Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/49

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The War and the Future

First, an army of defence, against invasion. This is a small army consisting mainly of elderly men and of lads in training. We have to maintain it; it may be necessary; and "it is better to be sure than sorry."

Then we have armies abroad in distant parts of this war, the army in Italy, the army in Salonika, and the big garrisons in India and Egypt which feed the armies in Mesopotamia and in Palestine. All of these armies and garrisons melt away continually in the fire of war, and everywhere on the roads to those armies, are the reinforcements and the drafts swallowing up more and yet more men.

In Gibraltar, and Malta and Alexandria and Port Said, you will see, every day, some ship filled with our men going out to death in those far fields, and you will see the men standing on the deck and cheering, as the ship draws away and leaves home and sweetness and pleasant life behind, for ever.

Then, besides these, we have the army of the sick. The great epidemical scourges of ancient armies have been nearly eliminated from this war; but we have been forced to maintain armies in distant outposts of this war, in Gallipoli, in Salonika, and in Mesopotamia