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Date: March 19th 1918
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

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

Mch 19/18[213]

Dear Father & Mother:-

Received your registered letter[214] last night also letters enclosed to Uncle Henry & Aunt Mary. I am keeping very well. Sorry to hear you feel the cold[215] so much this Winter. However you will soon be having Spring again and nice weather. We are having beautiful weather here although I expect it will not be long before it is muddy and wet again. Walter has had his leave to Blighty[216] and he says he had a very good time. I was on leave about the same time but of course I didn't know. No I have not been to Holy Communion[217] since Xmas when I was down the line. Things are very quiet at present[218] so you mustn't worry about me[219] because I shall be alright[220]. Will write soon in a day or two. Hoping you are both quite well.

Your Loving Son
911016 R.W. Mercer

"At this time the members of the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade are still busy working on the machine gun emplacements in the Vimy Ridge sector of the front. The Canadian sector was not to be included in the pending Ludendorff attack on 21 March 1918 as the main focus of action was to be to the south of them. Only 'E' Battery was at the main base in Verdrel while the majority of the Brigade [including the Borden (C) Battery appears to have been active in the re-construction of the machine gun emplacements. Later on 21 March 1918 the barrage to the south would be clearly heard as the work went on.” Alex Lynch, "The Glory of Their Times - March 1918", 2001, Lawrence Publications, Kingston. p26
[214] It can be assumed the "registered letter" contained money. The association with letters for relations in England might be related to a transfer of funds or a line of credit from Canada to England for Pte. Richard Mercer.
[215] With the possible onset of diabetes and associated circulatory problems, Georgina Mercer may be having problems keeping her hands and feet warm. A surviving photograph has Georgina Mercer is some lose-fitting and unfashionable shoes which might be indicative of problems with her feet. In letters after the Great War she comments on problems with her eyesight.
[216] "Blighty" is reference to England. The term is usually associated with obtaining a moderate wound that would require evacuation to England for extended treatment but with the prospect of full recovery. In this case the context is a regular “Leave to England”.
[217] The Mercer family religion was the Church of England or Anglican that celebrated Holy Communion within the Protestant faith.
[218] The German Army, having concluded a peace treaty with the Russians, transferred most of its army on the Eastern Front to the Western Front for the start of the Ludendorff Offensive, a final massive attack battle to either win the war and/or improve the German position for possible peace talks. This offensive was required before the Americans could deploy and train their large numbers of troops. During the pending offensive, the Germans avoided the Canadian-held sector with its commanding heights of Vimy and Lens. Nonetheless, the dominion troops were still harassed, and Pte. Albert West detailed in his illegal diary that 
"the enemy seems to have inaugurated a 'reign of terror' ... Every day and all night shelling goes on somewhere near." (Ludendorff Offensive) Albert C. West Papers. NAC, MG 30, E32, March 1918
[219] On March 19th, the Allied General Gough was informed that several captured German prisoners and deserters from various parts of the line an artillery man, a pilot, an infantryman?all told the same story to the British. The German attack would start March 21st. On March 19th Gough wrote to his wife that the battle would start on the 21st, adding "everyone is calm and confident. All is ready." It was the quiet before the storm.
[220] The next several days will see the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade involved in almost continuous action with extremely heavy casualties. Pte. Mercer will be one of only 5-6 of survivors from his 56-man Borden [C] Battery. One can only imagine the level of activity and fighting necessary to virtually annihilate them. The action of the Brigade may have been important element in preventing the German army from gaining control of Amiens and the network of associated railway lines. Alex Lynch of Kingston also has researched the possibility of the first American Expeditionary Force (AEF) combat when a group of combat engineers are commandeered along with cooks and clerical support staff to assist the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade. More research is required on this item.