Richard Birdsall Rogers - Personal Correspondence

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Personal Correspondence
(1903-1919)

The Geale-Rogers fonds includes the personal letters of Richard Birdsall Rogers, Superintending Engineer of the Peterborough Lift Lock. Among the many correspondents were his friends, Ryerson Ritchie, W.T.C. Boyd, M.S. Glassford, his sons, Heber, Harry, and George, and other family members. Rogers son, Harry, while away at school in Niagara Falls, wrote to his father apologizing for "having fallen below the standard which you have fixed for me," and in later years, with both Harry and Heber serving overseas in World War I, the letters home described the miseries of war and a Prisoner-of-War camp. During that time, in one letter to his son, Heber, Rogers revealed his great concern for Heber's safety, imploring that "God grant that you may come back again to us. Mama and I have been reading letters in the papers all day from men at the front and descriptions of the fighting and it makes us almost sick to read of the terrible times you must have." In happier times, his friend and business associate, W.T.C. Boyd, wrote to him about their success at making Sir Sandford Fleming's trip so pleasant, and another friend, Ryerson Ritchie, encouraged Rogers to become a leader in Peterborough, saying that "with your training as an engineer, your skill at figures and your place in the town you ought to be a leader." The following are just a few selections of the many letters available.

 


 

82-022/11

January 9, 1903

Niagara Falls South

Dear Papa -

I received your welcome letter to-night, being the first and only letter I have received this week.

You seem to have been enjoying yourselves there lately with all the dances, balls, etc.

Mr. Mudge came up to our office last Wednesday. He said he had been in Peterboro for a couple of days and he told me about the sleigh ride the Burnhams had and said he had to come away before the wedding came off.

I am very glad you wrote to me the way you did, as I have often wished to myself that you were around so I could have a good talk with you. I am awfully sorry that I have fallen below the standard which you have fixed for me; you cannot tell how I miss your talks to me about what is right to do and what is wrong. You said in your letter that you feared I indulged in intoxicating liquors. Well dear Papa if there are some habits which I have gone astray on that is not one of them. I can truthfully say that I never touch intoxicating liquors, that is of course as you know, only a little glass of wine which is given at a call, or an evening etc. You also said you thought I was going out too much; well if there is any fellow that goes out less than another it is I, in fact I should go to some places to call that I have not been at for a good time but I do not like the idea of going down and getting asked out for evenings at the different places, and have to drop my studies altogether, and I also hate to keep refusing to go. Now one instance is this. Miss Taylor asked me a couple of times; before I went home for 'Xmas; indeed away back in November to come up oftener to their place but I have only been there once in my life. Although I know it is my duty to call.

You know this is a very hard place for a boy to begin life in. There is no end of temptations for a young fellow in all shapes and forms and the longer one lives here the more he finds. I know I have not been everything I should, but, Papa it is not because I have not tried.

There is something that I want very much to tell you, that I have never told to another soul in the world, but I have often had it on the tip of my tongue to tell you and have suddenly lost all the courage I had and said nothing. Next time you come up; if you should stay over I will tell you about it because I want your advice very much on the matter. and it is something which takes time to tell and also to think about.

I am glad mother is getting well again and I am awfully, awfully sorry that I should for a moment be accused of negligence to Mother but when I think about it I cannot but see that I am to blame in the matter and very much to blame. It was all my fault that things got in a muddle the night we were on the hill and it would have served me right had the thing all fallen through, because when I think of it now I can see how selfish I was and how much I left for others to do for me. But do you know Papa that it did not seem to me like home at all. Everything was excitement all the time, there was none of the quietude of home for which I have longed for a great many times. I was on the move the whole time and I don't believe I had a quiet moment all the time, of course I know a good deal of it was given especially for me and I was very much pleased about it, but I would sooner have given that Saturday night with all its fun, for one night to sit at home with you all.

What do you think about my playing hockey here, do you object at all to my playing with the village, of course you know it will only be for a very short time but if you object why of course I will drop it. The hockey team here is composed of a very decent lot of fellows as far as I can make out and I went to one of the first meetings and was put on the Executive Calmat, a post which I declined and would rather not have, but they would not accept my withdrawal and I was put back by acclamation. I would not like to drop out too suddenly as I have been out to a couple of practices and I know I am counted on as a member of the seven. We have a league formed here of six teams the first of which we play next Thursday in St. Catharines. All the towns are located right close round here and the expense will be very light as far as travelling goes. We have in our league - Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines, Merriton, Thorold, Niagara-on-Lake and the South. Clifton wanted me to play there but I told them I hadn't enough time or money as they are in the O.H.A. Intermediate League.

The Engineers of both companies are going to give a big dance here at the end of the month I think on the thirtieth.

I take my dinner down to work every day now and I get in a little more study than I used to and I am getting on well in Euclid but Trigon. is what sticks me and I have not caught up to my limit in Algebra yet.

[Housu] has been away for about two weeks for his holidays and we expect him back Monday so I have been alone every noon hour since he left. It has been very cold here these last few days and the work in the pit has been somewhat delayed. I will write to Mother and some of the children on Sunday or Monday this letter is for yourself - Hoping to see you soon again -

I remain -

Your loving son -

Harry.

 


 

82-022/11

February 22, [1903]

Bobcaygeon

My dear Dick

I rec'd the lecture & slides by stage yesterday all O.K. except that I found that two of the slides were cracked. I put them thro' the lantern at home last night & found them all first class slides & the subjects well chosen. I read the lecture this afternoon, it contains a great deal of valuable information in a very readable & concise form & while reading it was running thro' my mind all the time that what a splendid means it afforded to educate the public as to the value of our waterways & what a pity it is that it could not at once be placed in the hands of a competent man to deliver it all thro' the country.

I am going to write to Mayor Roger to see if enough funds could not be raised at once in Peterboro to secure such a service.

I am afraid I cannot arrange to have it given in Fenelon this week as the only person available there cannot be secured on such short notice, but I think it can be arranged for some other date. It will be delivered here in the town hall next Friday & on Saturday it has to be sent back to Montreal. The only slide I do not like is "Chemong Lake" which is a very bad photo' of the Calumet & nothing else, could you substitute the photo' I have of the Ogemah just putting out from Chemong Park? which you thought would be a good subject when you saw it the other day. Also I would like if you could get in one of the wharves here.

I see that Grant has his shed built by the canal & the dressing of the timbers for the new lock gates well under way.

Yours truly

W.T.C. Boyd

 


 

82-022/11

October 7, 1903

Office of Mossom Boyd Co.
Bobcaygeon, Ont.

My dear Dick:

Your letter of the 6th rec'd with enclosure, which I herewith return, after showing it to Mossie.

I am very glad indeed that our efforts to make the trip pleasant for Sir Sandford proved successful & have no doubt that it will be good for the cause of the Trent Waterway.

I saw Gordon this morning & was very pleased to find that he brot' that scow & Derrick with him. It is at work now under the direction of Earnest Trotter who is well acquainted with the location of the bolders in the channel, but says that there are many too large for that plant to take out. The removal of them will not be a bit too soon, as is doubtful as to how long the bottom of the Manita would stand the pounding she gets on them. I wish you could come up yourself soon & see what there is to take out.

I am looking forward with great pleasure to another trip up north with you. Gordon tells me you are thinking of starting about the 25th.

I had a cable from my wife yesterday saying she was sailing for home that day by C.P.S.S Lake Champlain.

Yours sincerely,

W.T.C. Boyd

 


 

82-002/11

August 18, 1904

Lakefield
Mr. R.B. Rogers.
Chief Engineer.
T.V.C.

Dear Mr. Rogers: -

On behalf of the rescued persons and the relations of Miss Bickell, I am requested to write you to thank you and your son, for your great kindness in coming so speedily to the rescue of those in peril and thus preventing that which was in itself bad from becoming infinitely worse.

They wish to assure you that your heroism and unselfishness will not soon be forgotten, and they are deeply grateful to you for putting the comforts of your yacht at their disposal, thus enabling them to reach their homes in safety and in comparative comfort.

Yours very gratefully.

C.L. Bickell
Lakefield

 


 

82-022/11

March 5, 1907

Dr. Meyers' Hospital for Nervous Diseases
Toronto

My dear Dick.

Your letter reached me safely yesterday and I was extremely sorry to hear of your misfortune in being laid up with Sciatica. The most useful treatment I have found for sciatica is a complete rest for the limb by putting it on a long splint and controlling the pain meanwhile with a sedative. A treatment of massage each day if carefully given would be useful. I am of course only offering you any assistance I can in view of what you write me about your case, since without a personal examination of your condition I would be unable to offer you an opinion. What would really be best for you would be to come up here for a time where we have all facilities to help you get well in the shortest possible time and the complete change of surroundings would be most useful to you. I can quite understand that it is much more difficult for you to carry out a doctors directions where you are liable to be interrupted at any moment by business worries. Patience you must have for a time and there only remains the question of spending the necessary time to the best advantage - Hoping you are better & that you will let me know if I can do anything more.

I am yours sincerely

Doc M

 


 

82-022/11

September 13, 1907

Detroit Board of Commerce

Mr. Richard B. Rogers,
Peterboro, Ontario.

My dear Richard:

I am in receipt of a note from Miss Edna indicating her readiness to come here and accept the place I intended to give her. After my conversation with her in Toronto, I concluded that office work would not be to her liking. I am now really surprised to hear that she would come. My own judgement is against it. But we can talk this over when you are here. Please tell me that I thank her for her letter and will later acknowledge it directly or through you.

One thing at a time. I have spoken to Mr. Schmidt and he will be glad to meet you, and if he "sizes you up" favorably, you may make a connection. But, of course, you must stand upon your own footing. It would not be fair to you or him or myself for me to color your abilities or urge your appointment. You have some first class faults, but experience should have corrected, if not entirely eliminated them. I think it worth while for you to come here. If this fails it will be time enough to speak with the Kahn people.

Be sure and let me know in advance when you will be here.

Sincerely,

Ryerson Ritchie

 


 

82-022/11

November 12, 1908

Grafton

Dear Richard

As we are now calling in the [---] for the new church I shall be glad to receive the $25.00 that you told me to put down for and I sincerely hope that the present contract on the Trent will prove quite succesful & profitable not only for you, but that we may hope for "a further remittance" later on - Our very pretty white Brier church is progressing nicely and is now being plastered.

I had hoped to have had a visit from you some time this summer.

With kind love and good wishes.

I am yours Sincerely

R. [Z]. Rogers

 


 

82-002/11

January 4, 1914

Peterborough

My dear P.J.

I received the box of beautiful cigars which you and G.H.W. were so kind as to send me. It is indeed a bright spot in one's life to feel that his old friends never forget him.

I will send you some interesting literature in the course of a few days which I know you will be glad to receive. Wishing you and G.H.W. a happy and prosperous year.

believe me

yours sincerely

Richd. B. Rogers

 


 

82-022/9/5

December 14, 1914

Bustard Camp
Salisbury Plains

Dear Papa, -

Your letter with the money in it just got here about an hour ago. Thanks very much for sending it. We have not got our pay the last two pay days, as I understand they want to get as much money ahead, as a fellow is sending home. I don't know why they are doing it, because they cannot possibly lose any money anyway.

Mother's, Leah's and Nita's letters all came too. Mother said she had written a day or so before, so expect will get it later when the whole mail is sorted. It sometimes takes about four or five days to get it all out.

I certainly was glad to hear that your investigation is coming out alright. Of course if it kept on there was only one outcome, but you have to watch oneself when you are dealing with men like that. They would try to frustrate you at every point, as they were shown to have done. However I am glad it is all over now, and you will soon be able to submit it to the public. It certainly has been a great source of worry to you and all of us for a good many years.

We have no news at all yet of when we are going to leave here. It is not likely that we will know. We will likely leave here at a moment's notice and very likely they would not take a message of any kind. However we will drop a card to George's Aunt and she will let you know right away. Have not got the cake & pudding that Mother sent yet but expect it will be here soon. Arthur Ackerman got a box the other day, so guess that mine will come alright. Hope so anyway as we will be able to have a celebration that day.

The whole batallion is supposed to get leave around Christmas. Twenty percent are supposed to go this Wednesday, till next Monday or Tuesday and then forty percent at Xmas and the rest at New Years. Hope that we will be able to get our leave for Xmas week, as Miss Glassford has again invited us to stay there. I should like to be home again for Christmas day, but we will have a nice time.

[Heber]

 


 

82-022/10/5

March 24, 1915

Frankford

Dear Father,

Hope Mother and the rest are all well. Anita is not feeling very well yet, her cough is not quite as bad as it was. But her head is bothering her a great deal. Harry is a great deal better, but still has a cough, but Jack is very well. There has been a great deal of sickness around here this last couple of months. Mr. Herman told me he had a letter from the Lieutenant of Ross's Company, telling him how Ross was struck. He was hit in the fore head by a bullet from a Motor Gun mounted in the German Trenches. He was hit at eight o'clock in the morning & was conscious for fifteen minutes, spoke of his home and his Mother & wished his Mother to have his watch. He had good medical attention & lived till four o'clock in the afternoon. They buried him in a cemetery near a little French village and erected a Wooden Cross with a Maple Leaf on it. He also spoke of how popular Ross was with the men & went on to speak very highly of Ross. Also said he knew the exact location of the Grave & would let Mr. Herman know as soon as he possibly could. And he was enclosing the watch & a few things under separate cover & would send them home at once. It is a great comfort for them to know that he is buried in a place where they can find at any time. Heard the other day that Jimy Venditti had been killed in a run away in Italy. After he got home he bought a team of horses and they ran away & he was killed. There is to be a Memorial Service at the English Church on Sunday March 28th at 2 o'clock & in the evening at the Methodist Church. The service was to be last Sunday but for some reason it was postponed. Ross was a Workmen & I think the Lodge is to attend in a body & I think some of the Military from Belleville are to be up for the Service.

I am going to drive to Trenton this afternoon & will post this letter there. Intended going on the train but I missed it so am going with Ferguson this afternoon. Mr. Murphy is here working in Ferguson's office - has been here week or more. Our snow has nearly all gone, & the roads have been in very good shape, but this rain to-day will make them bad. Well guess I will close as it is about time I was getting ready for town. I hope you are all well. Anita joins in love to all.

From,

Your Loving Son,

George.

 


 

82-022/9/6

April 25, 1915

Peterborough Ontario

Dear Heber

This is a very anxious time for us as we know that you have been in the engagements on Thursday and Friday (22d & 23d) if not in one in the beginning of the week. There was a cablegram from Leut Charlie Ackerman on Tuesday morning last (20th) saying that he and all the Peterboro' boys were alright from which we concluded that you must have been in a battle. The papers said that some Canadians were in the fight. The bulletin boards say tonight that from the 16th to 19th - 4 Canadians were killed and 6 wounded but none were from Ontario - The bulletin board this afternoon gives the Casualties of 22d & 23d as one killed (Major [Macloun] of Brandon) and 31 wounded among whom were Leut. McLennan of Ottawa of the 2d Batt who I understand is in A. Co'y - no names of noncoms or privates, whose names it said would not be published for a few days yet - It is strange they can't publish the rank and file the same time as officers. It made us all proud of you to hear the high praise of Genl French who says you are the equal of the best men on the fighting line not excepting the Guards - It will be a great asset for Canada but it requires a stout heart to face the price which we all know has to be paid. God grant that you may come back again to us. Mama and I have been reading letters in the papers all day from men at the front and descriptions of the fighting and it makes us almost sick to read of the terrible times you must have. The papers yesterday say that the way the Germans made ground in the last two days was by exploding gas bombs which is a barbarious kind of warfare and against all international warfare. I see by the boards tonight that they tried it again today but they did not work and that you had gained ground again on the Yser Canal. The Germans seem to have lost all sense of decency or civilized warfare. I don't know what to think of the war at present. One day Italy is coming in also Roumania and the next day it is contradicted. I see on the boards tonight that Greece is ready to come in if the allies ask her. If Greece comes in I think they will all be in soon (that is the Balkan States). I wish they would soon decide to do so and I think in a week or so they will all be in at least it looks it just now.

We have been expecting Harry this last two Saturdays but he has not turned up yet. They have their horses now so they are having a lively time. They have no idea when they are to go - Genl Hughes says they have not been able to get convoys till now. The greater part of the Second or possible all the Second are now in the Ocean. There is nothing published in the papers about any movements of troops so it is hard to know anything about when any of the troops leave. There is a fourth Contingent being recruited here I don't know how many they have - We got your letter of Easter day last Thursday (22d) it just took 2 weeks and 4 days which was not bad time. I have been cleaning up the Houseboat this last few days. I expect a carpenter to fix up the upper Cabin tomorrow. The Houseboat is high & dry and I may have it jacked up and caulked where she is if I have time to do it. Andy Young can come on Wednesday next to do it. I think I told you that someone had taken all the bunks out of the upper cabin. I am going to put corrugated iron all around the sides both up stairs and down stairs and fasten it to the sides so that no one can get into it. They will also protect the sides from the weather when the houseboat is not being used. The [men] will ask about $50.00 but it will pay to do it. I went down to Frankford last week and started George to work. He is glad to get to work again. Mr Dennon will be over on Tuesday next. We have had no rain for some weeks and the country is in need of a good rain - We have had two or three little sprinkles but not enough to do much good. The fall wheat looks very well so far but wants rain. Today has been hot enough for the middle of summer. It was over 80 in the shade and 90 in the sun. It looks as though we might have more rain soon. These sudden changes affect Mama and she has had a headache today and did not go to church. I hope you get the box we sent to you about a month ago. We will send you another tomorrow - Mama has made you fruit cake for it - I hope you get the papers regularly. I will have to go to Frankford this week but I will not have to stay just yet. Remember me to all the boy's. After engagements we wish you would cable so as to let us know that you are all well. If you would take turns in cabling it would be a great comfort to us. As soon as anyone gets word here it is soon known and published in our local papers. Never mind the expense. You say that you are in need of money. Miss Glassford said that she would advance you any money you want. Write to her and I will send her what she gives you. I would send it to you direct but I don't know that you could cash it if I did send it to you. If you can cash a money order let me know and I will send you $20.00 or what you want. Is there anything that is needed by the men. If so let us know. The people here are only to anxious to do something for you and only want to know what to do. Mama will write to you tomorrow or next day. Mr Morrison took me up with him to the Cottage on Thursday last. Mrs Morrison & Mr Brock went along also. Everything was alright. The wharf was in its place but someone took the big chain which I had it fastened with. I must go up again soon and put a wire fence around the lot. It depends upon the war whether we will go up there much this summer - if everything goes well with you and the prospects of the war ending I dare say we may be up most of the time. We all join in love to you. I wish you were nearer so it would not take us so long to hear form you. We all pray for you every day that you may be spared to us.

Your loving father

Richd. B. Rogers

Claude is hard at work training for the Transport Section. I see by the papers that they were around about Rice Lake and Newtonville last week. They slept out. They had 8 cars and 100 men. Are you with or near A Company now or do you often see them?

 


 

82-022/10/4

May 7, 1915

46, Holland Park Avenue, W.

Dear Mr & Mrs Rogers

I cannot find words to express my sorrow at the news that you send me. Every day I have sought news of the dear boys and always the same reply, no report of Casualties. I took your Cable Marconigram and asked them how was it they could give no news to friends when this could come from Canada but it is more red tape & expect I can get no news of dear George nor Billie Gibson. I have written to the censure in France to let me know their fate. God only knows what they may be suffering if alive. The uncertainty is awful. Dear dear Heber I cannot believe he will not come again. His name has not appeared in any of the papers for that reason & fear dear George has also lost his life in the terrible slaughter but happy those who died [---] death but those who are slowly dying from the poison gas. I am distressed beyond words to know the facts & would go to France but cannot get a passbord and could not get definite news to guide me but I have written to Lieut Bennet if he is alive also the Ackerman Boy's in fact every one I knew to try and give me some news. When I went to Salisbury Plan to see them the Sunday before they went to France they were so glad to see me and wrote how lonesome they were when they saw me driving away. Every day I look for news now but none comes -

On Monday 11th I am going to the memorial Service to be held in St. Pauls for our Brave Canadians who so gallantly defended the stand they had taken and the gallant Charge in which so many brave young lives were sacrificed - If you have an definite news of how your dear son fell will you let me know. I know he had relatives also in the Contingent. Perhaps from them personaly you may hear. If I get any definite news I will wire or write. At present accept my heartfelt sympathy in this great loss.

Yours most sincerely

in sorrow

MS Glassford

 


 

82-022/10/4

July 7, 1915

M.S. Glassford, Director
The British Viavi Company Ltd.
R. B. Rogers Esq.,
147, Hunter Street
Peterborough, Ont., Canada

Dear Mr. Rogers,

I am just leaving for Plymouth this morning, and I am anxiously waiting for another letter from Heber. I am enclosing you his post-letter-card to me, and I notice that there is another change anticipated. It is too cruel to think that we cannot get things quickly to them, but even the sons of lords, and other political prisoners in high positions, are in exactly the same condition. There are societies here, advertising a great deal that they can get things through quicker, but the fact is, they all have to go through the American Express Company, and as we deal directly with them I know for a fact our packages would have equally as good attention as any, but, to make doubly sure, when sending two packages a week we would send one through the Post Office. But it is as Heber says, possibly the changes of their address will cause delay. I do trust, however, that the things, by this time, have been forwarded. Poor dear fellow, I am glad that his eye looks all right, but I see that there is some deficit in the sight. Well, we may be thankful that he has got the other eye safe, and no doubt when he gets to England an operation may put things all right.

We are writing to Heber regularly, but if he goes back to Giessen I do not think it will be to the hospital; I think it will be to the encampment that I understand is near the hospital, but they may just change their minds and send him to some other hospital.

Rest assured, Mr. Rogers, we are only too eager to hear from Heber, and, as Lily is now at home, if a letter comes in my absence she will attend to it, and see that a package will go to his very latest address.

I am so glad to have Lily with me again, and am thankful that she had a safe crossing.

With my kind regards to Mrs. Rogers and the family, and hoping when I return I will have some more news from Heber, when I will write a personal letter to you,

I remain, Sincerely yours,

M. S. Glassford
(signed in Miss Glassford's absence.)
S.B.

Enc: Letter-card.

 


 

82-022/11

December 19, 1915

New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce
N.Y.C.

Dear Dick:

I am glad to have a line from you. That is good news about Lillian and I believe you'll find that with good medical attention she will soon get her nerves so they will not go to cutting up [---].

It was my intention to write you (& though I am not sure I think I did) as soon as I found it impossible to get a passport. No influence would get it for me as I couldn't invent a sufficiently urgent reason for going. The funny thing about it was my American citizenship stood in the way. When I get back I shall make entry for the restoration of my British citizenship. All round the joke is on me & we shall have to have a scotch on the [---] of it.

The notes to Miss Glassford & [Mr] Rogers are returned since I couldn't use them & you may feel that you should give them the reason why I am not likely to call. By the way I wish you'd tell Mr [Shook] what happened to me - he will appreciate the joke.

Of course you'll have plenty to do in relation to recruiting, relief work & all that but I wish you would also devote some of your time to plans for the reconstruction period. The city of P. needs a leader & I have often thought of you as such. With your training as an engineer, your skill at figures & your place in the town you ought to be a leader. There is money to be made & a big work to be done through a comprehensive plan of development and improvements right in P. Harry to my mind is particularly fitted to come into the game but you should have a well set up game ready when he gets home again & pray God he will. At the present time there isn't a single group of people in P. that has the confidence of the people. The larger corporations are all grasping, greedy, exploiting manipulators. The Review is going begging & could be bought cheap; if well handled the Review can quickly beat the Examiner.

But I need not write - for I shall [---] be home soon after this letter & we can have a chat about these things -

Yours

Ryerson [Ritchie]

 


 

82-022/9/4

July 3, 1916

3. pm

Ottawa
R B Rogers Esq C E
Peterboro
Ont

My dear Rogers

Have just been to the Militia Dept. but find there has been no answer received to the cable sent enquiring for Sagt-Major Hughes' whereabouts or as to what is the last they know of Harry. They assure me that the report they had, that he was wounded, is the only one they have ever received. I wonder if you have heard anything further about Harry or where Hughes is in hospital.

I see that men missing for weeks keep turning up in some hospital or other so we can only hope for the best. I dont know if I told you in my last that we had received a letter from George. How is Heber and does he get enough food.

The Militia People assure me that they will let me know at once what reply comes to them.

With Kindest regards to Mrs Rogers in which Mrs Mothersill and Gertrude unite.

I am

Sincerely Yours

G A Mothersill

 


 

82-022/9/4

[EXCERPT]

[Letter from Harry George Rogers to his father, Richard B. Rogers; written during World War I; smuggled from German Prison Camp]

February 1, 1917

Friedberg.

Dear Dad -

Don't be surprised at the smallness of this letter, because the reason I am writing it on such a small piece of paper is that it is not going through the regular channels, but if you ever do receive it, you will know that it is smuggled through, and as you can judge by the facts, that it is the only way in which plain statements of facts can be got through. You may judge by my regular letters that we are having a perfectly good time and are really being treated first rate by our enemies, who cannot be as bad as he is painted. Don't ever run away with an idea like that. The only reason that we are not badly ill-treated is not because of any humanitarian trait in the German character. There is no such thing in his make-up. The reason is that now the German knows that he cannot monkey with the British without getting as much back. I could relate facts about the experiences of some of my chums here which would fill you with horror and disgust, but I have not the space. There is no such thing as justice in this country. If you can get copies of Curtin's letters which have been appearing weekly in English papers you will see statements of facts no matter how strenuously they are denied in the German press. When you read my letters of our Xmas and New Years feasts, don't think it was due to any generosity on the part of the Germans. All the food that we get from the Germans that we can eat at all is four potatoes a day, and often they are very small...

... I laid for three days in bed with only my own field dressing on, stiff and dirty with clotted blood, and it was at the request of Gen. Williams that the doctor removed it. Why I had not a set of complications God alone knows. It wasn't due to any care or attention on the part of the hospitals. As we are here, collective punishment seems to be the limit of the German's sense of justice. No matter what is done by a single individual we have all to suffer. A chum of mine with whom I have been doing mathematics is just doing six days solitary confinement for sending in a letter of complaint addressed to a German general.

 


 

82-022/11

July 15, 1917

102 Wells Hill Ave

Dear Dick

Just received your letter. Poor Mina, I am so sorry, do hope things will turn out well, I can only pray for you. Send me a card often if you can. Expect Bessie to-morrow - Saw Mr. Bradford today, says I will only get ten or twelve dollars a month, when things are settled which will not be very soon. I will have to be very careful, cannot worry any more, feel sick over it. Will be glad to see you. Give my love to Mina. God grant that she may be spared to you.

Your affectionate Sister

Emily M Rogers

 


 

88-022/11

December 15, 1917

Judges Chambers
Pembroke, Ontario

Dear Uncle Dick -

Thanks very much indeed for your letter of the 9th. I delayed answering because I had to go to Sir McKenzie Bowell's funeral and only got back tonight.

I did not quit on the Military [game] - I found there was no chance of getting to France or, indeed, being useful as a Paymaster - I then asked to be allowed to [revert] and take a course as a combatant lieutenant but was told that I would be useless for that purpose. I was told that I could be appointed a Dep. Judge advocate General but this did not appeal to me. You may know the duties - You are a sort of petty crown prosecutor. I therefore asked to be sent home again. The judicial appointment came almost as a surprise to me - I am shaking down into the job however and am hoping to make good - particularly as the bar here is nothing to boast of.

I hope that you will be able to come to Muriels wedding so that I can have a chance of seeing you.

I am glad that you have good news from your two boys, how proud you must be of them. It seems impossible to realise that Heber, the boy around the camp when we stayed with you, has been for three years a prisoner of war. The poor chap has really had no young manhood but has gone straight from boyhood into maturity.

I have just heard from my sister-in-law that my brother has been in blighty for 3 weeks with bad stomach and nerves. He is 4 yrs. older than I am and I suppose the strain is getting to him.

Please give my best Christmas wishes to Mrs. Rogers and the girls, also to Mrs. George whom I met in Belleville - many good wishes & thanks to yourself.

Yours faithfully

[---]

 


 

82-022/10/4

[EXCERPT]

December 3, 1918

46, Holland Park Avenue, W.

Dear Mrs Rogers

Your most welcome and kind letter was received in very quick journey as compared with previous letters. My last letter to you before we knew the war would be over so soon anticipated that Heber would be released soon from prison but I did not expect the Germans to give in so soon. I have not written to you about the great rejoicing in London & wanted my first letter to tell you I had seen Heber but would have sent you a cable on his arrival but [---] to the present I have not had word of him nor his whereabouts. I have been several times to the Red Cross but they get no news only as the Boys come in to enquire of friend or brother and the Call from returned prisoners when they are allowed to call as most are taken to Hospital for a few days or weeks to recuperate so I just thought I would drop you a line in the meantime...

[MS Glassford]

 


 

82-022/9/6

January 3, 1919

46, Holland Park Avenue, W.

Dear Mother, Father and all the family, -

I certainly am glad to be able to sit here, and write to you all once again. Since the beginning of the Armistice we were not allowed to write from Germany, so I suppose it is some time since you last heard from me.

We kept on waiting in Soltau, expecting every other day to be sent away after the eleventh of November, but eventually the longed for day did arrive at last. We entrained at Soltau at six o'clock Sunday the twenty second and reached Hamburg that night. There were ninteen hundred of us there; seven hundred more than the boat was supposed to carry, but they let us all on and we managed very well although we were pretty closely packed and had to sleep anywhere. We had one [---] with H.M.S. Destroyer Adriant which came right up the river fully armed, much to the Huns displeasure. The ships went down to the mouth of the river on Monday and anchored till Xmas morning as there was quite a storm in the North Sea. However we weighed anchor early and passed Heligsland about ten o'clock. There were so many Xmas presents around, that we had quite a time dodging them; and it made us thankful that we had not attempted it in the dark and with a storm too. They fired some rifle shots at some of them, but we did not see any go up. It is a pretty hard target, as there is only a piece the size of a man's head visible. Luck was with us and we were away from them next morning into the five mile wide British course through the North Sea. We sighted land early in the afternoon of boxing day, and as we passed our ships they all blew their whistles and cheered. The boat couldn't get into the docks so we had to get off in ferry boat to get into Hull. As soon as we landed we were given a cup of tea and so lunch, by the ladies of the Canteen Board, which we were glad to get as there wasn't any too much food on board, on account of the surplus number. The trains were waiting for us and as soon as one was ready it went on. There were three all together. We got off at Ripon and went out to the camp in motor-lories. All the particulars had to be taken, medical inspection gone through and then get out-fitted. Eventually we got our leave and passports, also ration books and managed to get away on Sunday night.

Harry was here at the time, and as I had sent a telegram to Miss Glassford that I was coming, he was at the station to meet me. I had come out of the station and was just starting for the tube, when Harry thought he would take a chance on me, and asked me if my name was Rogers. We came on to 46 then and Miss Glassford and Miss Minorgan were certainly glad to see me again. Miss Glassford is a wonderful lady all right, she has more energy than a steam engine, and is going around all the time. She certainly has been awfully good to me and I could never forget her kindnesses. Last Monday I was around with Harry most of the day and in the evening Miss Minorgan, Harry, and I went to the Chriterion. Miss Glassford had a bad cold. Tuesday morning Harry went up to Castle Douglas to visit some friends of his up there. Bob phoned up on Wednesday and I spent the day around town with him, but he had to go back again. Last night Miss Minorgan wasn't feeling well, so Miss Glassford and I went to see Gertrude Elliott in the "Eyes of Youth," which was very good. I was down town all day but just as I got back in came Norman. He stayed to dinner, but had to go just after, as he was leaving London again tonight to go back. He was just in for the day. Well I have told you all about my happening til I arrived here.

I was very glad to get your Cablegram of welcome back and New years greeting. One cablegram went to a Rogers in Regent House, but as he did not know anything about [it] he asked the elevator man and it finally got to Miss Glassford. If you sent any more Miss Glassford has a registered cable address just, "Viari, London", which will get her all right. Cousin Hermin also sent me a telegram. He is down at Witley now; where I have to report to when my leave is finished.

There was quite a collection of mail from all the family when I arrived here, and I was sure glad to get some as it was a long time since the last arrived. There was also a nice parcel here from home, which also had some presents from Miss Erskine. Thanks very much and would you kindly thank Miss Erskine too. I shall write her in a couple of days.

It is getting pretty late now so I shall have to close this letter, or epistle. "A very Happy and Prosperous New Year" to all and also love to all.

From

Your loving son,

Heber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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