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Letters of a Canadian Stretcher-Bearer


Letters of a Canadian Stretcher-Bearer is a Canadian Gem. Published in 1918 the book was only available to the American public. It is a unique collection of letters written by a Canadian soldier to his wife, from his arrival in England, until his wounding in August, 1917. It is also the only Canadian memoir written by a man who served in three different units. He served in the No.3 Canadian General Hospital, the 2nd Entrenching Battalion, and as a stretcher-bearer with the 29th Canadian Infantry from British Columbia.

…For an hour or so, out of the dark, parties of four go down the trench, muttering and swearing, carrying something — “Look out there — gangway for a stretcher.” The dead stay where they are, with a rubber sheet or an old sandbag, to cover their faces. Later, maybe that night or the next, a fatigue party will climb over the parados and scratch a grave a few yards from the trench, cursing the flares, and flopping, as Fritz plays a machine gun casually, just on the off chance, all along the ground behind, as a man might play a hose on a lawn.

Letters of a Canadian Stretcher Bearer was originally published anonymously in 1918. In the 2013 Edition, editor Norm Christie, identifies the author for the first time.