Chapter

Fitness to serve

James McDermott

in British Military Service Tribunals, 1916–18

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084775
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702673 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719084775.003.0008
Fitness to serve

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The implementation of the Derby Scheme, under which more than 1.1 million men attested their willingness to serve, imposed a massive new burden upon medical officers, and previously brief examinations became positively fleeting. Many men unsuitable for any sort of military life were waved through as fit for front line service, and returned, in due course, to add to the Tribunals' workloads. There were few cases brought before Northamptonshire's Tribunals during their early months that turned primarily upon an applicant's fitness. The chasm of mistrust between Army Medical Board and Tribunal was reflected throughout England and Wales. The developing relationship between the Tribunals and Army Medical Boards affords more than a series of salutary anecdotes regarding military incompetence and arrogance. In effect, the Tribunals became the public voice that ensured that private injustices should not disappear within the vast anonymity of the recruitment process.

Keywords: fitness; front line serve; Derby Scheme; Tribunals; Northamptonshire; Army Medical Board; England; Wales

Chapter.  8035 words. 

Subjects: Military History

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