"Stretcher Bearer. Two Men Hit"Battle At Courcelette, September 15 - September 16 1916 On the evening of September 15, 1916, the Canadians of the 25th Battalion had driven the Germans out of the town of Courcelette. Lindsay Rogers, a thirty-four year old soldier from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia was a Private with the Battalion. The Canadians dug themselves in just in front of the town. “When we we going over a number of Germans came over No Man’s Land with their hands up.” The artillery barrage had given the Germans “an awful pounding and they were pretty well shaken.” Some of the German soldiers ran while others surrendered. When the Canadians got at close quarters the surrendering Germans, a tired and a worn-out group, held up their hands and were shouting “Mercy Comrades”The Canadians having captured the German positions found themselves with German biscuits, tinned meat, black bread, what they knew as brown bread. This came in quite handy as the Canadians were only able to carry light rations. That night, Private Lindsay Rogers would have a drink of soda water, compliments of the Germans.The Germans were still on a ridge at right angles to the Canadians and the next morning, September 16, started sniping the Canadian positions.“A bullet cut a twig over the Colonel’s head. I was cleaning my rifle at the time and I said to a Sergeant next to me, ‘snipe away, Fritz. But tomorrow it will be ‘Mercy Comrade.’”The words had hardly escaped the mouth of Pte. Lindsay Rogers when he received what seemed like a blow from a club over his head.“I fell on my face and I thought I was done for. I could hear and think but could not move hand or foot. I could hear the others shouting, ‘Stretcher Bear. Two men hit’”.“I felt myself sinking into a great dark pit and seemed to be dropping down and down. Then, I gathered all my strength for a final effort and said to myself: ‘No, I won’t go.’”Pte. Rogers opened his eyes and called out. The soldier next to him got his field dressing and put it on the wound and a stretcher bearer tied the dressing up properly. The bullet had passed completely through his neck and killed the Sergeant he had been talking to and who was standing next to him.“After a while I got control of my limbs and laid down in the trench on a German coat and stayed there all day. Fritz, thinking we were in the town, bombarded it but we fooled him as we had dug our trenches 100 yards in front of it. All he did was to smash up some old houses and kill a few rats.”That night at dark Private Rogers and two other soldiers, one each side of him went out of the trenches. “We made a dash through the town with ‘coal boxes’ shells which emitted heavy black smoke when they burst landing all about us. It was a long trip over the shell torn ground and trenches. Whenever I stepped on a low spot it jarred my neck quite a bit.”“At the dressing station the doctor put me on a stretcher. From there I went to a Clearing Hospital and then to the Canadian Hospital. Then on to Calais where we took the boat to Dover. Thence to Newcastle on Tyne, just four days after wounded. The doctors say I had a close shave shave and asked me if I felt paralysed. A doctor said, ‘You should be a dead man’”.The only son of Joseph R. Rogers, Robert Lindsay Rogers had enlisted in his home town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia with the 40th Battalion on February 8, 1915 and achieved the rank of Corporal. He proceeded over seas with that Battalion. Impatient to cross the Channel and be part of the battle in France, he gave up his rank as Corporal and joined the 25th Battalion as a Private.Having recuperated from his wound, September 16, 1916, Private Rogers returned to the trenches in France. Eleven months later to the day, August 16, 1917, he was killed as he 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)