Police Gazette 1916-18

This collection is a work in progress
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In January 1916 the Military Service Act was passed. This imposed conscription on all single men aged between 18 and 41. To assist in the apprehension of those persons who had deserted, or been absent from His Majesty’s Service, their details were circulated via the Police Gazette. This publication was released twice a week to all police stations across the British Isles.



This unique collection includes records from the Army, Territorial Forces, Admiralty, Royal Marines, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Royal Air Force and Women’s Royal Air Force. Details are also included for those who had re-joined or for any other reason, are NOT to be apprehended.



Also included are details from the Reservists (regular soldiers who had served their period of engagement ‘with the Colours’) under the Group System and Military Service Act 1916 who, having failed to report themselves on being called up on Permanent Service were therefore classed Absentees.



Every possible effort was made to check desertions and absences without leave, and by lawful means to detect and apprehend those deserters or absentees. Description and details were sent to the Chief Constable of the deserter’s or absentee’s usual place of residence, if known, and also to any other place or places where they may be likely to have gone. These details only occasionally included the rank of the absentee, reasons for this omission are unknown. Those persons listed in the Police Gazette were often mentioned within advertisements in local newspapers, in attempts to secure their recapture.



This list is fully transcribed with all abbreviations and terms clarified, therefore making it easily searchable.


Records in this collection are likely to include the following:

  • Surname
  • First name or initial(s)
  • Rank
  • Service number
  • Unit
  • Enlistment date
  • Offence date
  • Incident details
  • Offence place
  • Birth town
  • Enlistment place

Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.

Original Source: This collection is collated from the Police Gazette, a newspaper publication that was released twice a week for distribution to all police stations around the British Isles.

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