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Date: May 8th 1918
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

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

May 8/18[228]

Dear Father & Mother:-

Have not received any mail from you for a couple of weeks but suppose my mail is held up somewhere. Am having a fine time down here and such lovely weather. I think I told you in my last letter that I was down the line again at the Reinforcement Camp[229]. My Battery was full up when I got up there so expect to be here for a few more weeks[230]. I hope I do anyway. I am not in a very big hurry to go up again. In fact they could keep [me] here for duration if they like. I was offered two trips[231] yesterday but I didn't think it worth while so didn't take them. Perhaps I was foolish but it doesn't matter[232]. Received a letter from Mr. Joyce a few days ago. He wants me to go and see them on my next leave. The Bishop won't let him join up so he has to be content and stay. I hav'nt received the parcel you sent me some time ago. I will tell you sometime when I get a chance of what happened to a lot of the letters and parcels belonging to our Brigade. I also lost a parcel from Hilda with two hundred cigs and a razor strop. Hoping you are both well.

Your Loving Son

P.S. Have just written to Halsalls for a pound. Please send it on to them. Rich

[227] At this time Private Richard Mercer is not with the Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery which is stationed in Verdrel, France. The Ludendorff Offensive has paused until Operation Blucher begins on 29 May 1917. On this date the War Diary stated, 
"Fine. Machine Gun Training Capt. French W.J. attached from C.M.G.C. R.D. (Motor Br) and assumes Command of this Battery with Capt. Inch R.F. attached to 1st C.M.M.G. Bde. ('A' Battery), signed Capt. French W.J., Commanding Borden M.M.B. BATTY"
[228] There is a hand-written set of comments on the letter possibly written by Georgina Mercer. The first reference has a comment that states "Envelope dated Army P.O. June 11" and the second comment states "We think it is June". It appears these notes relate to a possible mistake in the date of the letter sent by Pte. Richard Mercer. The original date has been used in this instance.
[229] After being wounded a second time during the Ludendorff Offensive near Villers-Brettoneux in April 1918, Pte. Mercer is delayed from returning to his Brigade which is over-manned at the moment. Having seen his Battery virtually wiped out in a matter of hours, he has no illusions about war. Very, very few friends remain in the Brigade and he would now be among a lot of strangers. The name and location of this Reinforcement Camp where he has been accommodated requires more research.
[230] This comment indirectly provides some indication of the expected and normal attrition rate of the Borden Battery of 56 men.
[231] At present it is not certain what the term "trips" means. It is possible it is either reference to another posting or he had the opportunity to undertake some motorcycle dispatch riding.
[232] The tone of this letter now presents a 
‘laissez-faire’ attitude with the patriot soldier has been replaced by a tired young man.