CREATING THE CANADIAN ARMY 71
tant and Paymaster-General in his report of December, 1915, says in part:
"To the layman the work of paying an army may seem a simple task, and it would be simple if it consisted merely of paying men a fixed rate once a month as in the case of large corporations. Owing to the fact, however, that the Government assumes a sort of paternal charge over the soldier; clothes, feeds, houses and pays him, and also in a way provides for his family, the work is not as simple as it might appear; and when desertions and changes are extremely numerous, as was the case for the first few months, and regimental officers, including the paymaster, are more or less inexperienced in their duties, there is bound to be care and worry for those in charge of the work. Add to this the difficulties resulting from having to issue part of the soldier's pay in Ottawa to his dependents and the balance to the soldier himself in England or France, and the work becomes extremely complicated and the correspondence enormous, as the pay officers at Ottawa and in London have to keep each other advised of the state of each soldier's account. For this purpose it is necessary to open a ledger account with each soldier and also one with each dependent. Some idea of the work may be had from the number of cheques issued from the pay office at Ottawa, which now total eighty thousand a month." This report was made in December, 1915; the number of cheques issued a year later was nearer 200,000.
Early in May, 1915, the War Purchasing Commission took over the buying operations from the Militia Department with the result that—to quote the words of the Director of Contracts—"a much larger volume of business has been disposed of more quickly, more easily, and to better advantage than before."
The formal organization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in England was a matter of evolution. The First Contingent on Salisbury Plain was under General Alder-son, who subsequently commanded it in action. Then