Sunday, 13 March 2016

Ampthill Rural Tribunal

Sheep at Biscot Mill 1915 [Z1306/75/11/1]

Monday 13th March 1916: The first Ampthill Rural Tribunal sat today and heard fifty applications for exemption from military service. Six of these were from conscientious objectors. The others came from a variety of occupations, although being a rural area the majority related to farm employees.
  • A doctor applied for his chauffeur, stating he was absolutely necessary if he was to continue his practice as Medical Officer of Health for 31 parishes. He himself was unable to drive due to his eyesight and the lighting restrictions. Despite advertising in several papers he could not find a replacement. Again, a temporary exemption was granted until June 13th.
  • A railway labourer applied to be exempted on the ground of domestic hardship as he supported his widowed mother. He was refused as there was insufficient evidence of hardship.
  • A grocer and tax-collector applied for both his son and a labourer. The son managed the business and helped with the collecting. He had two other married sons, one working on munitions and one in the Post Office, a daughter who was not capable of working, and his wife was an invalid. The labourer was his only employee and could not be substituted; he delivered goods and worked on 4 acres of land. This man at attested but had been passed for home service only. Although the father stated he would have to give up the business without his son’s help the application on the son’s behalf was refused, but the labourer was conditionally exempted while in his current employment.
  • A farmer of 310 acres applied on behalf of one of his seven sons, who was his horsekeeper and engineer. Two of the other sons had attested but none were actually serviing; an appeal to a higher court for another son had already been refused. The farmer was asked if he was not ashamed to appeal for this young man when he had all those other sons, but said he was not as he could not manage without him. The application was refused.
  • A shepherd on a 436 acre farm was needed because the farm had 105 in-lamb ewes and he also helped with milking, building and thatching ricks. Other men had already left the farm to join the army. The shepherd was granted a conditional exemption.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 17th March 1916

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