Henry (Harry) George Rogers

He was captured and sent to German POW camp at Clausthal. While there, he put his civil engineering degree to use by helping create an escape tunnel.

Henry (Harry) George Rogers enlisted in the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles on 29 March 1915 and went overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was badly wounded in June 1916, when a piece of shrapnel passed through his shoulder and chest, damaging both lungs and liver.

He was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp at Clausthal in Germany. While there, he put his civil engineering degree to use by helping create an escape tunnel one hundred feet in length and only three feet high. The tunnel was constructed through shale using only a twelve-inch spike and other tools fashioned by the prisoners. The sides and the roof of the tunnel were protected from cave-ins by using bed slats for timber.

The men devised a method to get electricity into the tunnel and developed a set of bellows for ventilation. Work on the tunnel was measured in inches and took more than six months to complete. The efforts of the prisoners were in vain however, as the guards found the tunnel in the fall of 1917, shortly before the planned escape.

In March 1918, several of those involved in the construction were court-martialed by the Germans and sentenced to seven months hard labour. Rogers never served the term as he was exchanged in Holland shortly after the trial.

After the war, Rogers returned to his hometown Peterborough, Ontario with a copy of the trial proceedings and was discharged from the Canadian Army in 1919. He then returned to his job with the Canadian Pacific Railway as a bridge engineer.

Rogers suffered a heart attack in June 1937 and died at the Christie Street Hospital at the age of fifty-three. He was married but had no children.

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