In the early days of the First World War, recruitment was by gentle persuasion. The government was opposed to conscription, yet needed to attract a high number of recruits to provide the size of army they thought necessary to win the war. Early tactics included extending the upper age limit, publishing lists of those local men who had already volunteered, and including questions in recruitment advertising such as ‘What will you say in years to some when people ask you where did you serve in the Great War?’.
The desirability of conscription frequently raised its head. Prompted by the slowing of voluntary recruitment, a National Registration Act was passed in July 1915. This required all those aged between 15 and 65 and not already in military service to register, together with details of their employment.
Lord Derby proposed that each man could attest for military service and be ‘grouped’ depending on his age and marital status. Then each ‘group’ would be called up, those comprising single men before those comprising married men. This scheme was abandoned within a short time as it did not produce the required numbers of volunteers.
In January 1916 the Military Service Bill initiated conscription of single men aged 19-41. In May 1916 the lower age limit became 18 and the scope extended to married men. In April 1918 the upper age limit was extended to 50.
Men (or their employers) who felt they should be exempt from the conscription due to poor health, potential damage to their business, family hardship or a conscientious objection had to apply to a local tribunal, which would decide whether or not they should be conscripted.
If you have a family member who served in the army in the First world War then it may be interesting to know exactly when he enlisted as that may suggest whether he volunteered or was subjected to the Derby scheme or conscription via the Military Service Act 1916. The advertisements on this page suggest the emotive persuasion men were subjected to at the time.
There were recruitment meetings in Malton in the Market place and in neighbouring villages. These were supported by parades of soldiers and speeches by local dignitaries and Captain Behrens himself. During one meeting on 5th September Captain Behrens mentioned that recruiting had started on 17th August, since which date 118 regulars and 70-80 Territorials had enlisted.
For a short period, the names of those who had enlisted got into the newspapers under the heading 'Young men who are serving their country'
Regulars: Maurice Bell, RFA, Newbiggin, Malton; William Ernest Dale, RFA, Market Street, Malton; John Hardcastle Sturdy, Reserve Battalion, 14th West Yorkshire, 1 Primrose Yard, Malton; Robert Craven, RFA, 16 Middlecave Road, Malton.
Territorials (H. Co., 5th Battalion Princess Of Wales Own Yorks Regmnt.): Eric Gibson, 59 Newbiggin, Malton; Cyril Allison, 2 St. Leonard's Lane, Malto; Harry Train, 31 Greengate, Malton; George Arthur Cranitch Archibald Simpson, 46 Greengate, Malton 
 Malton Messenger, September 12th 1914
FOR KING AND COUNTRY
SPLENDID RESPONSE OF MALTON AND THE DISTRICT Since Capt. Clive Behrens undertook the work of recruiting for His Majesty's Forces in the Malton district, the headquarters of the H Company 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in Old Maltongate Malton, has presented many busy scenes, in which the gallant Captain, Sergt Elvy, Sergt. McManus, and other willing workers have at all times been conspicuous. In addition to his work here, Captain Behrens has attended numerous meetings in the district, as a result of which the roll of recruits has been steadily augmented by men of the right type. Others will no doubt follow, and in view of the importance of this branch of the work we have obtained a revised list of those who have already left Malton at duty's call.
It would be impossible, of course, to give a complete list of the officers and men who have gone from Malton, since some belong to other arms of the Service than that of which the record is kept at the Malton headquarters, nevertheless, we have sought to include all known names. Of those not in the records to be obtained in Malton and who are in other sections, we may mention Mr. F. Strickland, Capt. Walker, Capt. Deakin, Capt. Thomson, Dr. E.T. Tatlow, Miss Elkins (Cottage Hospital), Dr. Pickles, Messrs. E. Radcliffe, Watson Pearson, P. and H. Cooper, E. Stanley Jones, and C. Abbott.
The list kindly supplied is as follows:-
Thomas Bowes, Malton, Special Reserve, Yorks. Regt; Thomas Teasdale, Pickering, G.S. Infantry; James Ward, Kirbymoorside, G.S. Cavalry; John Shaw, Newton, G.S. Cavalry; Noel Sharples, Newton, G.S. Cavalry; William Hubert Brereton, Malton, Hussars of the Line; Alfred Charles Burch, Kirbymoorside, R.F.A; Harry Hudson, G.S. Infantry; Thomas Wray, R.F.A.; Albert Searle, S. Reserve; Ernest Spaven, R.G.A.; Alfred Pearson, 19th Yorks Regt; Norman Walker, 19th Yorks. Regt.; Abel Thompson, Helmsley, R.F.A.; Leonard Atkinson, Malton, R.F.A.; Henry Burr, Malton, R.F.A.; Charles Robert Jackson, Norton, S. Reserve, Yorks. Regt.; Edward Flint, Norton, S. Reserve, Yorks. Regt.; Robert Brockless, S. Reserve, Yorks. Regt.; Chas. Jackson, Malton, R.F.A.; John Henry Prosser, Malton, R.F.A.; John Smith, R.G.A.; James Key, Newton, G.S. Cavalry.
Robert Scrownston, Victoria Square, Greengate, Malton; Lawrence Clarkson, Havelock Terrace, Norton; Francis Henry Halliday, Welton House, Newbiggin, Malton; Chas. William Crosby, Parliament Street, Norto; Alfred M. Johnson, Wood Street, Norton; Francis Bowes, Ebenezer Cottages, Norton; Ernest Tiplady, Welburn; Bertie Walton, Mill Street, Norton; Leslie Gibson, Newbiggin, Malton; Walter Askew, Allerston Marishes; Tom Marshall, Mill Street, Norton; J. Edward Harper, Mill Street, Norton; Robert Hutchinson, Howsham Hall; Thomas Hodgson, School House Hill Malton; James Parker, Sher Cottage, Welham; George Smart, Welham; Arthur Clarke, Vine Street, Norton; Harvey Warwick, Wentworth Street, Malton; H. Victor Sellars, St. Nicholas Street, Norton; Thomas Jones, Swinton Grange, Malton; Raymond Parnaby, Wood Street, Norton; George Green, Whitby; Thomas Richard Wood, Old Maltongate, Malton; William Gilroy, Castlegate, Malton; Harold Calver, Vine Street, Norton; Harold Fisher, Grove Street, Norton; George Henry Harrison, Parliament Street, Norton; Ernest Brockless, Derwent Place, Malton; Samuel Parker, Carlton, Helmsley; John Baines, High Shiplam, Kirbymoorside; William Richard Conning, Starfish Lane, Kirbymoorside; Alma Woods, Pickering; Harry Johnson, Pickering; G.H. carter, Kirbymoorside; P.P. garnet, Kirbymoorside; Rowland Forster, Kirbymoorside; Stephen Whiting, Melmerby Hall, Ripon; Walter Sturdy, Hammerton House, Kirbymoorside; William Bowman Wood, Undercliffe, Pickering; Benjamin Granger Patcher, Eastgate, Pickering; T. Beavet Carter, Eastgate, Pickering; John Wilson, Wombleton, Nawton; Thomas Collitt, High Street, Gelmsley; Frederick William Atkinson, Court House, Helmsley; Herbert Eden Lealman, Norton; Robert Nelson, Greengate, Malton; Herbert Goodall, Greengate, Malton.
(attached to Territorials).
Arthur Kitching, Parliament Street, Norton; Arthur Ellis, Castlegate, Malton; William Johnson, Station House, Hovingham; C.C. Wray, Old Maltongate, Malton; Sergeant W. Farnell, Raper Farm, Great Habton; George Cryer, Wentworth Street, Malton; John Harrington, Railway Street, Malton; George Hebditch, Wheelgate Square, Malton; John milson, Middlecave Road, Malton; William Drabble, Yorkersgate, Malton; Albert Smith, Wheelgate, Malton.
H. CO (MALTON) 5th BATT. YORKS.
Lieut. Pickles, commander of H Company; Lieut Maxwell, 2nd in command; Col-Sergt. Instructor Hilliard, Col-Sergt Schollitt, Mill Street, Norton; Corpl. Kendall, Wheelgate Square, Malton; H. Allen, Greengate, Malton; Geo. Allen, Old Maltongate, Malton; J. Allen, New Cut, Malton; E. Fawcett, Greengate, Malton; R. Wilson, Newbiggin, Malton; H. Bell, Newbiggin, Malton; J. Mason, Cemetery Lane, Malton; F. Harrison, Old Maltongate, Malton; F. Fox, Ryton; J.E. Mason, Castlegate, Malton; Walter Mason, Castlegate, Malton; D. Stephenson, Old Malton; J. Knaggs, Old Maltongate, Malton; W. Hide, Old Maltongate, Malton; R. Barron, North Grimston; W. Wilkinson, Scarborough Road, Norton; H. Gibson, Middlecave Road, Malton; J. Greenley, Castlegate, Malton; H. Jackson, Greengate, Malton; F. Smith, Greengate, Malton; H. Read, Norton; Lance-Corpl. Lomas, Vine Street, Norton; W. Flint, Wold Street, Norton; J. Parket, St. Peter's Street, Norton; W. Bowland, Commercial Street, Norton; F. Lyons, Wold Street, Norton; W. Horsley, Scarborough Road, Norton; L. Bowland, Commercial Street, Norton; L. Cass, Old Maltongate, Malton; O. Hollings, Grove Street, Norton; J. Brough, Scarborough Road, Norton; W. Marr, Huttons Ambo' Sergt, Joy, Sand Hutton; Sergt. Boswell, Sand Hutton; Lance Corpl. Thorpe, Greengate, Malton; Corporal Broadley, Scarborough Road, Norton; G. Thackray, Old Malton; J. Cockerill, Old Malton; F. Kitchen, Old Malton; F. Bradley, Old Malton; W. Harrison, Pye Pits, Old Malton; F. Lumley, Old Malton; J.A. Hodgson, Wheelgate Square, Malton; G. North, Wheelgate; W. Chapman, Pye Pits, Old Malton; F. Rooks, Old Malton; H. Postill, Hovingham; J. Dawson, Hovingham; F. Ward, Hovingham; F. Wright, Hovingham; J. Oldfield, Hovingham; A. Shuttleworth, Sand Hutton; G. Johnson, Sand Hutton; Sergt. Farrow, Sand Hutton; G. Richardson, Sand Hutton; F. Evans, Sand Hutton; A. Spaven, Sand Hutton; Corpl. J. Harland, Sand Hutton; Corpl. J. Abbey, Sand Hutton; F. Wade, Sand Hutton; R. Shooter, Sand Hutton; A. Stephens, Sand Hutton; T. Mead, Sand Hutton; A. Addison, Sand Hutton; A. Parker, Sand Hutton; F. Sykes, Sand Hutton; W. Barton, Sand Hutton; F. Briggs, Sand Hutton; W. Carr, Sand Hutton; H. Rennison, Sand Hutton; J. Stephenson, Sand Hutton; G.W. Hill, Sand Hutton; E.W. Grice, Sand Hutton; R. Eden, Old Malton; J. Brewer, Knapton Station; B. Turner, Welham; W. Ward, Norton.
We have been asked to give the following names, in addition to the above:- E.C. Stancliffe (London Joint Stock Bank), Malton; Fred Allison, St. Leonard's Lane; H. Ash, 6, Wright's Yard; Albert Blake, 1, Swan Lane; Bernard Blake, !, Swan Lane; Jas. Blake, 1, Swan Lane; William Burdett, 3, Green Man Yard; Charles Burr, Norton; Charles Bower, 56, Wheelgate; Walter Brown, 5 Greengate; John Banyard, Norton; John Coates, Barclay's Bank; Fred Dunning, 16, Wright's Yard; Frank Davison, 18, Middlecave; F. Elwood, 17, Wright's Yard; Albert Ellis, Old Talbot Yard; Alfred Gibson, 59, Newbiggin; John Greenley, Pump Alley; Herbert Goodall, West Lodge; Rawling Harwood, Norton; John Hird, 39, Newbiggin; Geo. Heward, Gatehouse; Guy Habiday, 66, Newbiggin; George Harrison, 7a Old Maltongate; James Harrison, 41, Old Maltongate; Wilfrid Johnson, c/o Boulton and Cooper; Harry Lomas, Beckett's Bank; George Ludlam, Golden Lion; Fred Marton, Orchard Cottage; Reginald Marton; Orchard Cottage; Alfred McBenford, 15 Greengate; Edmond Malone, West Lodge; Percy North, 37 Wheelgate; Harry Perrin, 5, Soulby's Yard; Arthur Race, 22 Newbiggin; John Richardson, 9, Old Maltongate; J. Rollinson, 36 Newbiggin; William Smith, 2, Luccock Square, Wilfrid Smith, 6, Luccock Square; John Spanton, Sun Hotel; Albert Squires, 13, East Mount; Harry Thorpe, 3, Newbiggin; T. Wilson, 1, Newbiggin; William Wilson, 2, Swan Lane; Percy Wardill, 64, Newbiggin; Augustus Walker, 42, Greengate; Cecil Whittingham, Norton; William Wilkinson, 21, Wheelgate; Wilford, Steven's Yard; Warwick, 7, Newbiggin; Ralph Yates, Norton; Sidney E. Yorke, Norton.
About fifty more have joined this week, and their names will be published in our next issue.
On encountering conscription, men had the opportunity to apply for exemption from military service at the Malton military service tribunal. Exemption could be applied for under one or more of the following grounds:
(a) That it is expedient in the national interests that the man should, instead of being employed in military service, be engaged in other work in which he is habitually engaged
(b) That it is expedient in the national interests that the man should, instead of being employed in military service, be engaged in other work which he wishes to be engaged
(c) If he is being educated or trained for any work, that it is expedient in the national interests that, instead of being employed in military service, he should continue to be so educated or trained
(d) That serious hardship would ensure if the man were called up for Army service, owing to his exceptional financial or business obligations or domestic position
(e) Of ill-health or infirmity
(f) Of conscientious objection to the undertaking of combatant service
(g) That the principal and usual occupation of the man is one of those included in the list of occupations certified by Government Departments for exemption
There were reports of Tribunal proceedings in the local newspapers but names were not mentioned.
At a meeting of the Malton tribunal in October 1916, the Military Representative, Captain Behrens, applied for the revision of exemption certificates of four employees of a Malton corn merchants. He objected to the exemption of one of the firm's travellers, a single man aged 34 who had recently got married. The firm's representative said that if the traveller were taken the mill would have to close down. Captain Behrens said the firm ought to have taken steps to replace the man, and if they had done that at the beginning of the war then they would not be in their present position. The application of the Military representative that the exemption be withdrawn was granted. (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 17 October 1916)
In certain circumstances, those dis-satisfied with the decision of the Malton Military Tribunal could take a case to the North Riding Appeal Tribunal. The appellant could be the conscripted man, his employer, his father, mother, brother or the Military Representative from the local tribunal.
Although due to the likely sensitive nature of these cases, the Government ordered that all tribunal material should be destroyed. Due to an oversight, many of the papers for the North Riding Appeal tribunal survived and there is a searchable index on the North Riding County Record Office website.
In case 1361, Thomas Ringrose appealed that his employee, William Cockerill, wheelwright, aged 20, should be exempt as he had been unable to find a replacement and he was essential to the business. The Malton tribunal had noted that he had been given temporary exemption previously and that as a single attested man he should by now have joined the army. Dismissed.
The Malton cases show a wide range of personal circumstances but invariably decisions were upheld.
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