WAR LETTERS: DEATH - 1940s Philippines


Nebraska Public Radio and the Legacy Project received letters
written by soldiers who had seen fellow soldiers die or, in one instance,
were writing about the first visit to the grave site of a loved one.

1940s Philippines

Lieutenant Frank Rogers of Omaha, Nebraska served in World War II along side his brother, Bernard. Lieutenant Rogers sent this letter to his father.

World War II, the Philippines
Lieutenant Frank Rogers

The Philippines

Dear Dad:

I will write this letter this morning and hardly know what to say. I'm hoping you will receive this letter before you get the notification from the War Department. I know this will be quite a blow to you and everyone at home. I had hoped that I would never have to write a letter such as this to you or any of my brothers or sisters. Our brother Bernard has been killed. It like to have knocked me off my feet and still is hard for me to believe that he is gone. He was killed March 31st about six o'clock in the evening. His company commander was thoughtful enough to notify me as soon as possible. However he could not get through on the line until morning. I couldn't get much information on the telephone, so I rushed right down there and here is the complete story:

At about six o'clock Saturday evening, Bernard's company was shelled by Japs. They had never been shelled before and there is no warning as to when you are going to be shelled. Bernard, as you know, was a radio operator. He was sitting on the tailgate of his truck when the first shell came over, and it burst in a tree about fifty yards from where he was sitting, and he was hit with a piece of shrapnel in the back. He was knocked unconscious and lived about five minutes. It is at least comforting to know that he did not suffer long. It is nobody's fault, it is one of the misfortunes of war. I know that Bernard took every precaution and tried to keep safe. There were men sitting right beside him. It must be the will of God that he should go. There seems to be no explanation as to why a man must die. I went to the scene of the accident and saw all his friends and officers. They were all swell to me and were taking it almost as hard as myself. Some of his closest friends were even crying. It was needless to say that he was well-liked by all the men in his company.

I was down to see Bernard about five days before the accident. We had a couple of cans of beer and had a nice visit. I tired to see him as often as I could, which was nearly every week. I'm happy to have visited him as often as I did. I went to the funeral, which was held in the cemetery at Manila. Father Orwerery had the services, and it was very nice. I am going down today as I think they are going to have memorial services this afternoon.

Dad, it is very hard for me to write and tell you folks this, but I'm hoping this will reach you so that you will have complete details from someone in the family rather than the War Department. I realize that this is not a very comforting letter, but it is best to know the true facts; anyway, it was to me. You will probably receive a letter from Captain Camp and Father Orwerery. Please answer their letters for they were both swell to Bernard and to me. Bernard went to mass often and had received communion. I regret that this had to happen, but there is nothing we can do about it. The memory I will always have of Bernard will remain the joking, good-spirited person he was, and the love he had for you at home. Dad, please try not to take this too hard. God knows you have worry enough as it is. Please do not worry about me, as I'm safe and well. I'll try to write later and maybe it will not be so confusing as this letter.

Hoping this finds all of you at home well.





1945 China Sea          1918 France
1940s Philippines          1945 Okinawa