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Special Reserve Battalion (several of whom had South
African War ribbons to make them more impressive);
and there were the young men whose salutes they re-
ceived and for whose future efficiency at the Front they
were, supposedly, responsible. For these younger men
there was the contrast between the Gamp at Clither-
land (in the bright summer weather of that year) and
the places they were booked for (such as the Battle of
Loos and the Dardanelles). It was, roughly speaking,
the difference between the presence of life (with
battalion cricket matches and good dinners at the
hotel de luxe in Liverpool) and the prospect of death
(next winter in the trenches, anyhow). A minor
(social) contrast was provided by the increasingly
numerous batches of Service Battalion officers, whose
arrival to some extent clashed with the more carefully
selected Special Reserve commissions (like my own)
and the public school boys who came from the Royal
Military College. I mention this "feeling" because
the "temporary gentlemen" (disgusting phrase),
whose manners and accents were liable to criticism
by the Adjutant, usually turned out to be first-rate
officers when they got to the trenches. In justice to
the Adjutant it must be remembered that he was
there to try and make them conform to the Regular
"officer and gentleman" pattern which he exempli-
fied. And so while improvised officers came and
went, Clitherland Gamp was a sort of raft on which
they waited for the moment of embarkation which
landed them as reinforcements to the still more pre-
carious communities on the other side of the Channel.
Those who were fortunate enough to return, a year
or two later, would find among a crowd of fresh faces,
the same easy-going Militia majors enjoying their
port placidly at the top of the table. For, to put it