Volunteers Week 2020 – Redditch Tribunals
- 5th June 2020
Each year in Volunteers Week we like to acknowledge the wonderful support our volunteers give. The equivalent of around 450 days across all aspects of what we do – archaeological finds, conservation, archive indexes, outreach projects, oral history, and research. They provide us with great support, doing tasks which we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
Currently things are a bit different. The Hive is closed so some volunteering, such a finds processing and conservation help, is not possible, although we are trying to keep in touch. Other volunteering is still able to continue at home, such as for the Redditch Tribunal project.
The Redditch Military Tribunal project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, concludes our WW100 work. This project is carrying out research into the records of the Military Service Tribunals held in Redditch during the First World War. This will make the information available online, through educational resources, and in a local exhibition. As a result of this work it will be possible to search online for men and their employers seeking exemption from the conscription legislation of 1916 intended to increase recruitment in the Services.
The Redditch Tribunal volunteers are currently busy using Ancestry and Find my Past at home to look for the men from the Tribunals in the 1911 census and also in the military records. This will give us more info about the men and the tribunal process. Obviously not all candidates were successful in their application to the Tribunal for an exemption from military service and many of the men who did get temporary exemptions granted by the tribunal were called up again once their employers had found suitable replacements.
Before the research stage they finished off transcribing from the registers of cases from the Tribunal, as well as correspondence to the tribunal from employers and workers. The volunteers were able to continue their transcriptions at home as they had taken photos of the original records prior to lockdown.
We are very grateful for the help they are giving, and know that the end result will be really helpful to people searching for individuals and helping us understand about the appeals.
Ancestry & Find My Past
It’s not just volunteers who can access these at home. They are currently available to all our users whilst The Hive is closed. Click here for more details.
Military Tribunals Background
Military conscription was first introduced in January 1916 for unmarried men aged between 19 and 41. While there was a range of employment which was protected, Worcestershire, with its concentration of vital agriculture in some areas and significant industry in others, saw many appeals to the Military Tribunals for exemption from conscription.
Very few exemptions were applied for on the basis of conscience.
After the War, all records of these Tribunals were supposed to be destroyed, retaining only those of the Middlesex Tribunal, however some local ones did survive, including the Registers from Redditch.