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314   DAYS OF PREPARATION

that you, the men of the regiment, representing every part of Canada as you do, many of whom are imbued with the great traditions of the Army in which you formerly served and who in every clime and in every part of the world have nobly done your duty towards your Sovereign and your Country, will never forget the watchword of every true soldier—duty, discipline and mercy." The few words spoken by the Princess were prophetic: "I have great pleasure in presenting you with this Colour, which I have worked myself. I hope it will be associated with what I believe will be a distinguished corps. I shall follow the fortunes of you all with the deepest interest and I heartily wish every man good luck and a safe return." The men of the regiment nobly fulfilled her desire that the battalion should have a distinguished career, but her wish for good luck and a safe return was not to be realized. Only a broken handful of the splendid men who listened to her words were to return from the shot-shattered fields of Flanders and France.

The fitting out of the regiment was practically completed at Ottawa, although the boots served out were of little value for the purposes of a campaign. The equipment issued was the Web, which, in thv strenuous days to follow, proved itself in every way superior to the Oliver, which was issued to the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and which was afterwards discarded before the battalions left their training areas in England. To the Princess Patricia's was issued the Ross Rifle, then the recognized weapon of the Canadian military forces. This weapon did not meet with general approval. Experienced soldiers freely admitted its superiority for target work under conditions of a rifle meeting, but the prolonged hostility of the National Rifle Association of Great Britain sowed seeds of marked distrust. In actual practice at Rockcliffe Ranges, while many good individual scores were made, the general practice was deplorable and the rifle developed faults. It jammed on little or no


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