The National Archives (TNA) of the UK is putting Middlesex Appeal Tribunal records online.
Beryl Evans, Archives Liaison Officer at the UK’s Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS), has passed on the following information:
“The National Archives is making the digitised records of the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal, which heard the cases of men seeking exemption from conscription into the army during the First World War, available online.
“The records of the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal (in series MH 47) include case papers of over 8,000 individuals, as well as administrative papers reflecting the changing policy towards conscription as the war progressed. The records reveal men seeking exemption on medical, family or economic grounds, as well as the relatively small proportion wishing not to fight on moral grounds as conscientious objectors.
“The Middlesex Appeal Tribunal was one of the county-level appeal tribunals, part of a national system of military service tribunals that were established across the UK to hear applications from men seeking exemption from military service. The collection is one of two sets of appeal tribunal records officially retained as a benchmark following the end of hostilities, and provides a unique insight into the impact of the First World War on families, businesses and communities far from the battlefields.
“Local and county appeal tribunal records also survive in many local archives, and within personal and local government collections. With the FFHS, TNA has begun a survey of surviving material in local collections to supplement Access to Archives (A2A) and National Register of Archives (NRA) data. The online launch has attracted a great deal of media interest, and although the focus is likely to be on the scarcity of surviving material, we anticipate that it may lead to an increased interest in locally held tribunal records.
“The digitisation of this collection has been generously supported by The Friends of The National Archives and the FFHS, and forms part of TNA’s programme of events to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.”