Army Council Instruction 16A of 4 January 1919 laid down the regulations for the composition of drafts of men to be sent for demobilisation. The regulations attapted to tackle the complex and sentivice task of sending men home as quickly as possible, but balanced by industrial and economic priorities and the continuing demand in certain occupied territories, theatres of war and Empire garrisons. They were also subject to the proviso that all available shipping should be utitilised.
Fifty percent of each draft will be selected in the following order of priority:
- Regular soldiers serving on pre-war attestations with two or more years’ unexpired colour service (that is, years of the full-time element of their engagement) except those serving in Commands overseas (that is, not Expeditionary Forces: so, men on garrison duty in India, for example)
- Soldiers re-enlisted for service under the provisions of Army Order 4 of 10 December 1918, on conditions entitling them to two months furlough (that is, men who had re-enlisted recently)
- Soldiers re-enlisted for service under the provisions of Army Order 4 of 10 December 1918, on conditions entitling them to three months furlough (that is, men who had re-enlisted recently)
Whether at home or overseas, ten percent of each draft will be selected according to length of service in an Expeditionary Force or Command during the present war
The remainder of each draft will be composed of officers and soldiers belonging to the undermentioned classes which are enumerated in order of priority:
- Coal miners of Industrial Group 3. Coal miners, so long as any are available, will comprise 50 percent of the numbers provided under this paragraph for each dispersal draft, but not more than 50 percent, unless sufficient men of class ii to ix (below) are not available.
- Demobilisers (that is, men who would carry out the demobilisation of others).
- Pivotal men.
- Those ordered for special release on Army Form Z56.
- Those for whom approved offers of employment have been received from pre-war employers, preference being to those belonging to the industrial groups which are now open and which are specified in paragraph 5.
- Those for whom Army Form Z15a or Z16a have been received, ie “slip men”, preference being to those belonging to the industrial groups which are now open and which are specified in paragraph 5.
- Those over 41 years of age who are qualified as under:
- With completed normal engagements, including the additional year under Section 87(1) of the Army Act (that is, regulars and territorials whose engagement had expired but who had been retained for an extra year)
- Posted under the Military Service No. 2 Act, 1918. (that is, regulars and territorials whose extra year had also expired but then been retained for the duration under the MSA)
- Voluntarily enlisted for the duration of the war, and who were 41 on 18 April 1918 (that is, war time short service volunteers and conscripted men)
- Who have agreed to continue service and who were 41 or more on 18 April 1918
- Officers and soldiers from hospitals, command depots and convalescent camps, after 28 days’ treatment in hospital, in accordance with special instructions issued to GHQ Expeditionary Forces and HQ Commands
- Those who belong to the industrial groups which are now open and are specified in paragraph 5, but who have not yet received approved offers of employment nor Army Form Z15a or Z16a.
- Paragraph 5. The following industrial groups (in addition to No. 3 Coal miners) are now open. They are enumerated in numerica order and are to be regarded as of equal priority:
- 1. Agriculture.
- 2. Seamen and fishermen.
- 10. Paper-printing and bookbinding.
- 22. Shipbuilding.
- 30. Building trades and construction of works, including navvies.
- 33. Carters, carmen, etc. of horsed vehicles.
- 35. Employees of public and local authorities and of public utility companies.
- 43. Students and teachers.
Instructions will be issued from time to time as shipping is expected to be available regarding the inclusion in dispersal drafts of personnel of Group 45 who are entitled to free repatriation to countries other than the UK.
In the case of the undermentioned corps, dispersal will be more gradual for the present than in the case of the rest of the army: personnal of the Estsblishment for Engineer Services; Royal Engineers Transportation units; Royal Army Service Corps’ Royal Army Ordnance Corps; Royal Army Veterinary Corps; Remount Service; Army Pay Corps.