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Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

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Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

Postby Beverley Stephens » Sat May 23, 2020 4:46 pm

Frederick Swain Avent was born in Bristol in 1892, three of his older brothers served in the Great War. Alfred George Avent (b1878) was in the “Glosters”, Albert Swain Avent (b1889) and Frank Swain Avent (b1890) were in RAMC.

Frederick doesn’t appear to have been in the military, he married in 1915 and stated his occupation as Clothier. His first son was born in May 1916, that birth certificate says Fred was a Co-Operative Society Salesman, in Sep 1917 his second son was born and his occupation is Co-Operative Society’s Clothing Assistant. When his first daughter was born in Jul 1919, he is a Shipping Goods Checker. These jobs do not sound like they would qualify for reserved occupations!

Would there have been any exemptions other than Scheduled Occupation or being medically unfit that precluded a man from conscription?
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Re: Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

Postby junkers » Sat May 23, 2020 6:35 pm

Maybe he was a Conscientious Objector or he served time in prison which would have excluded him from serving.
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Re: Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat May 23, 2020 7:34 pm

For background, see http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/enlisting-into-the-army/the-1916-military-service-act/

I have form for getting it wrong on Reserved Occupations in WW1 - but certainly I have an image from the start of WW2 that said that clothing manufacturers could be included in reserved occupations - someone did have to make the military's uniforms, check them, ship them... So that might be a possibility.

Other possibilities include someone needed to look after dependents (I think you had to convince the local Tribunal) or someone who was physically unfit. The Army did have 3 categories of fitness - but I think that still allowed for people who were seriously ill to be excluded from the forces altogether.
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Re: Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

Postby KayFarndon » Sat May 23, 2020 9:46 pm

Had he perhaps been in an accident, or had a disability which prevented him from serving in the forces. I know someone personally that this happened to. They had a serious accident in the late 1930's and subsequently were not deemed fit and able to serve during WW2.
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Re: Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

Postby Beverley Stephens » Sun May 24, 2020 11:58 am

AdrianB38 wrote:For background, see http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/enlisting-into-the-army/the-1916-military-service-act/

I have form for getting it wrong on Reserved Occupations in WW1 - but certainly I have an image from the start of WW2 that said that clothing manufacturers could be included in reserved occupations - someone did have to make the military's uniforms, check them, ship them... So that might be a possibility.

Other possibilities include someone needed to look after dependents (I think you had to convince the local Tribunal) or someone who was physically unfit. The Army did have 3 categories of fitness - but I think that still allowed for people who were seriously ill to be excluded from the forces altogether.

Interestingly, Fred’s family owned a chain of clothes shop, started by his father in the 1870’s selling second hand boots and clothing. By 1912 the business was being ran by another of Fred’s brothers, Charles Swain Avent, Fred was working for him as a shop assistant. At this time Avent & Co had diversified into dealing in Government surplus and band uniforms. A memoire of one of the brother’s sons describing the family home states “Warehouse; ground floor – military uniforms, helmets, boots, swords, bell tents. First floor – work rooms, women making alterations to military uniform for bandsmen”.

Thank you all for your contributions, any of them could be the reason that Fred didn’t serve in WW1 but I think AdrianB38 may have answered my question – yet again! I shall miss the incredible knowledge that this Forum provides.


Bev
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Re: Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

Postby Lyndale » Sun May 31, 2020 12:06 am

Hi Beverley, Adrian was correct in that skilled clothing trades were included as a reserved occupation. Here follows a very edited summary of the rules..."In November 1915 occupations scheduled as vitally important for war work and other essential requirements were published. Production and transport of munitions. Coal Mining. Agricultural Occupations. Railway Servants employed in the manipulation of traffic and in the maintenance of the lines and rolling stock. Each were subject to revision as the industrial situation of the country demanded. Occupations in Food and Clothing were added in December 1915". I think that just about answers your enquiry completely why Frederick was not called. Regards Lyndale in Melbourne Australia.
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Re: Why didn't Fred serve in WW1?

Postby Beverley Stephens » Sun May 31, 2020 10:22 am

Lyndale wrote:Hi Beverley, Adrian was correct in that skilled clothing trades were included as a reserved occupation. Here follows a very edited summary of the rules..."In November 1915 occupations scheduled as vitally important for war work and other essential requirements were published. Production and transport of munitions. Coal Mining. Agricultural Occupations. Railway Servants employed in the manipulation of traffic and in the maintenance of the lines and rolling stock. Each were subject to revision as the industrial situation of the country demanded. Occupations in Food and Clothing were added in December 1915". I think that just about answers your enquiry completely why Frederick was not called. Regards Lyndale in Melbourne Australia.

Many thanks Lyndale, that is brilliant.

Bev in Bristol, UK
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