Rogers Brothers

Brothers Ernest “Ernie” or “Ern” Arthur Rogers and Richard “Dick” Charles Rogers were companions in life, at war and in death.

The brothers enlisted together on August 13, 1915, from their hometown of Welland, Ontario. They served together as privates in the 86th Machine Gun Battalion. Richard was fine in the trenches with the as long as his little brother was well.

“Poor Dick he is certainly a changed boy in the trenches and always happy and contended as long as Ern was alright,” wrote their cousin, Art Forster in a letter home from overseas.

But on April 3, 1917, Canadian soldiers were lined up in tunnels and trenches getting ready for the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Ernie was in charge of a machine gun at the outpost at the front lines when he was hit by a German whizz bang — an eighteen-pound shell.

“As soon as I saw the kid I knew that his wound was much more serious than they had tried to make me believe,” Rogers wrote in a letter home. He said Ernie was in good spirits and told him that he only felt pain in his shoulder. “He never complained though. He was sure the greatest man I ever saw in my life.”

The following day the once star player on the semi-pro Welland Baseball Club died of his injuries at No. 42 Causality Dressing Station behind the front lines. He was buried at the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension in France.

“If I go under, I only hope that I will prove half as game a man as my kid brother,” Richard wrote home.

He did go under and only a month after his brother on May 7. He was buried at the Orchard Dump Cemetery in Arleux-en-Gohelle, France —“At peace with his brother Ernie,” said their great nephew, Charles Wesley Murray.

“They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided,” said Rev. James Thompson of the brothers at a Welland memorial service.

Ernie was born July 24, 1894 in Welland and was the youngest son of his parents George and Annie Rogers. Richard was born in Buffalo, New York on September 20, 1892 and grew up and went to school in Welland with his four other brothers and one sister.

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