This chapter suggests that the Tribunals' priorities and preconceptions, influenced both by growing self-awareness of their powers and responsibilities, and by the developing needs of the military and local economy, shifted conspicuously during the course of the conscription period. In Northamptonshire, idiosyncratic distinctions between certain Tribunals are readily discernible, and these often determined the likelihood of an application being heard sympathetically. The diversity and relative strength of personalities were potentially major factors in setting policy. The two major employers in Northamptonshire—agriculture and boot and shoe—were partially protected by certified occupations lists but increasingly subjected to combing-out. The Military Service Tribunal was envisaged as a safety valve for the anticipated grievances of a society unused to, and suspicious of, coercive recruitment.
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