62nd West Riding Division Annual Dinner Menu

In the aftermath of the Great War there was a desire amongst old soldiers to meet up with old comrades and share their experiences, experiences civilians could not comprehend, on a regular basis. Regimental old comrades associations were popular, however a regiment would have many battalions and they could be sent on active service around the world, the men of a battalion that spent the war on the Western Front would have had a very different experience to those who spent the war in Mesopotamia fighting the Turks. Divisional old comrades associations then provided a different meeting of old soldiers. Most divisions had battalions from across a range of regiments, but most were geographically from the same part of the British Isles and these men would have shared the same battles and hardships so there was a natural kinship, even if individuals had served in different regiments.

The 62nd Division was made up of battalions from the West Yorkshire Regiment, the West Riding Regiment, the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and the York and Lancaster Regiment. All these regiments shared a recruitment area centred on the West Riding of Yorkshire and its neighbouring counties, therefore it made sense for the old comrades of the division to hold their annual reunion in the largest city of the region; Leeds. Today we have a menu from one such annual dinner held in 1936:

From the cover we can see that the dinner was held at the Great Northern Hotel in Leeds. This hotel was situated close to the Leeds Central Railway Station and so was ideally placed for those travelling into the city by train. Note also the pelican, this was the divisional symbol of the 62nd Division and so was an obvious symbol to print on the front of the menu.

Inside the menu is printed in French and seems a quite sophisticated choice of dishes!

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