Private Richard William Mercer was born in Bolton, England, on July 27th, 1897, to parents William and Georgina Mercer. On April 20th, 1916, he enlisted at Wawota, Saskatchewan, with the 196th Western Universities Overseas Battalion, “B” Company (University of Saskatchewan), Canadian Expeditionary Force.
He completed his basic training at Camp Hughes, Manitoba, before shipping to England on the S.S. Southland in November of 1916. He served both there and in France with a number of different units including Bordon’s Motor Machine Gun Battery and the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade. He was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade in December of 1918 and served with them as part of the Allied Occupation Force in Germany, until finally returning to Canada for demobilization on May 18th, 1919.
Pte. Mercer’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 911016) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
The Mercer collection was provided through the work of Dwight G. Mercer who has documented Pte. Richard Mercer’s Letters from the Great War history online, where more information can be found about the Mercer story and of the history of the 6th Brigade & 2nd Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Dwight Mercer’s footnotes have been included with both the letters and the memoir, and provide extensive background information on both content and context.