Information about this project

The history of those who tried to avoid going to war for whatever reason has not featured prominently in the historiography of the First World War. The aim of this project is to provide digital, searchable access to part of the war’s secret heritage which is held at The National Library of Wales, and make it accessible to all.


The Tribunals

Some 2,000 tribunals were established across Britain after the passing of the Military Service Act in 1916. The purpose of these tribunals was to deal with appeals against conscription.  A local tribunal would meet to discuss and adjudge cases, and a whole county tribunal would listen to appeals. People presented a range of arguments against conscription, including economic and personal ones, and refusing to fight on the grounds of conscience or religious belief.

In 1921 the Government ordered the destruction of the tribunal records, with the exception of two complete sets that were to be preserved, one in Middlesex and the other in Lothian & Peebles in Scotland. However, the Cardiganshire records survived, and they are kept at The National Library of Wales. This archive is entirely unique in Wales, and is one of a limited number still in existence in the United Kingdom.



As part of this project you will transcribe information from high quality digital images of records from tribunals held across Ceredigion in Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Lampeter, Llandysul, New Quay and Tregaron.

This information will include personal details, information about employment, reasons for the application against enlisting in the armed forces, the ruling of the tribunal and the reasons for this decision.