When the guns finally fell silent on 11th November 1918 and the cost of war had been counted, the Company owed its greatest debt to all those who had served their country and contributed to the Company’s war effort. 263 men and women of the P&O and BI Companies had made the ultimate sacrifice. Their loss would not be forgotten.
Multiplied by the newly acquired shipping companies; New Zealand, Federal Steam, Union Steam, Mercantile, Hain and Nourse, the loss of P&O group employees was closer to 700. In addition 175 passengers had lost their lives on Company ships attacked whilst operating routine services.
From P&O cadets to clerks and captains, great numbers of staff were honoured for their courage, conduct and acts of extraordinary bravery. Among them a young P&O cadet, George Leslie Drewry, one of three P&O group employees to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
'Now that the war has come to a satisfactory conclusion, as our ships are returned to us, we shall as speedily as possible resume our position in the Eastern, the Far Eastern and the Australian trades, but with so many ships sent to the bottom it will take some time before we are able to offer to the travelling public the convenience, comfort and regularity to which they had been accustomed before the War.'
Lord Inchcape, 11th December 1918