Local military service tribunals were originally set up in October 1915. Their original aim was to co-ordinate ‘military service requirements with those of civil departments and vital industries’, and as such they considered the postponement of calling up voluntarily attested men for military service. The central tribunal was set up in November. Local tribunals often forwarded cases to them for a final decision, and they also heard appeals against the decisions made in local tribunals.
In 1916 the Military Service Act introduced conscription, meaning that military service was now compulsory. At first this only targeted single men aged 18 – 41, but within a few months conscription was rolled out for married men as well. This meant that the local tribunals and the central tribunal were now statutory. Appeal tribunals were also set up, covering a county or multiple counties at a time. These were designed to take on most of the appeals, rather than sending them onto the central tribunal. Now people could only apply to the central tribunal with permission from the appeal tribunal.
The Local Tribunals for Poole were often reported in the paper. In the early months of 1916 these would be reported on without the men’s identities being revealed. This seemingly changed in June 1916 when their names started to be published in the papers. Details varied from case to case, and occasionally the papers supplied no detail beyond their name and whether their appeal had been dismissed.
After the war the government decided that all material relating to the tribunals should be destroyed, apart from the Middlesex appeal records, and the Lothian and Peebles records.
The following is a list of cases presented at the Poole Local Tribunal for the year 1916 and reported in the Poole and Dorset Herald.
March 9th 1916
- An applicant who had to support parents. Said that he had been unable to secure work since Christmas because people were afraid he would be called up.
- Second applicant, similar to above. It was pointed out that there would be more per week going into the home than if the applicant did not go into the Army.
- The Rev. H.L. Phillips applied for the exemption of a Church Army officer on the grounds of indispensability.
- A man who was the sole provider for the home.
- An undertaker’s employee, on the grounds that his employer could not find sufficient men.
- A man who was the sole supporter of his widowed mother.
- A man who declared his age to be 41 years 11months and two weeks.
- In general: cases of medical unfitness, and being in ‘certified occupations’.
- Three men put on the non-combatant list. All seem to be faith related reasons.
- Man refused to take part in military service or be put on the non-combatant list, as it would entail taking a military oath. He belonged to the Plymouth Brethren, and was put on the non-combatant list against his wishes.
March 30th 1916
- Man previously rejected by the medical board for being under the standard height.
- Man rejected because he was deaf.
June 15th 1916
- George Henry Mizzen. Only man left working as an undertaker for Councillor H.J. Cole.
- Herbert S. Noad, photographic artist, as the sole provider for his wife and two children.
- Charles F. Richards, as a skilled man and indispensable to the business (Longfleet Nurseries).
- Frederick George Lockyer, his wife being an invalid due to consumption and having two children and his wife’s mother to support.
- Albert J. Cuff, postman and an NCO in St. John’s Ambulance Brigade.
- Robert Waters, engaged in a certified trade (wholesale fish trade).
- A. Cross as he had no one in his employ capable of taking care of his business. Also had five children.
- Walter Tom Jeffery, asked for conditional exemption.
- Wilfred B. Chinchen, as ‘serious hardship’ would result if he had to serve.
- Frederick John Sherman, applied for six months exemption to ‘allow him to straighten up affairs’
- J. Howe – certified trade (Crown Dorset Art Pottery Co.)
- Rogers – certified trade
- Legg – being 41 years old.
- J Small
- Frank Lane, farm manager, being indispensable to his employer. (‘he could not find another man to take his place, and a woman could not do the work’)
- W. Loveless, sole supporter of his mother.
- Walter E. Croad, as he was doing a public service maintaining 3 1/2 miles of road.
- Edwin W. Hoare, asking for temporary exemption to settle up some compensation matters in connection with the death of his father-in-law.
November 23rd 1916
- Joseph Tuck, that he was indispensable in this work and also had only passed for a low class of service.
- William Hy Stay, on account of his wife’s health.
- John Samuel Coles, on behalf of his son, Herbert Victor Coles, being the only son not serving and the only man his father had.
- Walter Cross, asking for a further exemption as he had not been able to dispose of his business.
- Connelley, as it was necessary for his to remain for his patients.
For further extracts regarding the Poole Local Tribunal please see: https://www.pooleww1.org.uk/information/poole-local-tribunals/
For general information regarding the Tribunals: http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/conscription-appeals/