Private Robert Howard Manzer was born in Doe Lake, Ontario on July 5, 1886, to parents John Oscar & Jane Eva Manzer. He was working as a school principal at the Quennell School in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, when he enlisted in Vancouver on June 3rd, 1916, with the British Columbia Company of the Western Universities Overseas (196th) Battalion.
Shipping for England on board the S.S. Southland in November of 1916, Manzer served his time in England working as a Clerk with the Canadian Forestry Corps. He was medically discharged and returned to Canada in late 1918.
The letter in the Manzer collection was written by Robert to his mother at the time of his enlistment, in part to try to explain why he felt compelled to leave civilian life and offer his service to the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force.
Pte. Manzer’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 911980) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.