Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/158

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men, fully excused by their own consciences from the duty of joining the Regular Army, find that, unless they are prepared to take up a false and wholly untenable position, they are not even allowed to train for the defence of their country in such a grave crisis that all other considerations but the safety of the Empire must go by the board. I am not writing of the slackers who want to "swank about in uniform" at home when they ought to be doing their duty in the trenches. I refer to the very large body of genuinely patriotic men who, honestly and sincerely, feel that, whatever their personal wishes may be, their duty at the moment is to "keep things going" at home. For men over military age the Volunteer Corps offer an opportunity of getting ready to strike a blow for England's sake should the time ever come when every man who can shoulder a rifle must take his place in the ranks. And it certainly argues an amazing want of sympathy and foresight that, for the lack of a few words of intelligible definition, a splendid body of men should lose the only chance offered them of getting a measure of military education which in time to come may be of priceless value.

No one complains that the Army Council does not immediately rush to arm and equip the Volunteers. Undoubtedly, there is still much to be done in the way of equipping the regular troops and accumulating the vast reserves that will be required when the great forward move begins. Much could be done even now, however, to encourage the Volunteers to persevere with their training. It should not be beyond the power of the military authorities, in the very near future, to arm and equip such of the Corps as have attained a reasonable measure of