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Date: January 26th 1918
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

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

43, Hartington Road,
Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Telephone Royal 2813
Jan 26/18

Dear Father & Mother:-

You will be surprised to get a letter from me from L-pool. I am on leave[185] and having quite a nice time. I stayed in London a couple of days and then I came up here last night[186]. From here I am going to see Uncle Henry and then up to Edinburgh[187]. I am feeling quite well. My, it is nice to get away from France for a couple of weeks. I am going to see Mrs. Jones, Binchens and Coopers[188] before I leave. I think Mrs. Hallsall is writing you to-day. Will write again very soon. Hoping you are both quite well.

Your Loving Son

[185] Pte. Richard Mercer was granted 14 days “Leave to England” on Wednesday 23 January 1918 while the Borden Battery was still at Verdrel, France. The weather was fine as he leaves with Pte. M. McDonald and Pte. McLeod. Pte. McLeod trained with Pte. Mercer at Camp Hughes in Manitoba as part of the 196th Western Universities Battalion in 1916. They are on leave until 7 February 1918.
[186] The original embossed letterhead suggests this may be a hotel rather than staying with relations at the moment. There is a reference to have been in contact with the Halsalls, so we can assume he has chosen to spend some personal private time in this hotel. As the letter is dated 26 January and he did not receive Leave to England until 23 January, we know he was able to get from the Front, spend two (2) days in London and then make it to Liverpool late last night. This provides some indication just how “close” and yet how “far away” the Great War was from England.
[187] Pte. Mercer stated to his third grandson Dwight Mercer that he decided to take the train to Edinburgh just to get away from everything and to get as far away from the War as he physically could. He just went to Edinburgh, Scotland and then came back south again.
[188] These are family friends of the Mercers when they lived in England and prior to their emigration to Canada in 1906.
[189] This letter is being written from a hotel. There is no military registration number which may indicate this letter is not subject to censorship. This aspect needs to be researched. Nevertheless, this letter does not offer any additional comment on the war and its conduct. Perhaps a form of routine “self-censorship” is in effect, he does not wish to deal with the realities of the war or it is expected this letter will still be subject to censorship.