Thomas Edwin BROOKES - WW1 Military Appeal Tribunal (General)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, February 11, 2017, 16:35 (1248 days ago) @ BigEd

Hi Ed, yes I thought you were in SA but not sure, we get visitors from all across the world. Ref the various Free access data sites, that I THINK you'd be able to use from SA, I realised yesterday that I'd omitted the relevant links from my post, sorry bout that. If you see this old thread then hopefully that will guide you, altho sadly the normally-excellent GlosBMD site is currently "playing up" which is a shame, perhaps linked to the recent re-organising of it's parent Glos Archives site too. FreeBMD & FamilySearch (aka LDS ref the older posts on this site) are well-worth you getting to grips with. AND of course this FoD site, we are VERY fortunate as this is one of the very best free-access sites in the UK for family history research.
Please see all the thread/posts linked to this post


Roughly speaking, at the start of WW1 the British Army was an excellent but very small professional (volunteer) army, known as the Regular Army, backed-up by the Territorial Army which was made-up of part-time Reservists, often ex Regular Army. At the start of the War in mid 1914 the Regulars went to France & Flanders as the British Expeditionary Force, suffering huge losses helping to stop the massive German march on Paris and the seaports. To replace losses and raise the strength to match the enemy forces for what would clearly be a long war, the Government asked for volunteers. Meantime large numbers of the Army who had been stationed overseas across the Empire were also shipped back to Europe, including millions of Indian & African men for example. For numbers see

At one point the numbers enlisting almost overwhelmed the local authorities with over 100,000 men a month signing-up, nationalistic fervour was initially encouraged by reports of Belgian & French civilians being massacred, not to mention the social stigma of White Feathers etc etc. This was generally known as "Kit-chener's Army" ("Your Country Needs You"), many signed-up for adventure and to see the world, perhaps even better living standards than they had before (free clothes, food etc), many believed it would be over before they got to fight. They were thoroughly trained for several months before going to France. Sadly large parts of the well-trained and keen "Kit-chener's Army" were lost in the opening days or even minutes of the Somme Offensives, many before even firing a shot in anger. As the War dragged on and losses mounted, and men were less inclined to volunteer, forced conscription was introduced in early 1916.
This is a fair summary of it all.
Also see the opening paragraphs here

The most comprehensive site to research all aspects of the British Army in WW1 is this one.

If a conscripted man didn't want to fight then he could go to a Military tribunal. This site gives a pretty good summary of it all, although it will also be covered in the aforementioned Long Trail site and quite probably in more detail.

(Apologies for hyphenating Kit-chener, the word "tc-hen" (albeit without the hyphen) isn't permitted by the forum's censor software, I have no idea why).

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