Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Call to Arms, 1916


NAA B6525 VARIOUS/CERTAIN-A

An interesting series of documents in the National Archives Collection is the "World War I 'Call to Arms' recruiting forms for Victoria, arranged by reason for non-enlistment", Series B6525.    This was for a census of every unenlisted man of military age, demanding to know whether they intended to enlist and if not, why not.

Dr Bart Ziino discusses the government problem in trying to get enlistment quotas filled in an article in the NAA magazine Memento.   A more detailed article by Ziino on the subject of "Enlistment and non-enlistment in wartime Australia : responses to the 1916 call to arms appeal", was published in  Australian historical studies, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 217-232, Routledge, Melbourne, in 2010.

Only a handful of forms have been digitised at this stage.  They are grouped according to the reason given for non-enlistment, with a name index at the front.

Joseph Vincent Farrell, an unmarried 29 year old horse trainer residing at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Ascot Vale, declined the opportunity to explain to the government his reasons for not enlisting.   If reasons given were not considered adequate by local committees, they would be followed up.

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