The War Record of The Northern Assurance Co. Ltd.

such persistence that ultimately it was almost out of compassion that they were accepted. These were by no means exceptional instances, and this simple fact is not only a splendid proof of British patriotism, but is typical of the whole-hearted support with which the Nation was prepared to prosecute the War. By the end of 1914 the number of the Home StalY on service was 105 (though this in no degree repre­ sents the number who actually offered themselves), and in February 1916, before the Military Service Act came into force, out of 262 who were eligible in August 1914, or had becom e so since that date, a magnificent total of 246 had offered themselves for service. Of these 149 had actually joined the Forces. 67 were attested, exempted or awaiting call, and 30 had been rejected as physically unfit. Of those on service, 6 were killed or missing, and 1 was a prisoner of war. About a year later (January 1917) a further 61 had joined up, making 210 on service. 56 were attested, exempted or awaiting call, and the number of those medically rejected had been reduced to 17. Of those serving 17 had been killed or were reported missing, 1 was still a prisoner of war, while 4 had been discharged as unfit for further service. But this was not all. From all the Overseas Dominions—from Australia, Africa, Canada, India, Newfoundland, New Zealand, West Indies, from every part of the world where the British flag flies— volunteers came over in their thousands ready to fight — 12 — for the great cause. By the beginning of 1917. 9 men had volunteered from the “ Northern ” Branch in Australia, 6 from the South African Branch, and 6 from the Canadian Branch, of whom 2 had been killed and 1 was a prisoner. Surely this is a record of which any Company may be proud ! The figures on 11th November 1918, the date of the signing of the Armistice, are even more significant : On Service (including casualties) ¦ 335 ^Killed or Missing (presumed killed) 59 Prisoners of War ¦ • •• 12 * Two others have since died on service. The toll of gallant dead is an extremely heavy one, 18 % of those who served. Our feeling of regard for them finds fitting expression in the words of an Irish poet :— “ THE MOTHER." “ Lord, I do not grudge “ My two strong sons that I have seen go out “ To break their strength and die, they and a few “ In bloody protest for a glorious thing. “ They shall be spoken of among the people, "T he generations shall remember them “ And call them blessed : " But I will speak their names to my own heart “ In the long nights : “ The little names that were familiar once “ Round my dead hearth. “ And though I grudge them not, I weary, weary “ Of the long sorrow. And yet I have my jo v ; "My sons were faithful and they fought/’ * * ? ? — 13 —
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