Allow me to clarify that Paul.
I was referring to the GWR in the big four era. There is little doubt that the LMS suffered very poor morale before the later management took over. The evidence of western pride can be found after nationalisation when the individualism of the Western Region asserted itself on many occasions.
You are entirely correct - up to a point - to allude to the "esprit de corps" in the pre grouping companies, it was an undeniable fact.
I also need to clarify -- I was also referring to the Big Four era. The M&GN remained an independent company after 1923 because it was jointly owned by companies that were merged into two of the Big Four groups (LMS and LNER). The archive footage I was referring to was of men who worked through the 1920s and into the 1930s (the LMS and LNER did a deal in, off the top of my head, 1936, where the LMS effectively gave its half of the M&GN to the LNER, at which point the old joint lost most of what remained of its independence).