Britain had the largest volunteer army in the world by the end of 1915, but throughout the year the numbers of men volunteering to come forward and fill the ranks had steadily dropped. The result was the passing of the Military Service Act and the introduction of Conscription in 1916.
If men were to be conscripted a mechanism need to exist where a man could appeal his enlistment in to the army. The published government criteria allowed appeals on seven grounds, including on grounds of conscience.1
To asses these appeals over 2,ooo Local Tribunals and 80 Appeal Tribunals were established nationwide. The work of these tribunals is now largely forgotten and the documents pertaining to their work destroyed.2 But, in the North Riding the Appeal Tribunal papers have been preserved.
Each pin in this map refers to a man who appealed his Conscription during the First World War.3
1 The grounds for appeal were;
(a) On the ground that is expedient in the national interest that the man should, instead of being employed in military service, be engaged in other work in which he is habitually engaged; or
(b) On the ground that it is expedient in the national interest that the man should, instead of being employed in military service, be engaged in other work in which he wishes to be engaged; or
(c) If he is being educated or trained for work, on the ground that it is expedient in the national interests that, instead of being employed in military service, he should continue to be educated or trained; or
(d) On the ground that serious hardship would ensue, if the man were called up for Army service, owing to his exceptional financial or business ligations or domestic position; or
(e) On the ground of ill health or infirmity; or
(f) On the ground of conscientious objection to the undertaking of combatant service.
(g) On the ground that the principle and usual occupation of the man is one of those included in the list of occupations certified by Government Departments for exemption.
2 The Ministry of Health ordered all documents pertaining to the tribunals destroyed in 1921.
3 Currently this map shows all the appeals coming before the North Riding Appeal Tribunal from the following Local Tribunals:
|Northallerton Rural||Northallerton Urban||Scarborough Rural||Flaxton Rural|
|York City||Scarborough Rural||Scarborough Borough||Whitby Urban|
|Whitby Rural||Whitby Urban||Scalby Urban||Hinderwell Urban|
|Middlesbrough Rural||Redcar Urban||Guisborough Rural||Skelton and Brotton Urban|
|Eston Urban District||Middlesbrough Borough||Richmond Rural||Richmond Rural|
|Richmond Borough||Croft on Tees Rural||Aysgarth Rural||Bedale Rural|
|Leyburn Rural||Helmsley Rural||Pickering Rural||Pickering Urban|
|Kirbymoorside Rural||Easingwold Rural||Malton Rural||Guisborough Rural|
|Stokesley Rural||Startford Rural||Thirsk Rural||Wath Rural|
|Saltburn Rural||Saltburn Urban||Loftus||Thornaby-on-Tees Borough|