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Date: November 14th 1917
Georgina Mercer
Director of Records, Ottawa

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

Canadian Pacific R'Y. CO.'s Telegraph

31 MH Ottawa, Ont. Nov. 14-17[143]

Mrs. Georgina Mercer

8772[144] sincerely regret inform you nine one one nought one six Private Richard William Mercer artillery[145] officially reported admitted one field ambulance depot[146] november sixth nineteen seventeen concussion[147] Director of Records

[143] Pte. Richard W. Mercer, (911016) of the "Borden Canadian Auto Machine Gun Brigade, attached to the 2nd Canadian Division, Machine Gun Corps is referenced in War Diary reference of
"one Gun position burying one man, 3 OR's were evacuated slightly wounded." One can assume the shell hit was sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the morning based on the chronological summary of Borden Battery War Diary. On 6 November, 1917 while at Passchendaele and during the final stages of the successful battle, Pte. Mercer was hospitalized for a concussion from an exploding artillery shell and was returned to duty on 2 December, 1917. Also during this period he was also treated for "impetigo" between 13 November and 29 November, 1917. He is admitted to #1 Canadian Field Ambulance Depot November 6, 1917 for 'concussion '. Mrs. Georgina Mercer, (mother) Theodore, Sask. is noted on card file." He is then transferred to #8 Casualty Clearing Station on the same day.
[144] The meaning of this number designation is unknown at this time.
[145] The Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery was considered 'artillery' owing to the high level of training and the Canadian use of groups of machine guns to provide barrage support and interdiction support.
[146] The exact location of the #1 Field Hospital has not been determined at this time, however, it is expected to have been within 5 miles of the front where he was wounded. Pte. Mercer mentioned in his 3 January 1918 letter to his mother that 
"Why I walked five miles out to a dressing station.”
[147] The term 'concussion' is all the information offered to a mother. A series of frantic letters follow this very terse telegram. This telegram would have arrived about 2 weeks after the telegram that was received at the Tracy household announcing the death Pte. Tom Tracy at the Battle of Passchendaele. One can only speculate at the impact of the news as it quickly spreads through the Village of Theodore as perhaps two of the three best friends may have now been killed together in the mud of Flanders.