On the 27 January 1916 the Military Service Act came into force in the United Kingdom (except Ireland), making every unmarried male aged between 18 and 41 (who was not in a reserved occupation) eligible for conscription into the armed forces.
Men could apply to their local military tribunals for some manner of exemption based on a variety of grounds. Many men subsequently appealed this local tribunal decision, with appeal hearings held at County Appeal tribunals. After the war it was decided that only a sample of records from the Central Tribunal in London and the papers from the Middlesex County Appeal tribunal should be kept as a benchmark for England and Wales. It is these papers which make up record series MH 47 here at The National Archives.
These papers contain a wealth of personal information relating to the applicants, their jobs and their families. Currently the collection is underused due to its complex arrangement and convoluted indexing system. By making these papers name searchable and providing digital access we are hoping to open up these records to a much wider audience and open up another valuable First World War resource to those who have been frustrated in their search for a military service record.