Demobilisation choices for repatriated prisoners of war

The photograph and caption from the “Daily Mirror” is thanks to the British Newspaper Archive.

Men who had been held as prisoners of war were granted a standard period of two months of paid home leave after they had been repatriated to home territory. They were requested to indicate their preferences by completing Army Form Z68 (which was applicable for all except those who were serving on a pre-war regular engagement and had completed their regular colour service, and those who were intending to re-enlist into the post-bellum army).

If they wished to be demobilised at the end of their leave without rejoining their unit and were from one of the following groups, they signed Part A of the form to signify it. Men who did not fit any of the following descriptions would be obliged to rejoin their unit in accordance with instructions that had already been given.

  • Men who had been applied for as a Demobiliser by a Government Department
  • Men who had been applied for by a firm as a Pivotal Man (that is, a key employee)
  • Men who had applied for releases as a special compassionate case
  • Men who had received a written offer of employent by a firm which employed them before 4 August 1914(the offer had to be endorsed by a Local Advisory Comittee of an Employment Exchange)
  • Men over 41 years of age and
    • who had completed a normal engagement in the regular army, or
    • who had been posted under the Military Service (No. 2) Act, 1918, or
    • who had voluntarily enlisted for the duration of the war and were aged 41 by 18 April 1918, or
    • who had agreed to continue in the service and were aged 41 by 18 Apri 1918
  • Men who belonged to the following Industrial Groups
    • 1. Agriculture
    • 2. Seaman and fishermen
    • 3. Coal mining
    • 10. Paper, printing and bookbinding
    • 22. Shipbuilding
    • 30. Building trades and construction of works, including navvies
    • 33. Carters, carmen, etc. of horse vehicles
    • 35. Employees and public and local authorities and of public utility companies
    • 43. Students and teachers
    • 45. Those who were entitled to free repatriation to countries other than the United Kingdom.

A man would sign Part B of the Form if he alternatively wished to relinquish any unexpired part of his paid leave and be demobilised immediateley without returning to a unit.

The Army Forms Z68 should appear in a man’s service record if it still exists, although they seem to be comparatively scarce.


Prisoners of war

Demobilisation and discharge