A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 95

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AUSTRALIA'S EFFORT


Mr. Gault who, as has been already stated, paid the cost of raising and equipping the regiment, served as an officer. The Patricias were named after the duke of Connaught's daughter, and they were quickly nicknamed "Princess Pat's." They remained a short time with the first contingent, and then in November were transferred to Winchester, and from there were sent in December to Northern France. They were at once moved up to the fighting zone, and were first given a spell of very heavy work, digging a line of trenches. Then they set out for the fighting front.

The arrival of the Patricias in Flanders was watched with keen interest in all parts of the Empire, for they were the only troops from the Dominions to take part in continental fighting until the beginning of the New Year, when they were joined by their comrades from Salisbury Plain. The regiment fulfilled the normal duties of trench warfare, with the accompaniment of duels between snipers, patrols and bombing raids. This experience was fully sufficient to prove their hardihood and enable them to earn the complete confidence of their commanders.

The first war measures taken in Australia proved that the Commonwealth had one great advantage over Canada. The people of each of the great sister nations were equally loyal, equally eager to help, equally determined to sacrifice all they had, if necessary, for victory. But Canada started her real preparations for war when war began, while Australia had been preparing for close on ten years. A generation before, Australia had been the least military of nations. Her people, placed by their geographical position out of the current of European controversies, had felt no necessity for arming themselves. Then the developments of the world, the rising of the new Asia, and the partitioning of the Pacific, made every thoughtful citizen from Cape York to Greenbushes realise that Australia must be ready to defend herself. The flood of emigration from China, from India, and from Japan set in southwards, and Australia built barriers against it. The Japanese fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour, and held manoeuvres around the northern coasts of Western Australia. Men were quick to realize that Australia had no defences of her own against Japan. As a result Australia started to build a navy, and to establish universal military training for her young men.

This training was designed to start early under a cadet system, and in June 1914 the Australian forces consisted of about 50,000

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