Memories of War: 1914-18 By Douglas Harry Butler (Gloucester Regiment Territorials)

But I am wandering again. I must finish this saga of four and a half wasted years. It was not a ‘war to end wars but just a curtain-raiser to the 1939-45 catastrophe and is the world not still wasting its substance and energies readying for the next? One last episode. I had been promised each week that ‘your name will be on the next list for demobilisation’ but the weeks went by and my name was never there. One evening the Adjutant was on leave and the second- in-command was out at a party. The Colonel was also not to be found when a note arrived stating: ‘One officer and twenty other ranks to beat the station at 2200 hours for demobilisation’. I was in command! I sent for the Orderly officer of the day and said "Until the Adjutant the second-in- command or the Colonel arrives back you are in charge here”. "What do you mean Butler?” "I mean I am going home on the train tonight." "Who says so?” "I am at present in command and I have just signed this order and I am returning this list of one officer (thats me) and 20 other ranks to catch the train for demobilisation at ten o'clock tonight”. "They won't like it. There will abe frightful row tomorrow.” I grinned and said with a seraphic smile "And I shall be steaming away towards Blighty and what the hell are they going to do about that?" They did nothing about it. Soon March 2nd 1919 I arrived at Chisledon station. It was almost midnight when I arrived home to be met with the savage barking of my sister's West Highland dog. He'd never met me you see. moreNo nattering. Farewell to any of you who may chance to read these pages. I can do no better than to wish that Chance maybe as kind to you as it has been tome and that you may live as happy a life as I have lived.
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