29 MARCH 1940, Page 15

Mr. Maugham does not, in any detail, touch upon the

relations between the British armies in France and the French soldiers and civilians with whom they come into contact. I sometimes wonder whether the British public, or even the military authorities, take a sufficiently imagina- tive view of the difficulties which such contacts are bound to create. I can well conceive that if a French army were landed in Kent and billeted in our towns and villages much understanding and patience would be required if friction were to be avoided. Would the housewives of Maidstone or Canterbury relish the presence in their homes of French private soldiers unable to speak their language and possess- ing wholly different standards in such matters as food and drink and conduct? It is a tremendous tribute to the patience of the French civilians, as to the behaviour of our own officers and men, that such friction as may have arisen is concerned mainly with points of detail.

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