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Scottish WW1 Pensions Appeal Tribunals

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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4858
Location: The County of Angus

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:09 pm    Post subject: Scottish WW1 Pensions Appeal Tribunals Reply with quote

This is a resource i was unaware of. Has anyone had a look at these at the N.A.S.?

Title Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Scotland): Entitlement and Assessment Case Papers
Dates 1919-1973
Access status Open
Access conditions A number of records remain closed for 75 years.

Admin history
Pensions Appeal Tribunals were established in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland by the War Pensions Act, 1920 to deal with appeals by servicemen or their widows and dependants for war pensions. Pensions Appeal Tribunal Acts of 1943 and 1949 lay down grounds on which an appeal can be made and there is no right of appeal on any other ground.

The Tribunals are entirely independent of the Department of Health and Social Security and in Scotland are set up by the Lord President of the Court of Session with a President, an Entitlement Tribunal and an Assessment Tribunal. The Entitlement Tribunal consists of a Chairman, who is a lawyer, and two members, one of whom is a doctor and the other a layman with experience of Military, Mercantile Marine or Civil Defence Service, or a civilian in cases where the applicant is claiming in respect of injuries received as a civilian. The Assessment Tribunal consists of two doctors, one of whom is Chairman, and an experienced layman. The Tribunals hear appeals from those living in Scotland and usually sit in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Applications for pension are submitted to the Department with a right of appeal to the Tribunals on the questions of entitlement or assessment of the degree of disablement due to an injury, wound or disease accepted as connected with Service. The Department prepares a Statement of Case which records the facts as known and includes the Secretary of State's reasons for his decision; a copy is given to the applicant and three copies to the Tribunal. In Entitlement Appeals the Tribunal decides whether the particular ailment or injury was due to or made worse by Service or whether death was due to or hastened by Service; in Assessment Appeals the Tribunal decides on whether the assessment of the degree of disablement from an accepted disability is adequate or whether a final settlement of an assessment should have been made. Interim Assessments are made for fixed periods and Final Settlements are made where the accepted condition has reached a sufficiently stable condition to be assessed correctly. The Tribunal may uphold, increase or reduce the assessment.

Hearings are informal and an applicant may conduct his own case or be represented. The appeal decision may be announced at the end of the hearing or subsequently in writing and is final and conclusive subject only to appeal to the Court of Session on a point of law by the applicant or the Department and to a joint application to the President for decision to be set aside in rare cases where additional evidence has become available. The award of a pension is a matter for the Department and not the Tribunal, and is governed by the Royal Warrant or other corresponding pensions instruments.

The case papers have been sorted into bundles for hearings held during a calendar month and are arranged in alphabetical order of the applicants' surnames.

I've recently discovered a great, little-known source for people researching the service of their First World War ancestors in Scotland. There are a set of post-WW1 pension appeal records held by the National Records of Scotland ( The records are catalogued under the reference PT6 and contain the pension application records of 1000s of Scottish soldiers -and next of kin of soldiers (usually widows) - who suffered from injuries sustained in the war, or died after the war due to injuries. These appear to be the Scottish equivalent of the PIN26 series for England and Wales (which, unlike the Scottish PT6 series, is indexed). Whereas the PT26 series appears to only be a selection of the disability pensions awarded to English and Welsh soldiers after the First World War, the Scottish PT6 series appears to be complete. And as you'll see below, the Scottish records are also quite detailed.

The applications are organised in boxes alphabetically by month, from November 1919 (reference PT6/1), to December 1932 (reference PT6/288). That's about 29 meters (or 95 feet) of pension records! There are also records from the same series covering post-WW2 disability pension applications, however seeing as they are closed for 75 years, the first set (those from 1945) will only be available in 2021.

It doesn't appear as if any genealogists are aware of the existence of these records, as they arenít mentioned in the NAS publication Tracing your Scottish Ancestors, or in any guides to tracing WW1 ancestry that I've read, although they're a fantastic source of information on Scottish army ancestors.

Because most WW1 service records were burnt during WW2 (surviving records from record series WO363 and WO364 are indexed on, it can be difficult tracing your ancestor's service during WW1. In fact, they say you only have about a 30% chance in finding a record of your ancestor's service. Hopefully, these set of applications can raise that chance to at least 40% or 50%.

If you think your ancestor might have suffered from a disability due to the war, or died in the years afterwards, then I would strongly recommend consulting them. Many of the applications were actually rejected, so even if you know your ancestor didn't receive a disability pension, it's still possible there's a record of him applying for one. It's not clear to me whether these only cover army soldiers, or for other services also.

I've summarised the information that a typical pension file will include here below: (the layout on the actual applications is different)

General information
-Name of the soldier (+ name of the applicant, and relationship to soldier, if not the same)
-His address
-Pre-enlisting occupation
-Employer before the war (on later applications only)
-Employer after the war (on later applications only)
-Insurance society (on later applications only)

Military information
-Rank & unit
-Service no
-When first attested
-When discharged
-Reason for discharge
-Details on pre-war service (if applicable)
-Details on service 1914-1921 (when and where he served, and in what units)

Information on application
-Date of the hearing and in which courtroom it was held (the hearings were held at 3 Parliament Square, Edinburgh)
-Disability from which the man claimed to be suffering
-Whether the appeal was allowed or disallowed (many were in fact disallowed)
-If allowed, how much the applicant received, and whether he got a lump sum or a fixed rate, and for how long

Each file also has some information on the soldier's medical history. From around 1923, the application files start to get thicker and thicker, some having up to 10 or more pages of medical history, detailing the medical condition of the soldier throughout, and after, the war, as well as his date and cause of death if he died. Some of the files also include correspondence relating to the application.The application records are held off-site, and will need to be ordered 24 hours in advance.

Occasionally, I've come across a file which had not been filed under the correct letter within the box, and once, I came across a file that had been filed in the wrong box.

I believe these records have great potential for being a useful source for WW1 family history research. The problem with them however is that, without an index, it can be very time consuming looking for a pension record unless you know exactly when it was applied for.

I hope someone will see fit to digitise or at least index them. Perhaps this could be a project for a genealogy society, or a commercial website (findmypast?). I can't see the NRS indexing or digitising them any time soon, as I know they're already quite busy with digitising valuation rolls, and other records.
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lost in tilloy

Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 111

PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have. There are a few hundred boxes. From samples I've looked at some boxes have about 100 cases, others fewer. Each box is roughly in alphabetical order but there has been no overall indexing. There could be many duplicates as some people may have tried to appeal many times.

To the best of my knowledge, having spoken to someone at the NAS, there is no plan to digitise these in the near future. Happy to be corrected on this if someone knows any different.

I am currently using some of my limited spare time to go through boxes in order to create an overall index. One other person is willing to help too. It will be a very long and slow process however.
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4858
Location: The County of Angus

PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that.

An index would be very worth while for people in the future.
Good luck!

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