Sunday, 28 June 2015

Army Form B.463B - General Mobilization (Special Reserve)

 
Here's an interesting document dating to August 1914. How many times have we read about the procedures for mobilization; the notices displayed in towns and villages as well as those issued to the men themselves along with travel warrants?
 
Well here's just such a notice and a warrant, in this case issued to a man of the Special Reserve. The document informs the man that he is to present at Edinburgh on 5th August 1914 and to bring with him his "Small Book", Life Certificate and Identity Certificate. It continues,
 
"Take this notice to the nearest Money Order Office and the Postmaster will, on your signing the attached receipt, pay you the sum of three shillings as an advance of pay to be adjusted when you join."
 
If the man needed to travel by train to his place of assembly, the left hand portion of the form has this covered as it is a travel warrant granting the man free travel to or from the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The Railway Company would, in time, claim the fare back from the War Office.
 
This form was to be issued to men of the Special Reserve and there was presumably an almost identical form which was used for men of the Army Reserve; possibly - and I'm guessing here - Army Form B.463A.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Army Form E.504 - Militia Attestation

 
There are plenty of these forms in WO 363 (First World War service records), WO 364 (pension records)  and, of course, WO 96 (militia attestations). The militia, replaced by the Special Reserve in 1908, was an ideal testing ground for many men who wanted to see if they were suited for army life, but without the full-time commitment.
 
 
The forms are very similar to the forms used by the regular army, and give that essential detail so beloved by family and military historians: place of birth, place of residence, age, occupation... in short, all the essential detail that can act as a springboard for further research.
 
 
The papers in WO 96 are certainly the best preserved and I think in general that this series can often be overlooked. To my mind, it's always worthy of further investigation and on more than one occasion I have discovered papers here for a man whose First World War papers went up in smoke in 1940.
 
In common with other army forms - and attestation forms in particular, Army Form E.504 went through various iterations and amendments. The version I have reproduced here dates to April 1891 and was the 13th variant of this particular document.
 
Images reproduced on this post are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.