Scheduled (or reserved) Occupations
In March 1916 voluntary enlistment wasn't deemed sufficient to meet the demands of war. Under the terms of the Military Service Act 1916 all medically fit single men between the ages of 19 and 41 were deemed to have enlisted in the armed forces on 2 March.
In May 1916 a second Government act extended conscription to married men and the age limit was lowered to 18. Conscripted men had no choice about which service, regiment or unit they joined.
By 1918 the age range had been further extended to age 51.
There were some exemptions to the call up :
Iron and steel workers who produced vital equipment and ammunition.
|The Forces at Home: Recruitment poster showing a small girl sitting on her father's knee captioned 'Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?|
© IWM (Q 33122)
Those who considered themselves exempt due to poor health, disability or family restrictions, had to apply to a tribunal to be considered for exemption.
Those who were exempt from military service were issued with papers and badges to prove they were undertaking war work. This lessened the societal pressure on those who didn't or couldn't join up and gave them the opportunity to show that they were working in the national interest.
First World War 'On War Service' badge. 'On War Service' badges were issued by the government and private firms from December 1914 onwards to signify that the wearer was engaged in essential war work.