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AT SALISBURY PLAIN   291

was at hand. The most scrupulous cleanliness was not proof against these tenacious and persistent pests.

On one occasion a storm of more than usual violence razed practically every tent to the ground. The wind was so fierce that the united efforts of four or five men were unable to save their tent and belongings. The mud seemed to take advantage of the resulting confusion to encroach on everything that had managed up to that time to retain some semblance of its original appearance. Small articles were buried deep and never recover-ed. Divisional Headquarters suffered irreparably when the tents and marquees utilized as offices surrounding Bustard Inn were blown down and the contents of the files and records scattered far and wide over the muddy fields and roads, Even documents written months afterwards were lost in the "storm of Bustard." In the hutted camps sheets of corrugated iron three feet wide and four to six feet long were picked up and blown about like so much paper and were the cause of many painful injuries, not only on the night of the storm but long afterwards, as they became partially buried in the mud and presented sharp cutting edges to the unwary.

The field ambulances and hospita's had been continually handling, almost to full capacity, cases of injury and disease, and the nursing sisters early gained a reputation for cheerfulness and fortitude. Working around the hospitals, wet, muddy, and uncomfortable in rubber knee-boots, sharing the hardships of the men as a matter of course, they set an example of willingness and cheerfulness that would have shamed the slacker into action had he been able to witness it. They faced death daily, for, apparently at random, spinal meningitis chose its victims. Rigorous measures were taken to check the dread disease; whole sections of camps were quarantined and every possible contact isolated under the closest observation. In spite of all precautions, military funerals became a common, indeed, almost daily spectacle, and as they wended their way towards the peaceful little church-


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