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|\ITHERLAND CAMP had acquired a look of co-
V^ercive stability; but this was only natural, since
for more than eighteen months it had been manufac-
turing Flintshire Fusiliers, many of whom it was now
sending back to the Front for the second and third
time. The Camp was as much an essential co-operator
in the national effort as Brotherhood & Co.'s explosive
factory, which flared and seethed and reeked with
poisonous vapours a few hundred yards away. The
third winter of the War had settled down on the lines
of huts with calamitous drabness; fog-bleared sunsets
were succeeded by cavernous and dispiriting nights
when there was nothing to do and nowhere to do it.

Crouching as close as I could to the smoky stove in
my hut I heard the wind moaning around the roof,
feet clumping cheerlessly along the boards of the pas-
sage, and all the systematized noises and clatterings
and bugle-blowings of the Camp. Factory-hooters and
ships' fog-horns out on the Mersey sometimes com-
bined in huge unhappy dissonances; their sound
seemed one with the smoke-drifted munition works,
the rubble of industrial suburbs, and the canal that
crawled squalidly out into blighted and forbidding
farmlands which were only waiting to be built over.

Except for the permanent staff, there weren't many
officers I had known before this winter. But I shared