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Date: September 26th 1917
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

[transcription and footnotes have been provided by the collection donor]

France Sept 26/17

Dear Mother & Father:-

Thanks for letters received to day with money enclosed dated Aug 25th. I wrote you a few days ago. I am getting along very well[113]. Have not been in the line for some time[114]. Have not seen Leicester[115] for some time. He is a Sgt now. Yes, I saw young Ashdown[116] a few weeks ago. I suppose he wrote home and said he had seen me.

There was a competition held yesterday for the best machine gun team in the whole Canadian Machine Gunners and our Battery[117] won it. There is not much doing here. I haven't had any mail for a long time until today. Will write again very soon.

Your Loving Son
911016 R.W. Mercer

[113] The weather was "Fine" on this day according to the Borden Battery War Diary. “Under Operation Order #129 from 1st C.M.M.G. Brigade (Appendix #3) this battery [Borden] was relieved of Anti Air Craft Duties, at BARLIN and HERSIN, by "A" Battery, 1st C.M.M.G. Brigade.” Therefore, Pte. Richard Mercer would be return to the regular base camp and would again be with Pte. Tom Tracy from the associated Yukon Motor Machine Gun Battery.
[114] Pte. Mercer has just experienced his first major battle with the Battle for Hill 70 adjacent to Lens, Belgium. Between Aug. 15 to Aug 24th the Borden Battery responded to 11 S.O.S. calls for assistance and expended 415,250 rounds of machine gun ammunition.
" The battle for Hill 70 was bloody and vicious, there the Canadians and Germans attacked for three days without rest in the new, deadlier gas environment. Between 15 and 18 August, the Germans launched twenty-one counter-attacks on the Canadian lines. In the words of the German official history, 'Even though we soon succeeded in sealing off the local penetrations of Lens, the Canadians attained their ends. The fighting at Lens had cost us a considerable number of troops which had to be replaced. The entire preconceived plan for relieving the troops in Flanders had been upset.' The Canadians had achieved both their objectives: taking of Hill 70 and the "chewing up of German divisions slated to assist in the defence of Passchendaele. General Currie wrote in his diary that "It was the hardest battle in which the Corps had participated ... and G.H.Q. regard it as one of the finest performances of the war." As a result of the battle, one French war correspondent wrote that the Canadians "at present time completely hold the limelight in the theatre of war" and that there is a saying around Allied troops that "one Canadian is worth three Germans." P. 132. No Place to Run, The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War - Tim Cook
[115] Leicester is Corporal E.J. Leicester is with the Winnipeg Grenadiers at Vimy Ridge. He was an accountant with the Union Bank at Melfort, Saskatchewan and was likely a working friend of Pte. Mercer.
[116] The specific identity of "Ashdown" is not known at this time. He is likely from the Theodore area as the name is listed in the Theodore History Book, however, the book does not list him as one of the Great War volunteers.
[117] Quote from the Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery 
"A General Holiday was declared as the Canadian Corps Rifle and MG. Competition is being held at PERNES this date. Two teams from the 1st C.M.MG. Brig. being entered. The results were everything that could be desired. One Gun Team consisted of #45600, Sergt. H. Lewis, 1st C.M. MG. Bgde. with #476344, Pte. J.J. Richardson, #862579, Pte. J.A. Henderson, #919834, Pte. G.W. Kirkup of this Battery, and #910851 Pte. R.C. Spence of the Eaton Motor MG. Battery completing the Team. The Gun Team was successful in finishing first place, and won the 'Canadian Machine Gun Corps Shield' proving themselves the Premier Machine Gunners of the Canadian Corps. The other Brigade Team finished in third place." The Borden Battery, even when merged into the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and designated the "C" Battery, continued to call itself the Borden Battery. They always considered themselves the elite within the special Brigade.