Wednesday, 12 November 2008

First World War Scottish Military Appeals Tribunals digitisation project

The National Archives of Scotland is currently digitising and cataloguing the Military Appeals Tribunals papers of young men wishing to seek exemption from conscription. The papers, held under HH30, only survive for the areas of Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Borders, the rest having been destroyed by order of government in 1921.

The applications cover the period from March 1916 to October 1918, and so far some 500 papers have been recorded, with the full project expected to be completed in two years time. Most of those applying for exemption failed to do so, and were forced to sign up. An example of how applicants were treated with is found with a conscientious objector called Archibald Brown Naysmith - the military statement claimed 'This man would make a splendid soldier. He has a fine physique and just wants the nonsense knocked out of him'.

For more on the story, with examples of the papers, visit

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