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.
A deep sense of patriotism and a tremendously enthusiastic Captain Behrens ensured enlistment got off to a good start in Malton. Advertisements directed the would be soldiers to Captain Behrens at the Drill Hall in Old Maltongate. The advertisement (left) was the first recruitment announcement to appear in the Malton Messenger, 22 August 1914.
The recruitment advertisement below appeared in the Malton Messenger of 5 September 1914. Notice that the age limit, previously 19 to 30 years, has been extended to 19 to 35 years.
There were recruitment meetings in Malton in the Market place (this coverage from the Malton Messenger, 31 October 1914) 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
|it is to be hoped that all young men of suitable age and physical fitness will recognise what is simply their duty
Malton Messenger, 31 October 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:- REGULARS 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. TERRITORIALS 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. NATIONAL RESERVE (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. REGIMENT. 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.
The recruitment poster here appeared in the Malton Messenger, 6 February 1915. Notice the addition of the questions under 'WHAT ANSWER WILL YOU GIVE TO THESE FOUR QUESTIONS?' - some emotional encouragement to enlist.
The recruitment net was cast wider to encourage men to enlist for specific roles. Notice specific age limits and heights.
Malton Messenger, 30 October 1915.
In January 1915 a Malton and Norton Volunteer Training Corps was formed. The constitution and rules can be seen in the Malton Messenger of 2 January 1915. Its objectives were (1) To promote recruiting for the regular and territorial army, and (2), To encourage men not of age for service in the ranks or otherwise disqualified for service to drill and learn the elements of musketry in their spare time. 'No man can be accepted unless he can satisfy the Military Advisers that he is unable from age or other disability to join HM Forces and that he is in other respects desirable. The reasons for not joining HM Forces must be stated in the Corps Register.'
Malton Messenger, 9 January 1915
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
At the meeting of the Malton Tribunal yesterday, application for exemption was made on behalf of a horseman and market gardener. Exemption was granted for three months, but the military representative said in all cases where temporary exemptions were granted, it should be understood that the employer should make an effort to find a substitute, and in applying for a renewal of the exemption proof of such effort should be produced to the tribunal. Mr. H.W. Pearson, who presided, stated that he had drawn the attention of the Local Government Board to the fact that in the case of non-attested single men who had been granted temporary exemptions, they had two months after their exemption expired in which to renew the application for exemption, whereas the attested single men must apply for exemption within seven days of being called up. That was placing the voluntarily attested man in a worse position than the conscript. The Local Government Board agreed with Mr. Pearson's view. The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 7 March 1916
In January 1916, the Military Service Act introduced conscription. It included a 'conscience clause' permitting men, on moral grounds, to object to being called up. Such men had to prove their case, normally in front of a tribunal.
Some curious facts were revealed at the sitting of the Malton Tribunal on Monday night, when two claims for total exemption on conscientious grounds were heard. Application in the first case was a butcher's slaughterman, who said he objected to all wars, holding that human life was sacred. He said he belonged to the No-Conscription Fellowship Association, and had held the views since the war began. The other conscientious objector was a young man, who said he had charge of 200 sheep. He said he was a Socialist. The Chairman said neither applicant had given proof that their conscientious objectives were bonafide. Both had adopted their views since the outbreak of war. The applications were refused. The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 8 March 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.
It was not unusual for families to have 2 or more sons join the forces.
A fine example of patriotism is that furnished by the family of Mr. and Mrs Alfred Greenley, 22 Old Maltongate, Malton; who have five sons in the Army four of whom are on active service 'Somewhere in France.'
Malton Messenger, 15th January 1916
As more men enlisted some businesses began to find it difficult to provide the services to which their customers had become used to. The Malton grocers published a collective announcement in the Malton Messenger of 15 May 1915.
The farms also had difficulties. Individual businesses made their own announcements. This announcement was made in the Malton Messenger of 15 May 1915.
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