Veteran Stories:
Lawrence Browning Rogers

Army

  • Lawrence Rogers received this teddy bear from his 10-year-old daughter Aileen while fighting in Europe. Aileen thought that the bear would protect him. Lawrence carried it with him always. After his death, the bear was returned to the family.

    Lawrence Rogers received this teddy bear from his 10-year-old daughter Aileen while fighting in Europe. Aileen thought that the bear would protect him. Lawrence carried it with him always. After his death, the bear was returned to the family.
  • Lawrence Roger's son, Howard, wrote him a letter on September 8, 1917 but it never reached his father. Lawrence was killed on October 30, 1917 during the battle at Passchendaele.

    Lawrence Roger's son, Howard, wrote him a letter on September 8, 1917 but it never reached his father. Lawrence was killed on October 30, 1917 during the battle at Passchendaele.
  • The official Department of Militia report that Lawrence Rogers was killed by enemy shell fire while performing his duties as a medic with the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, tending to the wounded of his unit. Collection courtesy of Roberta Innes.

    The official Department of Militia report that Lawrence Rogers was killed by enemy shell fire while performing his duties as a medic with the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, tending to the wounded of his unit. Collection courtesy of Roberta Innes.
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Transcript

I am Roberta Rogers Innes, and I'm the granddaughter of Lawrence Browning Rogers. He was killed in World War I on October the 30th, 1917 at Passchedaele, where so many other thousands of Canadians were killed.

When he died, he was in his fortieth year, and he left a wife and two young children, one of whom was my father, Howard Weaver Rogers, and my aunt, Ethel Eileen Rogers. My father was only nine when his father was killed, but he hadn't seen him since he was six and a half or something. My aunt was about twelve when he was killed, and again hadn't seen him since she was nine and a half. So they didn't really talk much about their father, and my grandmother didn't talk much either. People tended not to in those days, and also my father and aunt really didn't know much. They didn't know their father.

The only story that my brother remembers my father telling him was when my grandfather first enlisted. We're from Montreal and they were living on the south shore, and his first place where they were training was in Valcartier, Quebec. My grandmother, my father and my aunt all went on family day or visiting day. And they were actually training as cavalry, which I found rather interesting because apparently they took a lot of the horses overseas, but they couldn't really use them in the conditions. Anyway, they were training on the horses and my father would tell the story of how they would have to gallop by and pick up a handkerchief in mid-gallop, which apparently my grandfather was quite good at, and my father loved that story and so did my brother.

My grandmother never remarried, and she carried around this suitcase filled with my grandfather's letters. He wrote her almost every day, from early 1915 until late 1917 when he was blown up. My grandfather actually enlisted, he was not an officer, although he was promoted in the field, and when he was killed he was a Lieutenant. But before he became an officer, he won the Military Medal for bravery in the field, and that to me sort of describes his personality in all of these letters. He says how she knows he's not a bloodthirsty person but he feels it's his duty, and he must protect his country, and so on.

There are no traces of his body. He's not buried anywhere. His name is on the Mennen Gates in Ypres, Belgium, but there are miles of headstones that say "Known Only Unto God" and have a Canadian maple leaf.

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