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VOLUNTARY WAR RELIEF   197

which distance renders such care doubly valuable and a hundred times more difficult to display. However efficient may be the Ordnance and the Commissariat and the Pay Office, they cannot satisfy all the "human" needs of the fighting men who do not cease to be sons and brothers, husbands and fathers, because they become soldiers. The Ordnance issue of garments may be above reproach in quantity and quality; but a pair of hand-knit socks from home warms the heart as well as the feet, and a gift of a box of maple sugar has a psychological effect upon the recipient not to be achieved by the most nicely balanced ration ever devised by a dietitian!

Depression and boredom are two dangerous antagonists to the morale of the army, and the wise leader of men recognizes the value of the "love-gift" which brings to nerve-racked and homesick lads an ocular demonstration that they are not neglected or forgotten at home. Logically, they may be right who say that the Government should do all and leave no place for voluntary service: psychologically they are wrong; and one of the many discoveries of this war has been the extent of the influence of psychic forces upon military action. For although the experiences of the last three years have thrown doubt upon Napoleon's dictum that the morale of an army is more important than its equipment, yet there has never been a war in which an equal amount of attention has been bestowed upon the provision of social intercourse and even artistic enjoyment. The official encouragement of the efficient recreational work of the Y.M.C.A. and the visits of parties of singers and actors to the nien in rest billets; the facilities afforded for relations to visit sick men in hospitals, even across the sea, show how highly the men in charge of military operations value the influences of recreation and family affection.

Were the Government itself to attempt to provide and manage such enterprises as these from funds raised by taxation, it would be continually subject to criticism


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