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56   DAYS OF PREPARATION

strength would thus amount to from 31,000 to 33,000 men.

It took just four weeks to convert a picturesque valley, lying among low rounded hills, dotted here and there with farms, and looking generally like a peaceful illustration from an advertisement of the Swiss Federal Railways, into a huge military camp, bounded on one side by four miles of rifle targets crowded so close together that it was a mystery to the civilian how the recruit could know which he was supposed to fire at,—and provided with buildings, streets and water supply, sewerage and lighting systems, and with a population of 35,000 men. The construction work at Valcartier Camp began on August 8th, 1914. When the Prime Minister visited the camp a month later he found 12,000 men receiving two hours rifle practice every day of eight hours at a rifle range which had been constructed in ten days. There was a complete water supply system, with chlorinization plant, a fire protection service, two hundred taps for ablution tables, seventy-five baths and sanitary conveniences. There was electric light, electric power, and telephone service. The sewerage system included over 28,000 feet of drain-pipes laid below the frost line. Open drains for surface drainage were dug all round the camp. Railway sidings and loading platforms were busy day and night. Woods had been cleared away and fences and useless buildings razed to the ground. Other existing buildings had been renovated and repaired out of all knowledge, and put to purposes for which they had never been intended by their original owners. Army Service Corps, medical stores, pay and transport offices, hospitals for sick horses—all sprang up like mushrooms. Two large bridges were built and some fifty smaller ones. Points of danger were girded round with four miles or so of barbed wire. "I venture to say," remarked the Prime Minister, "that the organization and arrangement of Valcartier Camp has not been excelled in any part of our Empire since the commencement of this war."


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