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CANADIAN WAR CAMPS   257

conscription controversy was raging, the personnel dropped to 478.

In Canada a hundred years of peace had practically extinguished public interest in military affairs. Even in the Militia there were many officers—at least until 1899—who looked upon the annual two weeks outing at Camp and the Regimental Ball as collateral in importance, men who never made a serious study of soldiering save in the colloquial sense of the word. The South African War wrought a change, though not a complete one. It created a body of officers and men of non-commissioned rank who devoted themselves with ardour to self-improvement in military science. The city regiments grew in smartness and efficiency owing to the development of a proper pride. These hailed with satisfaction the appointment in 1911 of a practical soldier as Minister of Militia and Defence. Lieut.-General the Hon. Sir Sam Hughes has his limitations, but few will deny that he is a competent officer, fervently interested in his profession. To the hardworking soldiers of the Militia of 1911 he brought encouragement and stimulated them to ardent effort. He even chose a group of them to accompany him to the British manoeuvres in 1912 and took them over some of the fields of France rendered famous in the war of 1870.

When war was declared we had only the skeleton of an 'army but a completely mobilized enthusiasm. The men who had studied war knew what a camp should be. They knew the trend of modern military training. To them the Minister turned, and with his driving force set them energetically at work. Valcartier and Hughes, Niagara and Borden, Sarcee and Sussex were one result. The secondary but greater result is to be traced in the salient of Ypres.


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