Pajama Press

Letters from WWI: Out of the Trenches

Posted on October 31st, 2012 by pajamapress

Lieutenant Lawrence Browning Rogers, aged 37, travelled to the front lines of World War One as a medic in the Fifth Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1915. He left behind his wife, May, his ten-year-old daughter, Aileen, and his seven-year-old son, Howard. The family exchanged hundreds of letters, many of which were kept by their descendents. This is one of them.

A photo of Lawrence

A photo of Lawrence

April 8, 1916

Dear Girlie

I am out of the trenches again and not a bit sorry for it. I can assure you eight days is quite enough for one stretch. We expect to have eight days rest and then back in again. It is not so much the German shells or bullets that get my nerves, it is the awful sights I have to see and dress that is so hard.

I don’t need any money as I am able to make what we get here last from pay day to pay day. We get about $6 a month. The rest is put to our credit and we can draw it when we go on leave or it will be there when the war is over.

I hope to be able to get seven days leave in two or three weeks. I will go to London and visit Tom Richards’ mother and be able to see something of London.

I received the scarf Mrs. Oglivy knitted for me. It is very nice and was awfully kind of her to send. I will write to her when I finish this letter to you. We have had some lovely weather but the nights are cold and today is decidedly cold but it is a good April weather.

You know we all have to get old and I guess you will find a considerable change in me when I get back as this life tends to make us more serious than the ordinary life I used to live.

I always knew Howard was a good little fellow and also Aileen. All they want is a little understanding and no one can say why they are not the perfect gentleman and lady. Poor Aileen, her troubles are beginning but with a little teaching from you she will be able to understand and help herself out of trouble.

Today I saw some of those yellow flowers called marshmallows growing by a ditch. They looked fine and dandy.

Guess I have about run out of material so will have to end. Love to you all and don’t worry about me. Everything will come out ok in the end.

Yours lovingly,

Daddy

The Rogers family’s story is preserved in the picture book A Bear in War. For more information, including more letters, visit www.abearinwar.com.