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  1. #1
    Loves to help with queries. Retlaw's Avatar
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    Default Absent Voters list of 1918

    I have been web surfing and found a web site which included the Absent Voters list for 1918. It states that by an act of parliment pased 6th Feb 1918, all men age 21 or over, serving in his Majesty's forces will be entitled to vote.
    The following list was compiled from information supplied by the men themselves.

    That is barnyard confetti. I have two men in my patch, in our Absent Voters list of 1918, who were killed in action, long before Feb 1918, one of them at the battle of the Somme July 1st 1916. Several men are well under 21 years of age. Several have more than one address, some with wrong numbers and regiments.

    What I want to know is who filled in the papers of dead men, prisoners of war, men at sea, and men missing in action.

    Then there was the big push by the Germans in early 1918, when they regained a large propotion of their prevously held areas. (hang on jerry I've forgot my voting paper)

    I think that in 1918 as the battles raged to and fro, no one would be interested in filling in voting forms.

    From the number of mistakes, wrong serial numbers, wrong regiments, and sometimes the wrong address. I think several hundred were filled in, from information supplied to town hall pencil jockeys, by relatives and friends

    During my years of research I've read several personal diary's of men who served in WWI, not one has ever mentioned I got my voting papers today.

    Also spent time going thro the burnt and unburnt records, found over 250 men in my patch, started at Abbotts, and I'm only up to Broadley's yet. None of them mentions a voting paper.

    Retlaw.

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    The AVL is effectively just a sub-set of the Electoral Roll for the area. You raise some interesting questions about how it was compiled.

    I have never heard of the soldiers being asked to provide their own details for the Electoral Roll - so where did those details come from?

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    Default Absent Voters list

    I have never heard of the soldiers being asked to provide their own details for the Electoral Roll - so where did those details come from?
    Thats what I would like to know, our local studies library also quoted, that the list was compile by the men themselves, when I showed them the errors and explained my doubts, they had no answer.

    Retlaw.

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    Geoffers
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    Might there possibly be something about the mechanism within the first two hits (CAB37/158/11 and HO45/10550/162307) on this TNA search? - Absent Voters - or within the legislation of the later (1918?) Act?

    I have two men in my patch, in our Absent Voters list of 1918, who were killed in action, long before Feb 1918, one of them at the battle of the Somme July 1st 1916.
    In this case, do you know if the bodies were recovered and identifiable? Could these be forms filled in by relatives who just retained a feint glimmer of hope that a mistake had been made and their relative was actually still alive and might return home?

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    Loves to help with queries. Retlaw's Avatar
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    Default Absent Voters List

    In this case, do you know if the bodies were recovered and identifiable? Could these be forms filled in by relatives who just retained a feint glimmer of hope that a mistake had been made and their relative was actually still alive and might return home?
    Charles Cox. 15927. 11th E.L. K.I.A. 01-07-16. Queens Cemetery A. 29

    Joseph Delaney 2365. R.L. K.I.A. 08-05-15. age 18. Menin Gate Memorial
    Parents notified in June 1915.

    Both the above are well outside the statement,
    By an act of parliment passed 6th Feb 1918, all men age 21 or over, serving in his Majesty's forces will be entitled to vote.
    The following list was compiled from information supplied by the men themselves.

    Relaw

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    Geoffers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retlaw
    Both the above are well outside the statement,
    By an act of parliment passed 6th Feb 1918, all men age 21 or over, serving in his Majesty's forces will be entitled to vote.
    The following list was compiled from information supplied by the men themselves.
    Fair enough, I was just trying to think of possible explanations. Presumably the 1918 Act includes a schedule providing for the mechanism by which names would be collected? I don't know how many such errors were made, but a certain allowance might be made for clerical errors in dealing with mass slaughter on a scale previously unknown.

    From the incorrect serial numbers, regiments, etc that you have found; have you been able to determine if this might be from transcription error? - e.g. clerk has a pile of papers which he is copying into some draft version of the register, writes down one entry correctly and then duplicates the regimental no. , or regimental name into the next entry as well by mistake?

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    - e.g. clerk has a pile of papers which he is copying into some draft version of the register, writes down one entry correctly and then duplicates the regimental no. , or regimental name into the next entry as well by mistake
    Not come across much of that, numbers mixed up - ie 12345 as 13245, or R.A.F., instead of R.F.A., and such, most of them were wrong regiments, men who had been transferred long before 1918, shown with their former regiment and number, also several no longer living at the given address, some have turned out to be the address of a relative, others with two addresses, and one in two different towns.

    Retlaw.

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    The AVLs for the 1918 election were produced by civilian registration officers from details supplied households at home. Once these lists had been compiled, the names of those in the forces were sent to the relevant authorities, so that they could make arrangements for voting cards or to be sent to the men in question in the UK (about 1 million) and ballot papers sent to men serving on the Western Front and in Italy (some 2 million papers). Men serving in "distant theatres" were allowed to vote by proxy. In this case, this was done by special proxy voting form, AFW 5014, and sent to these theatres by the War Office. In the case of the Army, these tasks were coordinated by the Adjutant General's Department and the work actually undertaken by the Unit Records Offices.

    Each record office was furnished with two copies of the AVL and the officer in charge of the respective offices took steps to revise the lists and to correct the numerous errors they contained. The Directorate of Organisation noted that "owing to the hurried way these lists were prepared (by the civilian registration officers) a very large percentage of entries were incorrect and in many cases soldiers could not be identified at all." Amongst the problems were movement of units, casualties and transfer of men from one unit to another, which could of course include regimental number changes.

    Out of interest, the total number of people allowed to vote at the 1918 General Election rose from just over 7 million at the previous election, to around 21 million. It's also worth bearing in mind, that those under 21 still could not vote, and there was still some residual voting qualifications based on property, so some men may not necessarily have appeared in the electoral rolls.

    Terry Reeves

  9. #9
    Geoffers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Reeves
    The AVLs for the 1918 election were produced by civilian registration officers from details supplied from households at home.
    Thanks for that Terry, very interesting. Do I take it that the details were supplied by households in 1918 - or was this an ongoing project over the duration of the war?

    The Directorate of Organisation noted that "owing to the hurried way these lists were prepared (by the civilian registration officers) a very large percentage of entries were incorrect and in many cases soldiers could not be identified at all."
    Considering the scale of the problem, a degree of clerical error is understandable.

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    Geoff

    The 1832 Act required the register to be updated annually. However, this requirement was suspended in 1916 and 1917, so it would appear that a lot of ground had to be made up in 1918.

    Some idea of the problems of compiling the lists can be seen here:

    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/w.../absent-voters

    Terry Reeves

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