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WWI teddy bear among War Museum’s artifacts

The Story

It's "an especially intimate and heartbreaking reminder of the sorrows of war." This ragged teddy bear, now on display at the Canadian War Museum, accompanied a Canadian medical officer overseas during the First World War. His daughter gave it to him to keep him safe. Sadly, the officer died at Passchendaele and the bear was sent home. As the Canadian War Museum opens its new location in 2005, this CBC-TV report looks at the teddy bear as well as other fascinating items on display at the museum.

Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now: Ottawa
Broadcast Date: May 4, 2005
Guest(s): Dan Glenney
Reporter: Rita Celli
Duration: 1:55

Did You know?

• The Canadian War Museum dates back to 1880. At that time it was just a small collection of military artifacts housed in the Cartier Square Drill Hall, a military training facility in Ottawa. In 1967, the collection was moved to the former Public Archives building in Ottawa. But as the collection grew too large for the facility, plans were made to build a new, dedicated home for the museum's artifacts. The new Canadian War Museum -- a visually stunning building designed by architects Moriyama & Teshima in downtown Ottawa -- opened its doors on May 8, 2005.

• Lt. Lawrence Browning Rogers received the teddy bear from his 10-year-old daughter Aileen while he was overseas in 1916. In a letter he wrote home dated Sept. 25, 1916, Rogers wrote: "Tell Aileen I still have the Teddy Bear and will try to hang on to it for her, it is dirty and his hind legs are kind of loose but he is still with me." After Rogers was killed in 1917, one of his fellow soldiers found the bear in his pocket and sent it home.

• In 2002 Lt. Rogers's granddaughter, Roberta Rogers Innes, found an old briefcase containing the teddy bear, old letters and other war memorabilia. She donated the bear to the Canadian War Museum, "where it became one of the Museum's most beloved artifacts," according the museum's website.

• Rogers's great-granddaughter Stephanie Innes co-wrote a children's book based on the story of the teddy bear. Called A Bear in War, it was published by Key Porter Books in October 2008.




The First World War: Canada Remembers more