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AT SALISBURY PLAIN   X93

The task of the C.A.S.C. in supplying the camps became a most stupendous one, but, in spite of overwhelming difficulties, they proved their ability to operate with a division on active service. The road-beds in many places had become practically impossible, the motor trucks sinking up to their hubs in the mud and the horses floundering helplessly with only medium-sized loads. The River Avon, normally a limpid stream, became a swollen torrent destroying rustic bridges and flooding roads and villages to a depth of three and four feet, necessitating circuitous and tedious journeys and prolonging working hours long into the scheduled rest periods. But the distribution of provisions and supplies proceeded without any apparent interruption and the quantities consumed daily in each camp, tremendous as they would appear to a layman, were invariably forth-coming from that indefatigable and apparently inexhaustible C.A.S.C.

Christmas Day, 1914, was not, as might be supposed, a day of sorrowful longing for the bright Christmases of the past back home in Canada. With from fourteen to twenty-four inches of mud and water underfoot reflecting a muddy sky overhead through a steaming drizzle of rain, the smiles of the men seemed a little brighter and their voices more jolly, as if to assure themselves that in spite of all appearances to the contrary it was really Christmas and they knew it. In so far as it was possible Christmas leave had been granted, and to those remaining in camp, who were to celebrate the holiday by leave on the following week-end, was served a real full-course Christmas dinner, after which amusements, clever, diverse, and entertaining, and arranged and produced mainly among themselves, served to lighten the spirits of all and carry the fun and frolic far into the night. Several of the huts were particularly lucky in being entertained by famous London concert and music-hall artists, who dauntlessly braved the appalling weather and unselfishly devoted their own holidays to the amusement


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