Grounds for Appeal: World War 1 Appeal Tribunal Papers 1916-1918

By Judith Phillips

The Military Service Act of 1916 introduced conscription to Britain for men aged from 18 – 41.  Conscription affected many men and their families in our area.  However, men could appeal against their conscription through the tribunal system.  They could be granted a temporary exemption and, in particular circumstances, a permanent exemption from military service.  Most of the tribunal records were destroyed after the First World War, but some records have survived, including the North Riding Appeal Tribunal papers.  These are currently being catalogued by volunteers taking part in the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Grounds for Appeal project at the North Yorkshire County Record Office at Northallerton. 

Several townships in the Teesdale Poor Law Union were in North Yorkshire and these places are covered by the Museum’s First World War Commemoration Project.  So far we have only come across information about exemptions in newspaper reports of the tribunals, and we know the tribunal papers for County Durham no longer exist.  I’ve already been in touch with Ruth Rising who is running the project, and it will be very helpful to our project to be able to access their findings. 

Ruth Rising (North Yorkshire County Record Office), Karyn Burnham (author and volunteer) and Joanne Aston (volunteer) will talk about the tribunal system and the insights case papers give into the effect of conscription on the people of the North Riding of Yorkshire between 1916 and 1918.

This talk is part of a series of lunchtime talks at North Yorkshire County Record Office, Malpas Road, Northallerton DL7 8TB, organised by the Record Office in conjunction with Northallerton and District Local History Society.  The talk will be held on Friday January 27 and begins at 12.30, lasting about 45 minutes which will be followed by discussion.  The entry fee of £2 includes light refreshments and advance booking is not necessary.