Researching a soldier

Did your soldier enlist between October 1915
and February 1916?

If you find that your man enlisted between 15 October 1915 and the end of February 1916, there is a strong probability that he did so under the short-lived Group Scheme, often also called the Derby Scheme.

This is an important thing to know, as it hints at why and how he enlisted and certainly gives clues as to what happened to him.

How do I find that out?

If you have been fortunate enough to locate your soldier's army service record, it is likely to include his Attestation Form, which was completed when he enlisted. If this particular paper happens to be missing, you should still be able to see the dates from other documents.

If you have not got his service record but he was discharged on medical grounds, he is likely to have been eligible for the Silver War Badge. The roll of this award gives his enlistment date.

With neither of those two you are in more difficulty, but by following advice elsewhetre on this site you may be able to pin the date down.


What am I looking for, exactly?

The major clue to spotting the Group Scheme recruit is a combination of

1. an attestation date between 15 October 1915 and 15 December 1915, or in January or February 1916; and
2. a different mobilisation date.

The extract (below) from a "Short Service" Attestation Form is typical of a Group Scheme recruit. This soldier attested on 10 December 1915 and was mobilised in early February 1916.


It was possible for a man to enlis under the Scheme but be mobilised immediately, so do not discount the possibility that he was a Group Scheme recruit if his enlistment date is within the period described but he appears to have begun service right away.

If he enlisted before 15 October 1915 or after 1 March 1916 he was not a Group Scheme recruit,

What is the significance of this?

The fact that your man enlisted under the Scheme gives some hints at his attitude to enlistment. His date of mobilisation and assignment to a training unit then telkls you a lot about his service before he went overseas. To understand more about this this, see our details of the Scheme

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Related information

Newly recruited soldiers putting on their uniforms. Photograph Q30061 courtesy of the Imperial War Museum Department of Photographs, with my thanks.

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