The declaration of peace is recorded in many of our constituent company board minutes and hailed in the General Accident November 1918 Magazine issue as follows:
Victory and Peace!… thank god for the bravery shown and the magnificent sacrifice made by those who have fought and died for us. - General's Review
Many companies, like Commercial Union and Norwich Union Fire, produced illuminated copies of board resolutions thanking staff who had served and those who had stayed behind. The minute from the board of Norwich Union Fire begins:
“The Directors desire to place on record in the minutes of the Society an expression of their sincere appreciation and admiration of the Society's staff, as evidenced during the whole period of the War".
Demobilisation after the war took place very slowly. The faces of the offices had changed forever, as many young men, for some companies over 25% of those who served, had died.
Some who survived the war found that a military calling suited them and declined to return to their insurance career. Among these was Matthew Frew of The City of Glasgow Life Assurance Company who stayed with the Royal Air Force eventually retiring as Air Vice Marshall.
Those who did return found an increased number of women working alongside them and many carried the scars of war. Amongst these were Norman F Cloutman of Norwich Union Fire Bristol branch who had a leg amputated after being struck by a shell which killed his horse from under him and R G Tait, Dundee Local Secretary of Union Assurance, who had been wounded in July 1918, losing his right eye and damaging his nose, and was still undergoing operations in March 1919.
Others had less visible but just as lasting scars. L G Carter of Commercial Union Secretarial Department who suffered loss of memory through “concussion of the brain caused by bursting of a shell”, L G Haines of Norwich Union Fire who suffered as a result of shell shock and his colleague in Head Office Mr Chilvers who brought back with him a dread of magpies, fearing their superstitious qualities. The fear plagued him so much he carried a stuffed magpie at all times so he could whip it out, quashing the words of the rhyme “one for sorrow” with “two for joy”.