Up until the introduction of conscription by the passing of the Military Service Act of 1916, a man who had served under a Regular or Territorial engagement and who reached the normal expiry of that engagement could and would be discharged from the army. This even applied to experienced men who were serving in the trenches at the time, with a few exceptions as described below. The man was known as “time expired”. This all changed on 8 June 1916 with the publication of Army Order 202 (1916).
If you see “T/E” or “T of E” on a man’s medal index card it implies he was discharged as being “time expired” or “termination of engagement”.
Army Order 202 1916
1. Under the provisions of the Military Service Act, 1916 (Session 2), no soldier of the Regular Army or Territorial Force will be allowed during the continuance of the present war to be discharged on completion of the period of engagement, unless at the date he would otherwise have become due for discharge he has attained the age of 41 years, and had also served for a period of 12 years or more, together with the additional twelve months’ service required by Section 87 (1) of the Army Act, and by Section IX (5) of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act.
2. The instructions contained in Army Orders 252 and 253 of 1915 will in future apply only to soldiers of the Regular Army and Territorial Force who are about to become due for discharge in consequence of having fulfilled the requirements of paragraph (1) of this Army Order.
3. The following entry will be made in the “Statement of Services” on the attestation form of every soldier of the Regular Army or Territorial Force whose service is prolonged under the provisions of the Military Service Act, 1916 (Session 2): “Continued in the Service under the Military Service Act, 1916 (Session 2), from [date] …………… “. In the case of the soldiers referred to in paragraph (2) of this Army Order, the follwing entry will be made in their attestations: “Having fulfilled the requirements of the proviso to Section 2 of the Military Service Act, 1916 (Session 2), agreed to continue serving under the condistions of Army Order …. of 1915“. The above entries will be made as from the date on which the soldier would otherwise have become due for discharge.
4. Army Order 111 of 1916 is hereby cancelled.
Army Order 111 of 1916 concerned non-commissioned officers and men who had been released for munitions work. Under AO202 they would no longer be discharged but retained as described above.