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John Meads 2006

Absent Voters List – 1918


Private Edward Campen,
Sherwood Foresters Regt,
died 27th September

2nd Lieut Ralph Buckby RAF
(Cadet when the list was prepared),
died 25th September  

Able Seaman Walter J Buckby
“Anson” Battalion Royal Naval
Division, died 30th September

Three men named on the Absent Voters List who did not survive the war.

As the result of an Act of Parliament passed on 6th February 1918, servicemen aged 19 or over became eligible to vote in their home constituency, but non-combatant males still needed to be 21 and most women 30 years of age. The Absent Voters List enabled servicemen and women to vote by proxy or by postal application when away on active service. The list records the civilian address of the absent voter, but more importantly for researchers, they give the service number and regimental details.

The first so-called Absent Voters List was published on 15th October 1918 and was compiled from details supplied by the men themselves before the closing date for applications of 18th August 1918 . A General Election was held as soon as it could be arranged after the November Armistice, 14th December 1918 .

There are 345 names on the list, but it is important to remember when searching for a relative that men under the age of 19 will not appear on the list. The Roll of Honour gives a truer picture of the number of men that served, but of course it does not give their service number, regiment, corps or ship. Some of the names are of men who were married to Burton girls, or using a fiancée’s address. Conscientious objectors to serving in the war were disqualified from voting.

Sadly, eight of the men named on the list did not survive the war and another died of wounds in 1919.

The list is taken from the “1918 Electoral Register for the Kettering Parliamentary Division of the County of Northampton. Polling District of Burton Latimer”. Northamptonshire County Record Office.

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