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294   DAYS OF PREPARATION

of their colonial cousins. Many of the young ladies were by no means strangers, but frequently devoted their spare time, fatiguing as it undoubtedly was to them, to arranging extra concerts and entertainments to delight their grateful admirers.

Before the New Year dawned rumours of a move "overseas" commenced to circulate. Already the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry were in France, having crossed the Channel early in December. The regiment was now with the 27th Division of Kitchener's Army and was within sound of the guns. Training had been proceeding apace and Divisional manoeuvres had even been undertaken. Officers and N.C.O.'s had been detailed to courses at Imperial schools of instruction as fast as vacancies occurred and transmitted in turn the extra knowledge thus gained to their own men on their return. Field days became more numerous, and the 4th Brigade—the Reinforcing Base—held in readiness a Base Detail for each of the units of the three brigades forming the Division. No men ever felt themselves so highly favoured as those chosen from this 4th Brigade to accompany the Division in the place of the casualties, while the patients in hospital chafed with the inaction and the fear of being transferred to the Depot and re-placed by more fit men. Meanwhile the Division was undergoing organization for the field. A Record and Pay Office was formed and documents collected and posted up to date. Confidential instructions were issued setting forth the procedure to be followed in all manner of contingencies preparatory to proceeding "overseas." Certain changes were made in commands and staffs. The men were instructed as to the disposal of their surplus baggage and kit, what they must carry, what it must weigh, how to wear their identification disc, and what it was for, and also how to make their wills in the back of their pay books and of the thousand small but important items incidental to service as a Canadian soldier with the British Expeditionary Force.


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