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Date: September 25th 1918
William & Georgina Mercer
Richard Mercer

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

Sept 25/1918[254]

Dear Father & Mother:-

Received your welcome letters dated Aug 12 and 24th. I wrote you a couple of days ago so have not much news this time. I am quite well and having a fair[255] time. Have not heard from Uncle Henry for some time. I expect the letters have gone astray. I am getting my mail a little better now thank goodness. I am glad you gave me advice on Julia and myself[256]. I really wasn't very serious when I told you that. I just wanted to hear what you thought. I heard after Julia is not going to England, at least not yet. Yes, I will write Uncle when I want money or anything. It is much quicker and I will let you know. Glad to hear Leicester[257] has been discharged from Army. I will try and see Harry P.[258] while on leave if possible. I expect to get it is about a month or so. I will have my photo taken while there. There is no chance here. Very glad you are enjoying yourselves now and then. It is the only way. Must close now. Hoping you are both quite well and not worrying too much.

Your Loving Son
911016 R.W. Mercer 

[254] It is Wednesday at Tilloy-les-Hermanville and the day's activities were quiet for 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade. However, the following edited status report from the Brigade outlines the next few days of activity:
"Instructions were received as contained in M.G.G. 21/400 of September 20, 1918 that this Unit was to furnish four batteries for an initial M.G. Barrage to be fired by 24 batteries of machine guns from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Bns., C.M.M.G., and 1st and 2nd C.M.M.G. Brigades. On completion of the firing program, the batteries were to be withdrawn and this Brigade was to come into Corps Reserve. B.W. Instructions No. 1 of September 25th advised that the Canadian Corps on "Z" Day would take part in a general advance in order that the left flank of the 3rd Army might be protected, Brutinel's Brigade consisting of the 1st and 2nd C.M.M.G. Brigades, C.L.H., 2 Sections, Trench Mortars, C.C. Battalion, with a Battery of the 251st Brigade, R.F.A. was to cross the Canal de L'ESCAUT in the vicinity of CAMBRAI and exploit success along the CAMBRIA-IWNY-VALENCIENNES Road. In accordance with the above instructions and information, "A", "B", "C" and "E" Batteries left TILLOY - LENS-HERMANVILLE at 5:00 P.M.. September 26th and reported to Major W.T. Trench, M.C., Group Commander, at N.24.b.7.7., Headquarters with "D" battery, Armoured Cars and Trench Mortars left TILLOY-LES-HERMANVILLE at 6:30 P.M. and concentrated at N.16.c.0.0. The transport of the Barrage Batteries returned to the location after having taken personnel and guns to barrage positions, with orders to report back at Zero plus 3 1/2 hours. Two officers with motorcycles, Lieut. J.R. Francis and Lieut. J.E. Hipwell were detailed for duty as Liaison Officers between Headquarters, Brutinel's Brigade and the 1st C.M.M.G. Brigade and between 1st C.M.M.G. and nearby Infantry Units. All Batteries had their complement of telephones etc., for maintaining communication with Report Centre. 10,000 rounds of S.A.A. were carried for each gun, also the complete establishment of Flares, Bombs, etc." This action is part of the Battle of Canal du Nord. "The Canal du Nord was another daunting obstacle. Bristling with machine guns and barbed wire, the fortification on the other side of the canal were protected not only by the forty-foot wide canal but also by swampy marshes that funnelled any attack into a natural killing ground. … the Canadian front was quiet until 27 September." P.199. No Place to Run, The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War - Tim Cook
[255] One can speculate on the importance of the term "fair" and the physical and mental state of Pte. Mercer at this time. A soldier is said to have only some much "courage" that is “spent” with each battle. After being in action since April 1917 and being wounded twice already, this soldier may be coming to the limits of his physical and mental endurance. The war also appears to be coming to an end and many soldiers were now worried they might get killed or seriously wounded during the final days of the war.
[256] It is speculation there may have been a possible romantic connection between Pte. Mercer and "Julia" from Wawota, Saskatchewan. In 1920 he married Salborg Solvason from Wynyard, Saskatchewan. Salborg was an Icelandic school teacher at Theodore School when she met and later married Richard Mercer the newly appointed Postmaster for Theodore, Saskatchewan.
[257] "Leicester" is the former Sargent E.J. Leicester with the Winnipeg Grenadiers at Vimy Ridge. He was an accountant with the Union Bank at Melfort, Saskatchewan and was likely a working friend of Pte. Mercer. More research is planned on Sargent E.J. Leicester.
[258] No information is currently available on who is "Harry P."