement of the Services says he 'joined at Helmsley 16 Nov', so he joined before he was officially approved.

On the other hand, some have the approval section signed by the same man who signed as attesting officer, at the same place and on the same day, or by someone else at the same place on the same day. I wonder if this was allowed when the officer was sufficiently senior or what the key factors would normally be.

Liz

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Liz,

I can only speak for the RGA. A gunners approval varied enormously because of the number of men that were arriving at a particular depot. Some were approved after a few days, others after a couple of weeks. Of course a man may not have been serving immediately if mobilised under the Derby Scheme; he was on reserve after attesting with his promise to serve later on. I came across a batch of gunners who were numbered, and approved, at the end of a particular period of gunners arriving at a depot because they never arrived, they had "absconded en route", and was subsequently treated as deserters. Their approval was, I think, 3 weeks after they should have arrived. The approval should have been done by the OC of the depot as approving officer, but because of the vast numbers of men turning up one does see others signing it. As to when one had "joined" I think it really was when the army said you had, basically after signing the attestation form. Of course when you arrived at the depot and received a uniform may have been another thing.

Kevin

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Hi Taters,

Just a bit more boring stuff about enlistment/attestation - it may help you to interpret enlistment forms.

After the introduction of conscription, men who were conscripted did not attest. They were automatically "deemed to have enlisted".

Regarding these men who were “deemed to have enlisted" under the Military Service Act, The Times newspaper reported the information from the Army that: ”It will not be necessary to attest these men, but only to enter the particulars concerning them on the enrolment form – Army Form B2513, which will shortly be issued to area commanders. This form will take the place of the attestation form [b.2512]".

The form B.2512 was the one used by men attesting under the Derby Scheme. (See below)

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The Card No. box in the right hand corner showed the man's Group and marital status which determined when he would be called up.

The early B.2513 forms for men enlisted under the Military Service Act had "Record of Service" over-stamped on the original title of Enrolment Paper.

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These forms showed "C" for Class - the equivalent of the Groups in the Derby Scheme, and again would determine when a man would be called up. In the example above the man was in Class 20, indicating he was about 37 years of age and single.

Eventually the forms were redone. I've added the images on another reply as I've run out of upload space.

Carolyn

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These show later variations of the enlistment form B.2513. You may just be able to make out B.2513/1 on the first example and B.2513/4 on the second one from 1918. The first one also shows the man's medical group (Ciii). The code C/m/27 shows he was in Class 27 - i.e 21 years of age and married.

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Cheers

Carolyn

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Thanks Kevin for your reply and Carolyn for your additional information on the original questions. I hope Taters is still with us, three years on! I thought it would be useful to revive his original thread with the basic questions, and it has been.

I now realise more clearly how things changed after conscription; the period I am most interested in at the moment is before conscription, in late 1915, and as far as I know almost all the original recruits of the 21 KRRC/Yeoman Rifles were outside the Derby Scheme. (I did read the useful Long Long Trail info). But the Derby Scheme does clarify that attestation is only the first stage of enlistment. The fact that almost all the recruits whose forms I've seen were doing all the stages in quick succession was initially confusing.

They enlisted between late September and mid-December 1915. There must be many other New Army battalions whose recruitment took place then too.

I see that most of the 21/KRRC recruits still said they had received a Notice, though, and don't know exactly which one that would be.

Kevin, it's useful to have it confirmed that it should be the CO who approves the form and I shall check mine to see if the ones who were approved on the spot were done by a KRRC officer or someone who could stand in for the CO - though quite often the signature is illegible.

Liz

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  • 1 year later...

There may also be a stamp at the bottom of that first page of the Attestation paper (or mentioned at the start of their detailed record of service) referring to "Army Reserve Class 'B' ", which is where the Derby recruits were put on "hold" until they could be called up.

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