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Date: December 2nd 1917
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

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

Machine Gun Base[153]
Dec 2/17

Dear Father & Mother:-

The last time I wrote you I was in a Hospital[154]. I haven't had any mail for six weeks. I suppose I will get it when I get up to my Battery[155] again. I am quite all right now and will be up the line again soon. My it is a nuisance not getting any letters. I am longing for a letter from you[156]. As soon as I arrived here the first person I saw was Frank Chilton[157]. He has been here since Sept with a weak heart. There is nothing much to tell you this time except that I am quite well. Address my letters to the Battery[158].

With Love
911016 R.W. Mercer

[153] Private Richard W. Mercer of the Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery was released from # 25th General Hospital at Havelot (?) on November 29, 1917 for treatment of impetigo [a contagious skin infection]. He is transferred to #1 Conv. Depot at Boulogne and in the same day transferred to 3 L. R. Camp in the field. The location of 3 L.R. Camp is unknown at this time. The reference to “Machine Gun Base” is speculated to be near Camniers, France. More research is required on this item.
[154] Pte. Mercer was first treated for a shell concussion.
[155] The Borden Battery has been stationed at Pernes, France since 18 November 1917 and undergoing refit, training of replacements, camp improvements and general machine gun training. They will remain in Pernes, France for training until 29 December 1917 when they move to Verdrel, France.
[156] In this short letter of just ten sentences, five sentences comment on the need and longing for a letter. Pte. Mercer is probably lonely and in need of some news and comfort from home. The reality of war is that one best friend is now dead, a second has been separated from him and he is separated from his Battery (his new home) and now among strangers.
[157] Frank Chilton is unknown at this time.
[158] The “Battery” is the Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery which moved from the Passchendaele battle site in Belgium to Pernes, France on 18 November 1917. At Pernes, the Battery began an extended training and re-fitting program which carried on until 29 December 1917 when they again moved to a new base at Verdrel, France. The Battery maintained a heavy training program during the time it was “down the line” and out of the direct combat zone.