The Reformer is under obligations
to Mrs. Dugit for permission to publish this interesting letter.
It is from Brigadier-General, Canadians, B.E.F., and was written
in France, 13 Jun 1917.
To Mrs. R. L. Dugit:
Dear Bert, -- It is impossible for me to fully express my deep
regret at hearing from Pearl of the loss you have sustained. It is
awfully hard luck, and I am very, very sorry. One cannoot say more
and mean it, and yet it seems so little. I had no idea of his
arrival in France, or I should have tried to look him up.
From the O.C. of his battalion I
have heard your husband was instantly killed by machine gun fire,
during an attack by the Canadian Division on [redacted], and while
performing a very gallant act. The record of the [redacted]
Canadian Division during the recent fighting was a memorable one,
and will live for many a day. The zenith was reached when this
division, having steadily fought their way through the German
lines for a distance of six miles, attacked and captured and held
Fresnoy against all attacks. It was a most difficult operation,
carried out by sorely tried troops, and is looked upon as
the crowning achievement of the Canadians in the Vimy operations.
Your husband was in command of
No. 1 Company, and leading it in the attack. A report came back
that his men were coming under rifle grenade fire. He went forward
to verify the report and clear up the situation. In doing this he
was caught by German machine gun fire and was instantly
He was buried just west of the
village of [redacted] by Lieut. James, an officer of his company,
and a brief service was held over his grave. The grave was
suitably marked and I understand both the O.C. of his battalion
and Lieut. James has written you.
This, Bert, is a bald account of
a very gallant act, performed during a memorable action. You have
every reason to be intensely proud of both the manner in which you
husband lived and died. His O.C. reports that he was a most
courageous and efficient officer -- nothing more can be truly said
of any officer.
An incident which I look upon as
the finest unsolicited testimonial Canadians have received,
occurred after this action. A Bosch Major was captured in Fresnoy.
He was being escorted back by one of our staff officers. He spoke
English very well. On the way back our staff officer was pointing
out the different lines of German trenches we had taken in
succession. At last, after a walk of over six miles, the old
German front lines were reached, and pointed out. They stood there
for a few moments and looked back.
"But," said the German
officer, "you must have used several divisions."
"No," said the staff officer, "the [redacted]
Canadian Division did it all." The Bosch looked at him, then
looked back and simply said, "I do not believe you; it is
As long as officers of the type
of your husband are forthcoming we can and will do it. [Redacted],
as you no doubt had heard, was lost, but not by us; when it comes
into our hands again, I will visit the spot and see that your
husband's grave is suitably marked with a permanent memorial.
In conclusion, Bert, let me again
extend my deep sympathies to you and the kiddies.