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CANADIAN WAR CAMPS   f251

cannot be doubted that the unrest, the envy, the anger, and at times 'even the fury of supernumerary officers of all grades were due largely to the indefensible bluntness of the man whose greatness as an organizer and a driving force was marred by an overbearing temper. He had much, it is true, to try his temper. One instance will suffice; on January 30th, 1917, he spoke as follows in the House of Commons :

"One day I drove fifteen miles through the Valcartier camp, and I found twenty-one officers on duty out of some 1,500. Having made enquiries, I found that the fishing was good up in the mountains, and that the company was very genial at the summer hotels. In other words, the whole camp had degenerated early in the game into a huge picnic party. I called a meeting of some fifteen or sixteen hundred officers the next day, and told them in plain Anglo-Saxon language what this war meant. I told them that they were not there for picnic purposes, and that if I found them absent from the camp or from duty I would take it as an intimation that they wanted to return to their homes. I pointed out the seriousness of the war, and the need of the officers making themselves efficient in their duties. All but about fifteen or twenty rolled up their sleeves, and the splendid record of the Canadian officers has been the result. Many of them told me that that occasion was the first time that they took the matter seriously. I may say incidentally that a few of them did get return tickets to their homes, the result being a very beneficial effect upon the service."

Perpetually it was said that Sir Sam had put his "pets" in charge of the various battalions. Three of these "pets" leaving Canada as lieutenant-colonels in 1914, by 1917 were lieutenant-generals. All three have been knighted. The selections thus made for the high commands of the First Contingent were justified in the flame of battle. A newspaper writer studying Valcartier Camp in 1914 said this: "A singular thing


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