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Date: October 14th 1918
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

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

Oct 14/18[259]

Dear Father & Mother:-

Thanks very much for letters dated Sept 10th & 17th received to-day.

I wrote you last night so all I can tell you is that I am quite well and getting along fine[260].

Everyone is talking peace here. I suppose it is the same over there. It certainly looks as if we will have our Xmas dinner[261] in England yet.

Oh thanks very much for snaps. They are very good.

No I don't hear from Mrs. Irvine[262]. Will write again soon.

Your Loving Son
911016 R.W. Mercer

[259] On this date Pte. Richard Mercer is in Baralle, France where all Batteries and units attached to the Brigade held Bathing Parades to the 1st CDN. DIV. BATHS in BARALLE. Remainder of the day was spent in cleaning equipment plus vehicles. Also on this date Adolf Hitler, in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry, was blinded by mustard gas in a British artillery bombardment of Werwick. P. 208. No Place to Run, The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War - Tim Cook
[260] The 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade, as part of No. 2 Group of the Canadian Independent Force, was in action for over two weeks prior to the writing of this letter. Active patrols and barrage action first occurred between 26 and 30 September 1918 as part of the Battle of Canal du Nord. Following two days in reserve, which also including a shifting north to the Citadel/Arras zone, the Brigade was then in constant contact and action with the enemy from 2 to 11 October, 1918 inclusive. On 12 October they were withdrawn from action, worked on improving billets on the 13th and had a Bath Parade and rest on 14 October; the date of this letter home. The short sentence grossly understates the level of military action and exhaustion Pte. Mercer is most likely experiencing at this moment. It is estimated that within the entire Brigade perhaps three or four the original 196th Battalion recruits from Canada are still in combat with Pte. Mercer. Virtually all the replacements in the Borden Battery now have far less combat experience than Pte. Mercer who is now an aged veteran of 21 years and 3 months.
[261] Pte. Mercer did not get to take his planned 1918 Christmas dinner in England. He ended up in Friesdorf, Germany near Bonn as part of the Occupation Force. On Christmas Day in 1918 he attended Church Parade 0830 hours and the Commanding Officers visited all units for their Xmas Dinner. BRIG-GEN. R. BRUTINEL CMG DSO also visited the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade during the afternoon.
[262] Mrs. Irvine is the mother of Lance-Cpl. Stanley Irvine of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He received the Distinguished Service Medal for bravery while serving as a machine gunner with "A' Company of the 65th Battalion at Passchendaele in 1917.  There must be a family connection to the Irvines that will require further research.