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X34   DAYS OF PREPARATION

prices are soaring, and there is, needless to say, a consider-able deficit each week. At a charge of one shilling a night, the men get hot baths, pyjamas, dressing-gown and slippers, and a comfortable bed with fresh sheets and pillow-cases. At one of the clubs the laundry for the week, consisting almost entirely of bedding and pyjamas, costs over £34. Every man on arrival is given fresh underwear, the old being disinfected and washed, after which it is repaired if fit for further use. The cost of disinfecting now amounts to £120 a month, taking only the two clubs near Victoria Station.

The clubs at Elizabeth Street and Grosvenor Gardens are, as has been said, used chiefly by men from the Front. As the troop trains usually arrive at night, and London in war time, especially in the vicinity of the stations, is as dark as any village, an Overseas Reception Committee of men has been formed to meet the trains and direct or conduct the men to the clubs.

This committee has its headquarters at St. Stephens House, Westminster, and an office on the platform at Victoria Station. Up to date about a quarter of a million of men have been met, of whom the vast majority were Canadians. The expenses, chiefly of transport, are heavy, but the work is a most necessary one, and all the King George and Queen Mary Clubs join in helping to defray them. It may be mentioned that the several branches of these clubs, Victoria League, Peel House, and Maple Leaf Clubs, are represented on a Joint Committee which meets from time to time at the Colonial Office to consider matters common to all. Mr. W. A. S. Hewins, now Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, is by virtue of his office, Chairman of both Overseas Forces Reception Committee and of the joint committee of the clubs. Sir H. Imbert-Terry, Baronet, is the energetic Vice-Chairman of the Overseas Forces Reception Committee.

Arrangements have been made with the military authorities that a paymaster should be at the club to cash the men's cheques when they arrive. One evening


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