"Stretcher Bearer. Two Men Hit"Battle At Courcelette, September 15 - September 16 1916 OntheeveningofSeptember15, 1916,theCanadiansofthe25thBattalion haddriventheGermansoutofthetownof Courcelette. LindsayRogers,athirty-fouryearold soldierfromYarmouth,NovaScotiawasa Private with the Battalion. TheCanadiansdugthemselvesinjust infrontofthetown.“Whenwewegoing overanumberofGermanscameoverNo Man’sLandwiththeirhandsup.”The artillerybarragehadgiventheGermans“an awfulpoundingandtheywereprettywell shaken.” SomeoftheGermansoldiersranwhileotherssurrendered.Whenthe CanadiansgotatclosequartersthesurrenderingGermans,atiredanda worn-out group, held up their hands and were shouting “Mercy Comrades”TheCanadianshavingcapturedtheGermanpositionsfound themselveswithGermanbiscuits,tinnedmeat,blackbread,whattheyknew asbrownbread.ThiscameinquitehandyastheCanadianswereonlyable tocarrylightrations.Thatnight,PrivateLindsayRogerswouldhaveadrink of soda water, compliments of the Germans.TheGermanswerestillonaridgeatrightanglestotheCanadiansand the next morning, September 16, started sniping the Canadian positions.“AbulletcutatwigovertheColonel’shead.Iwascleaningmyrifleat thetimeandIsaidtoaSergeantnexttome,‘snipeaway,Fritz.But tomorrow it will be ‘Mercy Comrade.’”ThewordshadhardlyescapedthemouthofPte.LindsayRogerswhen he received what seemed like a blow from a club over his head.“IfellonmyfaceandIthoughtIwasdonefor.Icouldhearandthink butcouldnotmovehandorfoot.Icouldheartheothersshouting,‘Stretcher Bear. Two men hit’”.“Ifeltmyselfsinkingintoagreatdarkpitandseemedtobedropping downanddown.Then,Igatheredallmystrengthforafinaleffortandsaid to myself: ‘No, I won’t go.’”Pte.Rogersopenedhiseyesandcalledout.Thesoldiernexttohim gothisfielddressingandputitonthewoundandastretcherbearertiedthe dressingupproperly.Thebullethadpassedcompletelythroughhisneckand killed the Sergeant he had been talking to and who was standing next to him.“AfterawhileIgotcontrolofmylimbsandlaiddowninthetrenchon aGermancoatandstayedthereallday.Fritz,thinkingwewereinthetown, bombardeditbutwefooledhimaswehaddugourtrenches100yardsin front of it. All he did was to smash up some old houses and kill a few rats.”ThatnightatdarkPrivateRogersandtwoothersoldiers,oneeach side of him went out of the trenches. “Wemadeadashthroughthetownwith‘coalboxes’shellswhich emittedheavyblacksmokewhentheyburstlandingallaboutus.Itwasa longtripovertheshelltorngroundandtrenches.WheneverIsteppedona low spot it jarred my neck quite a bit.”“Atthedressingstationthedoctorputmeonastretcher.FromthereI wenttoaClearingHospitalandthentotheCanadianHospital.Thenonto CalaiswherewetooktheboattoDover.ThencetoNewcastleonTyne,just fourdaysafterwounded.ThedoctorssayIhadacloseshaveshaveandasked me if I felt paralysed. A doctor said, ‘You should be a dead man’”.RobertLindsayRogerswastheonlysonofJosephR.and AnneRogers,ofYarmouth,NovaScotia.HeenlistedatYarmouth,withthe40thBattalion, on February 8, 1915. Havingrecuperatedfromhiswound,September16,1916,Private Rogers returned to the trenches in France. Elevenmonthslatertotheday,August16,1917,hewaskilledashe charged across ‘No Man’s Land’. Also see:Private Robert Lindsay Rogers - 25th BattalionSources:Photo Credits: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/“A Monument Speaks” A Thurston; 1989 (pp 288-291)
Canadian Trenches 1916
Canadian Trenches (1916) On sentry duty.
Canadian Trenches (1916) First aid for the wounded at Courcelette, September 1916.
Canadian Trenches (1916)
Canadian wounded being carried at a trench railway (1916)