The tragic story of the 16th Irish Division, which ended with its expungment from Irish history, could not have had a worst start when the British military establishment refused to recognise, in even the smallest detail, Irish willingness to provide an autonomous formation as the reborn nation's contibution to the 'Great Fight for Civilisation'. Lloyd-George, who was the British Prime Minister for the latter part of the war, included the following damning indictment of Kitchener in his War memoirs:
Nationalist ladies, fired with enthusiasm for the new Irish Division, for Mr Redmond and for the cause to which they were devoting themselves, embroidered a silken flag with the Irish harp emblazoned upon it. At the same time the patriotic ladies of Ulster were embroidering the Red Hand of Ulster on the flag which they designed to present to a division which was being raised in Ulster. In due course the two flags were presented to the respective divisions. One was taken and the other left.
When Lord Kitchener heard of the green flag and its Irish harp he ordered that it should be taken away. But the Ulster flag was allowed to wave gloriously over the heads of the Orange soldiers of the Protestant north. Ireland was deeply hurt. Her pride was cut to the quick, her sense of fair play was outraged, her sympathy with the Holy War against the military dictatorship of Europe was killed, and John Redmond's heart was broken. He ought to have appealed to Parliament, but he probably knew it was too late to avert the evil. From that moment the effort of Irish Nationalism to reconcile England and Ireland by uniting the two peoples in a common effort for the oppressed of another land failed, and Lord Kitchener's sinister order constituted the first word in a new chapter of Irish history."
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