Previous Index Next

 

AT SALISBURY PLAIN   ,i7

Act to secure that it is wholesome and up to the Government standard.

"I would also add that, from my own personal observation, in and around the towns of Folkestone. Sandgate and vicinities, I have not seen any cases of drunkenness; had there been any, I would have noticed them as I have made it a special point to observe the troops in this connection. I feel that, as far as the Shorncliffe area is concerned, the charges made by the people in Canada in regard to drunkenness and the temptations which face the Canadian soldiers in this country are without foundation; rather, on the other hand, are their temptations greatly removed by the strict disciplinary control which is and has been exercised over the wet canteens in the camps at Shorncliffe and over the public houses in the towns adjoining. Personally, as G.O.C. Troops, Shorncliffe Command, I have exercised my fullest powers in this matter, and am satisfied that, as a result, this evil of drunkenness is virtually non-existent."

During the few hours in which the "wet" canteens were open in the evenings they were thronged with careless, happy men, forgetful of the fatiguing duties of the day, forgetful of the filth and mud, of the steadily falling rain and of the discomfort awaiting them all of sleeping in their sodden uniforms and bedding. The hot reeking marquees resounded with song and story; and while in the midst of one applauding group an extemporized orchestra of jews'-harp and mouth-organ would be furnishing music for a clog dance, a quiet game of chess or draughts would have an equally appreciative, if less demonstrative, audience, and, in a corner undisturbed by his surroundings, a lad of seventeen or eighteen would be writing that much-to-be-welcomed letter to his home.

The "dry" canteens and Y.M.C.A. tents were even more crowded with a jostling throng, eager to secure a place at the counters or a vacant chair at the writing-tables until the bugle summoned all to their respective tents, usually necessitating ploughing through two or


Previous Index Next