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AT SALISBURY PLAIN   283

became heavy with moisture, which clung to garments and bedding like a fine white frost.

The rain poured down all that night and on the following morning settled into a disheartening drizzle. The sod became broken into muddy paths between the tents, and as the men encroached on the firm ground on either side these paths gradually widened. The parade grounds and other frequented parts of the camps soon became large patches of sticky mud through which the steadily falling rain could not penetrate to drain away through the chalk below.

Such were the disappointing circumstances under which the Canadians commenced their training for "Overseas" —the word now applying to a crossing of the Channel—but the feeling that had existed at Valcartier was still prevalent, that the Canadian Divsion would not be ready in time to take part in the imminent and decisive rout of the German Army. This spurred the men on, and all ranks entered into the spirit of training with an enthusiasm and earnestness that overcame all difficulties and withstood all hardships.

The infantry battalions fell in to commence the day's training on their respective parade grounds, where they had the appearance of having sprouted from a pond of watery mud, feet quite invisible and in many cases almost knee-deep. The ground surrounding the camps, however, remained for the most part firm and solid and physical training, bayonet practice, and squad, platoon, and battalion drill were carried on from early morning until "retreat." Officers from the Imperial units in France were secured to lecture to the troops on the conditions existent at the battle front, and these men emphasized the fact that accurate rapid fire and cold steel had the most demoralizing effect on the massed German troops. Practically all the members of the Division had shot the ordinary course on the Valcartier ranges, but the Imperial •authorities impressed the advisability of the complete course laid down in Imperial


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