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CREATING THE CANADIAN ARMY 57

 

Assembled in this camp was an army more than half as large as the British force commanded by Wellington at Waterloo. Artillery, Cavalry, Infantry, Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Signalling Corps, Army Medical Corps, Ammunition Columns, Supply and Transport Service were all being organized and trained for work which was new to the great majority. All had to be equipped, fed, and finally transported overseas. In the period which has elapsed since the declaration of war we have become accustomed to big figures, until operations in the field and at home which were considered impossible have now become almost commonplace. But the fact remains that any prophet who would have dared to foretell in 1913 what Canada managed to accomplish in a few weeks of the following year, would have been laughed to scorn.

In 1913, the general feeling among Canadians was that the possibility of their country ever becoming seriously involved in a European war was so remote as to be scarcely worth consideration. In the first place the Dominion could rely on her geographical position to keep her out of complications, and in the second on the Monroe Doctrine. Why keep up a fleet while we had the British Navy behind us? Why trouble about a serious army while we had a friendly United States to the South? European wars had for the average Canadian much the same kind of detached interest that school children feel in reading about the Crusades. The Canadian would spring to arms readily enough were his own country attacked, but who was to attack it?—except our neighbours across the boundary, with whom we had been at peace for a hundred years, and with whom we were in many ways in closer touch than we were with the mother-country across the seas? As for the latter, her own leading statesmen seemed to pay little attention to the rumours of war, and to what were regarded as the croakings of the alarmists, such as Kipling and Beresford, and Lord Roberts and other advocates of compulsory Mili-


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