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He surveys the scene. Well, his officers are all right. The Second in Command has seen almost as much service as himself. Of the four company commanders, two have been commandeered while home on leave from India, and the other two have practised the art of war in company with brother Boer. Of the rest, there are three subalterns from the Second Battalion--left behind, to their unspeakable woe--and four from the O.T.C. The juniors are very junior, but keen as mustard.

But the men! Is it possible? Can that awkward, shy, self-conscious mob, with scarcely an old soldier in their ranks, be pounded, within the space of a few months, into the Seventh (Service) Battalion of the Bruce and Wallace Highlanders--one of the most famous regiments in the British Army?

The Colonel's boyish figure stiffens.

"They're a rough crowd," he murmurs, "and a tough crowd: but they're a stout crowd. By gad! we'll make them a credit to the Old Regiment yet!"

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The First Hundred Thousand
Ian Hay

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