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AT SALISBURY PLAIN   297

sound of the guns and having missed the Channel crossing. Finally, however, on the night of the 8th of February, definite orders were received. The moment had come to move and with it the excitement and anxiety died away. With business-like precision arrangements were completed. The move was to be made with as little noise and bustle as possible. Every man knew what was expected of him and what he had to do and when he had to do it, due to the careful instruction issued long before and practically memorized by everyone concerned. Each unit had its own time for falling in, its own time for leaving the camp and its own time for passing a given point on its way to the station to entrain. And again the wonder of the Imperial organization was apparent. As each train was loaded, it pulled out without loss of time to be replaced by another, the size of each train nicely gauged to the size of the unit to be accommodated without waste space or undue overcrowding. Train after train departed from the little country station for a destination unknown, save possibly to the engine-drivers and the secretive Railway Transport Officer at the station. And when morning broke those huge camps were deserted. Later in the day small fatigue parties moved mournfully about collecting and burning rubbish and sorting and packing articles returnable to Ordnance. In one camp only was the routine undisturbed. At Sling Plantation the 4th Brigade "carried on" as before, unconscious of the fact that the Division had pulled out until rumours to that effect were confirmed by despatch riders returning with envelopes addressed "Headquarters-Bustard" undelivered. Then and only then did those four battalions give up the cherished hope that they might accompany their more fortunate comrades. Never did the weather appear more miserable, their surroundings more dreary and uninteresting, and their lives more useless and undesirable. Little surprise and less objection would have been exhibited at an order to return to Canada. But brighter days were to come. Joining the


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