Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/156

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British coast of a raiding German force would be the signal for a rush inland, and there is every reason to take steps for ensuring that that rush shall be orderly and controlled, and in no sense a blind and panic flight which would be alike unnecessary and disastrous. It may well be, and it is to be hoped, that the danger will never come. That does not absolve us from the necessity of being ready to meet it. War is an affair of surprises, and Germany has sprung many surprises upon the world since last August.

The refusal of the War Office authorities to extend any sympathetic consideration towards the new Civilian Corps, which are striving, despite official discouragement, to fit themselves for the duty of home defence in case the necessity should arise, is another instance of the lack of imagination and insight which has shown itself in so many ways during our conduct of the campaign. These Corps now number well over a million men. All that the Army Council has done for them is to extend to such of them as became affiliated to the Central Volunteer Training Association the favour of official "recognition" which will entitle them to rank as combatants in the event of invasion. Even that recognition is coupled with a condition that has given the gravest offence and which threatens, indeed, to go far towards paralysing the movement altogether.

It is in the highest degree important, as will readily be admitted, that these Corps should not interfere with recruiting for the Regular Army. That the Volunteers themselves fully recognise. But to secure this non-interference the Government have made it a condition of recognition that any man under military age joining a Corps shall sign