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290   DAYS OF PREPARATION

Plain had become impossible for the mounted troops, which were then billeted in Devizes, Shrewton, Tilshead, Edington, Potterne, Upavon, Netheravon, Figheldean, and Woodford.

The Canadian Army Service Corps and Army Medical Corps operated in all camps, and stationary hospitals were situated at Bulfcrd, Netheravon, and Lavington.

The Reinforcing I ..pot for the • Division at Sling Plantation, formed of the 9th, 11th, lath, and 17th Battalions, was being called upon from' time to time to supply fit men to replace unlucky members of the chosen division, who became injured or broke down in training owing to ill health or physical disabilities. The 1st Infantry Brigade remained at Bustard right through the winter under canvas, occasionally shifting the camp site farther from the road towards firmer ground as the mud threatened to engulf entirely the tents and their occupants. Here oil stoves were provided and a daily allowance of oil per man. The atmosphere in the interi,_ of an ordinary bell tent containing six or eight men and heated by an oil stove is more easily imagined than described. At night the tents were fastened tightly inside to prevent the entrance of the cold, wet air, the oil stove in the centre, burning brightly and emitting 'a heavy, odorous heat, and eight perspiring men in their saturated clothing, liberally plastered with mud, smoking pipes or cigarettes, with kit-bags, blankets, packs, palliasses, rifles, overcoats, and innumerable personal belongings scattered about the floor or hanging on the tent pole. In a very few minutes the heat raised steam from the wet clothing and the air became dense and stifling to any but the initiated. When the reeking atmosphere became sufficiently warm, the men stripped and endeavoured to rid their underclothing of the daily accumulation of vermin. These' body pests, at their first appearance most offensive, were soon regarded in the same way as the mud—unpleasant but unavoidable, and therefore to be ignored while more serious business


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