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58   DAYS OF PREPARATION

tary service. Wherefore the average Canadian regarded speculations about war as unpractical and unbusinesslike.

Then the change came in a few hours. Canada awoke to find herself already at war. What is more, she seemed to feel it—in a sense—perfectly natural that she should be at war. She had always intended to go to war, if certain circumstances should call for it, only she didn't know it. Her statesmen had told her, many of them, that the idea was absolutely ridiculous. She had believed them, and other wise men, until she flatly refused to envisage the possibility of such a situation. War on a large scale was for Canada a fantastic dream—until she was awakened suddenly by the roll of great guns and rubbed her eyes and knew that she had mistaken the dream for the reality, and the reality for the dream. And then she sprang to arms !

The men who knew nothing of war, and the men who knew but little of military life, except under peace conditions, were suddenly called on to throw aside all other work and tackle a job which was, to most of them, absolutely new and unfamiliar.

How they did it will only be appreciated when the kaleidoscopic flashes and coruscations of events of to-day have faded into the background and blended into a perspective where they will have ceased to dazzle, and assumed their proper focus; when that day comes the men who organized Valcartier will get their due credit.

When the first Division sailed, Valcartier was tidied up and turned into an ordinary training camp, which purpose it now serves quite satisfactorily. But it will always be a landmark in the history of Canada.

On the 7th of October, 1914, orders went out to Officers Commanding Divisions and Districts throughout the Dominion for the mobilization of a second Overseas Contingent. On October 9th, the Colonial Secretary cabled his thanks on behalf of His Majesty's Government, and promised that as soon as the first contingent arrived in England and had been examined, the details of the


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