Posted 19 July 2012 - 03:13 PM
Many thanks for your post. It's been very helpful and, fingers crossed, it has helped me to sort out my man's enlistment:
The man in question is Bombardier 120331 Ronald Skirth, born on 11 December 1897. He claims (in his memoir) to have enlisted voluntarily under the Derby Scheme around Easter time in 1916. Easter Monday fell on 24 April in 1916 (Easter Rising) so, as the Derby Scheme had closed on 1 March 1916, he could not have enlisted under the scheme in April or May. Therefore he must have enlisted between 11 - 15 December 1915, or from 7 January to 1 March 1916. If he did enlist under the Derby Scheme, he would have been placed in Group 1 (single, 18 year old born in 1897) and expected to be called-up (after 28 March 1916) when he turned 19 i.e. 11 December 1916. However, the proclamation in the Times (10 May) called-up all men who were in Group 1, but not yet 19 for training and home service as of 10 May 1916. So he would have been called-up as of 10 May to do training and home service until he reached the age of 19 when he could be sent overseas. Skirth claims he was under-age when he enlisted at Easter, but this is incorrect as he was 18 then. However, he might be making an indirect reference to his being called-up on 10 May when he was 18 1/2, instead of being called-up on 11 December 1916 when he was 19, as he had originally been told.
It is possible that Skirth could have been conscripted on 2 March 1916. He would have been in Class 1 (single 18 year olds) and could have chosen whether to stay at home or join the colours and do special training until he reached 19. However, the extension to the Military Service Act Session 2 required that as of 10 May 1916 all men in Class 1 (i.e. born any time between 1 Janauary - 31 December 1897) were to be summoned for training and home service until they reached 19 - unless exempted, which Skirth claims he was, because of his apprentice-teacher training. So, he may have had a temporary period of exemption (under either scheme) to do teacher training - maximum exemption = 3 months - after which he would have been called-up for training and home service until 19.
Skirth says he was called-up at the end of September and reported for service with the army at Catterick on 3 October 1916 when he was 18 years 10 months. His teacher training course in London was then deferred indefinitely.
I'm still puzzled as to why the proclamations were only posted around London and not nationally, and also wonder if there is a mistake on the LLT page, Military Service Act 1916 - should it read 'attained the age of 18' on 15 Aug 1915?
Thanks again for your post and sharing the notices.