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296   DAYS OF PREPARATION

In these early days of the war, October, November, December, 1914, the "ranker" was hardly viewed in the light of present day developments or even of the developments the next few months bestowed, but to secure guaranteed material for the ideal young and stalwart officers of the New Army no source was so fruitful as the voluntary battalions of Canada's Expeditionary Force.

To still the impatience of the troops eager for battle came the final review before the King on February 4th, 1915. Just six months from the actual declaration of War here stood a complete division ready for an unknown battlefield, with confidence in themselves and their leaders apparent in their every movement. They had an appearance of solidarity, of unshakeable determination, of a deeply-rooted intention to "make good" in this war game. And that winter on Salisbury Plain was a satisfaction to each and every member of the Division. It had hall-marked him as a Canadian soldier, sound men-tally and physically, trained and equipped, passed with honours through the severest tests ever adopted to select picked troops. The King in his address reiterated his confidence in them and so voiced the feelings of the nation. The Division in review was composed of every arm of the Service, a moveable city of over 20,000 men, self-supporting and self-governed with hospitals and doctors, butcheries and bakeries, police, postmen, carpenters, every conceivable trade useful to a community represented, each arm dependant on the others, all comprising a perfect unit.

The days following the King's review were spent in feverish anticipation of immediate departure. Kits were most carefully packed and stowed away, only to be over-hauled the following day for unexpectedly required articles. There was apparently an impression among the men that the Division might be moved to France in the middle of the night without even their own knowledge, and that they would awaken to find themselves within


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