Chapter 17 – The Final Words.
While the termination of the war brought rejoicing and ended years of stress and anxiety, there was good deal of sadness in the breaking up of the Battalion. Since 1914, the officers and men had been bound by the strong ties of fraternal understanding and soldierly qualities. Elsewhere, individual hopes and aspirations were loyally subordinated to the well-being of the Battalion in the pursuit of high ideals.
The spirit of comradeship was strongly developed within the London Irish and, at any time, it would be difficult to find a single individual lacking a chum, who would not be prepared to share all and risk all for his pal.
Often too, the strongest bonds of affection linked widely diverse types although frequently cloaked by the outward appeared of casual indifference.
Inevitably, casualties shattered new as well as long standing friendships but it was marked feature of the London Irish that drafts were cordially welcomed and forthwith made at home.
All ranks firmly believed that the Battalion, which landed in France in March 1915, was at least equal to the best, and it can be truly said that the London Irish was exceptionally fortunate in the drafts which arrived from time to time.
These new comrades quickly sensed and absorbed the spirit of the Battalion and made it their business to live up to established traditions.
Right well they succeeded and the veterans of 1914 – 18 proudly and gratefully acknowledged the sacrifices and achievements of the drafts.
As men left the Battalion, to re-enter civilian life, the fortunate ones returned to jobs kept open for them or to resume control of their businesses. Many others, less happily placed, were thrown into an uncertain labour market. These circumstances and the severance of the staunch fellowship of the firing line brought many grievous moments.
It can be said, however, that whatever trials and tribulations afflict the old members of the Battalion, all can look back with honest pride on their association with the London Irish and on labour well and truly performed.