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Date: June 10th 1916
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

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

Camp Hughes, Sewell[23]
June 10, 1916
Written by R. W. Mercer Co'y B, B'tn 196

Dear Father & Mother

Received your welcome letter the other day.  Is not it awfull about Kitchener[24]?  I am glad you like photo's.  I suppose you can find me in them.  Mabel Hanson[25] took the one of me leaning over the gate. It was pretty good of me too.  I was showing her them the night I came on the train[26].  She wanted it so I couldn't very well refuse.

I don't know what Symons[27] wants [with] my no.[28] for unless we wants to write.

I am getting on very well now[29].  I guess I am getting more used to it.  The drill is a lot harder here[30] although we don't get as much of it.  Walter[31] has been in the Hospital for a few days with constipation[32] or something so I have been feeling a little lonely.

I met a lot of fellows here I know.  I saw Berry the Teller the other night and a few other Wawota boys[33].

Your loving Son

[23]  Camp Hughes was originally known as Camp Sewell.  Private R. W. Mercer has provided this added information to avoid confusion to his parents.
[24]  Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener is drowned on 5 June 1916 when the battleship HMS Hampshire from Scapa Flow strikes hit a sea mine off the Orkney Islands why being transported to Russia on a military mission.
[25]  Further research is required regarding who was "Mabel Hansen".  At present there is no record of this photograph.
[26]  The reference to "train" could be related to coming back from Saskatoon with "B" Company of the 196th Western Universities Battalion and prior to going to Camp Hughes, or it could refer to a Leave from Camp Hughes back to Theodore.  In any case, Pte. Richard Mercer is in uniform.
[27]  Further research is required regarding who "Symons" was.  He does not appear to be a close friend and may be a distant banking associate.
[28]  "no." is reference to Pte. Mercer's military registration number and "B" Company, 196th Western Universities Battalion.
[29]  This comment suggests the basic training at Camp Hughes was tougher on Pte. Mercer than he might have expected.  Having come from the bank and being inside, he would have required some effort to "toughen up" to the standards of many of the men used to outdoor work.
[30]  This comment suggests there may have been some military drill activity at the University of Saskatchewan prior to "B" Company being sent to Camp Hughes in Manitoba as part of the 196th Western Universities Battalion.  There is a photograph of "B" company in front of the Administration Building on the "Bowl" of the University of Saskatchewan campus.  The drill may have occurred in April and possibly the early part of May 1916.
[31]  The notation is "Water", however Pte. Mercer is making reference to "Walter" Wylie from Theodore.
[32]  Pte. Walter Wylie was admitted for a hernia and was later discharged without an operation and the suspected constipation.
[33]  More research is required to determine who some of the "Wawota boys" from Saskatchewan might have been, what became of them and if any of Pte. Mercer’s letters survive in the Wawota district.  It is expected many of these “Wawota Boys” also first became part of the 196th Western Universities Battalion, and coupled with the joining of Wylie and Tracy, Richard Mercer was almost compelled to join the adventure with most of his able-bodied acquaintances.  Further, the Union Bank produced some material that was supportive of the Great War and there may have been some modest incentive from the bank for its younger, able-bodied employees to enlist.