Previous Index Next

 

256   DAYS OF PREPARATION

the dust nuisance. Palliative methods of various kinds were adopted, not with any shining success, and more than once grumbling flamed suddenly into the beginning of disorder. On a rainy day, or after a heavy rain, the camp was easily endurable, for there was no mud . If it had not been for the dust Borden would have been the finest camp in Canada. Special work on it during the autumn and a judicious spring sowing of grass made it more satisfactory for the 1917 season. Unfortunately by this year the flood of recruits had become a mere rivulet, and as the trained battalions went overseas few infantry units were left for accommodation at Camp Borden.

The awakening of interest in air service gave opportunity to use a portion of the camp as an a°rodrome. Here the chief training centre for the Royal Flying Corps was established, and on July 1st a squadron of ten machines flew to Toronto and back again without landing—a total distance of about 120 miles, as the 'plane flies. Subsidiary to Borden but all important in their way were flying grounds at Leaside, at York Mills and at Long Branch—all in the suburbs of Toronto. Other camps were established at Mohawk near Deseronto, Ontario, and at Lulu Island in British Columbia.

Great and marvellous was the task of raising a citizen army. Heavy was the burden upon the Department of Militia and Defence, suddenly converted into the War Office of a First Class Power. Statistics are not always illuminating, but every writer must resort to them some-times. Therefore let us quote triumphantly the record of the enlargement of the Ordnance Branch—one small section of this new War Office—the section which saw to the furnishing and equipment of the men. Three months before the war broke out its establishment consisted of 29 officers and 256 men of other ranks. On April 1st, 1917, it had grown to 36 officers and 497 men—533 against 285. In the summer of 1917, when most of the oversea troops had left the country and the


Previous Index Next