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232   DAYS OF PREPARATION

hospitals, and had found that men were often depressed at the prospect of spending their sick leave alone in London. He was gratified to learn that the matter was already under way. Mrs. Kipling consented to be Chairman of the Executive Committee, and Earl Grey, Lord Milner, and Mr. Kipling were its first patrons.

On August 4th, 1915—just a year after the Declaration of War—the Maple Leaf Club on Charles Street was opened by the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Borden, G.C.M.G., Prime Minister of Canada. At first 60 beds were avail-able, later the number was increased to 90, and again to 112.

The movement spread. A residential club for oversea men was organized by the Victoria League, and Peel House was secured for the same purpose: President, Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland, Bart., then Under Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Their Majesties approved so highly of the work that they expressed their desire to have their names associated with these clubs, which henceforth bore, besides their distinctive names, the Royal title "King George and Queen Mary."

Soon the club in Charles Street was overflowing, and in the spring of 1916, through the liberality of the I.O.D.E., there was added a beautifully-situated house at 5 Con-naught Place, near the Marble Arch, with verandas overlooking Hyde Park. In the autumn another I.O.D.E. annex was opened at 13 Connaught Place, then 14 Connaught Place was added. These clubs became so popular among men on leave from training camps and convalescent hospitals that it was decided, if possible, to open others near Victoria Station for the special use of men from the Front. In October and November, 1916, this hope was realized through the munificence of the Ontario Government, and houses at Elizabeth Street and Grosvenor Gardens were opened, thus making four club centres, comprising in all eight houses, and giving accommodation to almost eight hundred men. Every '


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