The details of approximately 6,000 Scottish men who appealed against conscription during the First World War are being made available online for the first time. From today the information, which dates back to 1916, is accessible via the ScotlandsPeople website.
The records of the Lothian and Peebles Military Appeal Tribunal and the Ross, Cromarty and Sutherland (Lewis Section) Appeal Tribunal contain thousands of cases of men who appealed against their compulsory call-up for military service following the introduction of conscription. The reasons ranged from ill health, personal or family hardship and conscientious objection to claims for exemption because their work was important to the national interest.
The online cases are all that survives of the many local tribunals that handled appeals throughout Scotland; many were destroyed in 1921 following an order by the Ministry of Health. The cases from the Lothian and Peebles Appeal Tribunal were kept as a sample, while the records of the Ross, Cromarty and Sutherland (Lewis Section) Appeal Tribunal survived by accident.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said
These powerful online records are an important part of our history and demonstrate the challenges thousands of Scottish men and their families faced during the First World War. I encourage people to learn more about this important period and to contribute any information they have to piece together a fuller picture of what life was like for our men.
Tim Ellis, Chief Executive of National Records of Scotland, said
We are privileged to be commemorating the First World War centenary by making available this special series of records. The documents will be invaluable to family historians researching their ancestors and the lives recorded also reveal a poignant picture of life on the home front and beyond.
If you have an interest in military history you can view the only surviving conscription appeal records on the ScotlandsPeople website.