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AT SALISBURY PLAIN   295

But all of those who underwent training at Salisbury Plain were not to go to France as a part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Many had been discharged and many more placed in the list to be discharged as soon as arrangements could be made. The three principal reasons for discharge at this time were:

  1. As unlikely to become an efficient soldier.

  2. As medically unfit.

  3. To accept a commission in the Imperial Forces.

Of the first category fortunately the numbers were small, but there were a few who were not subservient to military discipline, incorrigible, a nuisance to their officers and a disgrace to their uniforms. When a man's conduct sheet told a story of continual misconduct and it was found that his time was divided almost equally between confinement in the guard-room and absence without leave, the Commanding Officer had recourse to only one proceeding—to apply for his discharge on the terms that he was "unlikely to become an efficient soldier," and rid the service of his presence.

The second category were the most unfortunate—those who had possibly overrated their ability to withstand the rigours of army life, or who through accident or disease had become broken in health, were admitted to hospital and classified by the Medical Officer as "permanently unfit "—to these the sympathy of all their comrades was readily extended. It was necessary that they should be discharged and returned to Canada, as in many cases the English climate was an aggravation of the disability.

Of the last category the 1st Division became justly proud. At the first, more or less grudgingly applicants for commissions in the Imperial Army from the ranks of the Canadians were considered and finally appointed, but, as time went on and the status of the Canadian Tommy became better known and appreciated, applicants were accepted without question other than the recommendation of the Commanding Officer of the unit.


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