What can these records tell me?

Each result will provide you with a transcript and image of the original record. Depending on the document type, you may learn all or some of the following details on the transcript:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Birth year
  • Age
  • Year
  • Tribunal year
  • Tribunal date
  • Place
  • County
  • Country
  • Record type
  • Document type
  • Group
  • Group marital status
  • Group birth year
  • Archive reference
  • Archive

    Images may provide additional details such as addresses, occupations and employers’ details, and decisions or recommendations of the tribunal. Some men won’t have a service number or corps as they were being exempted; others will have attested but are applying to be released from service so they will have service numbers / corps information.

    When voluntary enlistment could no longer meet the army’s growing need, the British Government passed the Military Service Act, which introduced conscription, meaning that as of 2 March 1916, all able-bodied, single men between the ages of 19 and 41 were automatically enlisted in the armed forces. Conscription was extended in May of that year to include married men and those aged 18.

    Some men, however, were exempt from serving. Certain occupations were deemed exempt (clergy, teachers) or essential to the war effort (coal miners, doctors, iron or steelworkers). These types of occupations were referred to as scheduled or reserved.

    Individuals could seek exemption by applying to a tribunal for reasons such as illness, potential business damage, conscientious objection, or family hardship. The tribunal would rule whether an individual would be exempt from service.

    The following document types are included in this collection:

  • Attested men – certifications (exemption registers)
  • Local tribunal: list of forms issued to men who have been examined under Statutory Order AFW 3579 (exemption registers)
  • Local tribunal: register of review cases (exemption registers)
  • Local tribunal: unattested men, register of cases under Statutory Order (exemption registers)
  • Local tribunal: unattested men, register of military cases (exemption registers)
  • Register of cases: attested men (exemption registers)
  • Unattested men: certificates issued under Military Service Act 1916 (exemption registers)
  • Volunteer Training Corps – Ambulance (correspondence)
  • Volunteer Training Corps – Army regiments (correspondence)
  • Volunteer Training Corps – Dockyards (correspondence)
  • Volunteer Training Corps – Independent (correspondence)
  • Volunteer Training Corps – Police (correspondence)

    Images are held by the Portsmouth City Council Library and Archive Service.