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Robert Shortreed was born in Guelph, Ontario, on 26 January 1891. A salesman, he enlisted with the 64th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, in Guelph on 6 November 1916, transferring to the 12th Canadian Siege Battery after arriving in England. The collections consists of letters written to his parents and sisters Elizabeth, Evelyn, and Isabel (Bell), and covers his early training in Canada to his return to England to await return home.

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