Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/159

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153
THE PERIL OF APATHY

efficiency in simple military movements, and in shooting with the miniature rifle. At the same time some clear definition ought to be forthcoming of what, in the opinion of the Army Council, constitutes a valid reason, in the case of a man of military age, for not joining the regular forces. It is certain that when the time comes for the Allies to take a strong offensive we shall be sending enormous numbers of trained men out of the country, and, the wastage of war being what it is, huge drafts will be constantly required to keep the fighting units up to full strength. In the meantime large numbers of Territorials in this country are chained to the irksome—though very necessary—duty of guarding railways, bridges, and other important points liable to be attacked. There seems to be no good reason why a great deal, if not the whole, of this work should not be undertaken by Volunteers. This would free great numbers of Territorials for more profitable forms of training and would, undoubtedly, enable us to send far more men out of the country if the necessity should arise.

If the Volunteers were regarded by those in authority with the proper sympathy which their patriotism deserves, it would be seen that they provide, in effect, a class of troops closely corresponding to the German Landsturm, which is already taking its part in the war. It is important to remember that, up to the present time, we have enlisted none but picked men, every one of whom has had to pass a strict medical and physical examination. We have left untouched, in fact, our real reserves. Those reserves, apparently scorned by the official authorities, are capable, if they receive adequate encouragement, of providing an immense addition to our fighting forces.