Above (Fig. 3): Army Form W.3194. This was retained by the recruit and gave his essential details including his Group number and his identification number - in the examples here Group A (see details below) and No.635. This latter number was recorded in the military ledger at the recruiting station in accordance with an Army Council Instruction of July 1915 that stated that each recruit must have a recruiting office number. This number was also written on his "Notice Paper", form W.3195 (Fig. 4 - at right) which the man would receive at least 14 days prior to call-up, and on his Attestation form.
These particular forms belong to a lad who was born in late 1898 and was thus outside of the Groups mentioned below. An extension of the Derby Scheme allowed him to attest voluntarily and be placed in a new group - Group A. A newspaper report from 8th September 1916 explains the process:
As a result of further extension to the Derby Scheme, young men in their 17th year now have the opportunity of voluntary attesting in what will be known as Group B, thus avoiding becoming conscripts. The proclamation giving notice of the formation of the new group was widely posted last night, and it states that Group B will be open for the voluntary attestation of all men born in 1899. [They] will be able to train if they desire, but training would not be compulsory. In any event they would not be taken into the Army until they attained the age of 18 years.
A further proclamation issued at the same time calls to the colours all lads as and when they attain the age of 18 years and 7 months. This proclamation relates to all men born in 1898 and who are in Group A if attested and Class A if unattested. These men are ordered to report on October 7 and onwards.
Leslie Smith, in the example above was 23 years of age and single. Although he married in June 1916 and the form was altered to reflect this, he was still treated as a single man for call-up purposes as his marriage occurred after the prescribed date of 15th November 1915. Consequently the code showed s.a 6/184 which meant : S [single] ; a [possibly medical catagory - not always included here] ;6 [Group 6, i.e.born 1892] ;184, his recruiting office number.
He was originally assigned to a Territorial unit (6th Gordons) and so the Territorial Association is noted at the top of the form as is his medical category “A”. This was not originally shown on Derby forms. However Smith was not called up until June 1916 at which time the medical categories were frequently shown for Groups and for the later Classes (conscripts). The various changes of service number are also visable.
|Status||Group||Date of Birth||Proclamation||Date of Call-up|
|1||1897||Feb 25 1916||March 28 1916|
|2, 3, 4, 5||1893 - 1896||Dec 20 1915||Jan 20 1916|
|6, 7, 8 9||1889 - 1892||Jan 8 1916||Feb 8 1916|
|10,11,12,13||1885 - 1888||Jan 30 1916||Feb 29 1916|
|14 - 23||1875 - 1884||Feb 16 1916||March 18 1916|
|24||1897||May 13 1916||June 13 1916|
|25 - 32||1889 - 1896||March 7 1916||April 7 1916|
|33 - 41||1880 - 1888||April 27 1916||May 29 1916|
|42 - 46||1875 - 1879||May 13 1916||June 13 1916|
On the first day upon which your "Group" or "Class" is called up you must report yourself at the hour and place appointed. If you have not received a notice calling you up, and if you are not in a reserved occupation or exempt from service, it is your duty to report yourself at your local registration officer in accordance with the terms of the Proclamation calling you up. Ignorance is no excuse.
It would be unwise for you to take it for granted that you will not be passed as fit for service. If you do, it may cause you much inconvenience if you are passed when you expected you would be rejected.
In any event, try to make your personal arrangements and business transactions on the assumption that you will be passed fit for service. Leave nothing to chance. Do not expect an additional few days leave if you are passed.
When called up be punctual, be cheerful, and show a reasonable amount of intelligence. This will help the workings of the whole machinery. Men are usually called up at such times and in such numbers and at such places as experience has proved to be most satisfactory, and you can help by being punctual.
You will receive a small buff slip or card ordering you to report to the headquarters of your battalion. This will tell you at what time to report and will contain the name and address of the battalion headquarters at which you must report the following morning.
Before you leave the recruiting-office on the day you are called up you will be given a recruit’s pass and travelling warrant. This will entitle you to travel by train from your home to your new battalion’s headquarters the next day.”
With reference to W.O. letter of 24th December 1915, the following information as to the treatment from an administrative standpoint of men enlisted under the group system, passed to Army Reserve Class B, and subsequently called up and accepted for service and posted to units of the Territorial Force is promulgated for the guidance of all concerned.Such men will be treated as normally enlisted members of the Territorial Force, except that they will always serve on their Regular Attestation Form (Army Form B.2512) and will remain subject to the conditions of that attestation. No Territorial Attestation Form will be made out for them.The following documents will be sent with the man from the area headquarters to the administrative court of the T.F. unit to which he has been allotted - Attestation Form (Army Form B.2512), Army Form B.100 (with counterfoil) [this had to do with pay], Army Form B.178 [Medical History Sheet].When the soldier reaches the administrative centre, the O.C. the Centre will record on pages 1 and 3 of the Attestation Form (Army Form B.2512) the corps to which the man has been appointed, and the unit and the line to which he is posted, being careful to see that the full title of the unit is correctly entered. He will also record on page 1 of the Form the County Association administering the unit. The Sub-Area Commander will already have entered on page 3 the date upon which the man joined the Sub-Area on being called up.The Attestation Form, together with Army Form B.178 should then be sent at once to the Officer i/c T.F. Records concerned, who will proceed to allot the soldier a T.F. regimental number in the ordinary way.As regards Army Form B.100, the O.C. administrative centre will, after filling in the information received at 8(a) and (b) of the form regarding separation allowance and allotment of pay ...forward the counterfoil to the regimental paymaster of the T.F. unit. [Click here for examples of these forms]The O.C. administrative centre will also complete and dispatch the post-card (Army Form W.3184) informing the soldier's next-of-kin of the unit to which he has been posted.The soldier will receive his initial outfit of clothing and personal equipment in the same way as a man enlisted direct into the T.F and will be paid, clothed etc in accordance with the regulations applicable to that force.[Note:This is an abbreviated version of the article.]
After the latter date [12th December] enlistment could only be be for immediate service without the intervention of the group system. As December 12 drew near the rush of recruits completely overwhelmed the arrangements made for dealing with it. Just as in the early days of the war, men waited for many hours in vain outside the recruiting offices. (It was decided at the last moment to take the names of men still unattested at midnight on December 12 and keep open the group system for them alone for a further three days.) In some cases no attempt could be made to carry out a medical examination. The recruiters' instructions appeared to be to attest anyone who presented himself, leaving it to the future to decide whether he had or had not justified his sojourne in Section B of the Army Reserve.
At a meeting of the Glasgow Territorial Force last Thursday [9th December] it was reported that the deputation from the West of Scotland Territorial Associations which had waited upon Lord Derby ... had been unable to obtain any concession on the decision that after 4th December enlistment for the Territorial Force would stop and that the Territorial battalions would have men allocated to them from the general pool enlisted on the the general service attestation. Much regret was expressed at the meeting at the adoption by the authorities of a course which was regarded as the equivalent of the extinction of the Territorial Force on its present basis.On the following day however the Glasgow Association was agreeably surprised to receive a letter ... that stated that " direct enlistment into the Territorial Force will continue for the present, Army Form E.501 being still used for this purpose." This was hailed with satisfaction in Territorial circles...Their satisfaction however has been short-lived, a telegram being received yesterday to the effect that after the close of Lord Derby's campaign today, recruits cannot be taken directly into the Territorial units.
Although enlistment under the group system in accordance with Lord Derby's scheme ceased today, yet direct enlistment into both Regular units and the Territorial force continues for the present. It is most important that there should be no cessation in the number of men offering for direct enlistment. In this connection it may be pointed out that men who have been attested under the group system can at any time, if they so desire, exercise their right to enlist for immediate service ...instead of waiting for their group to be called up.
No. 1965 T.F.2 11th December - "Direct enlistment for units of the Territorial Force which are open to enlistment will continue after today and until further orders. Such enlistment will be carried out on the Territorial form of attestation." TERRIFOR. Scottish Command Order No. 3119 may therefore be considered cancelled.
In January we obtained for general service 30,158 out of the four groups we tapped, and 34,050 by direct enlistment. We required 259,000 and we are thus short by, roughly 195,000. The requirements to the end of March are 473,000, and to meet this we estimate to get 284,000 out of the groups and classes now being called up, 71,000 delayed by tribunals ... and perhaps 24,000 by direct enlistment. (CAB 17/159)
The Military Service Act was introduced to Parliament on January 5th. However as men would not be called-up under this scheme until March 1916, and direct enlistment was proving insufficient, it became necessary to resurrect the Group Scheme in January 1916 and posters advertising this were circulated.
Inquiries made at a late hour last night...elicited the fact that in some cases a goodly number of recruits presented themselves for attestation, while in others there were very few, and nowhere was there anything like the rush of December 11, which completely "snowed under" the recruiting officials.