Witness to War: Friday May 4, 1917

Private Raymond Duval, MM, was a soldier of the 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment) CEF who served overseas during the last two years of the First World War. He participated in some of the fiercest fighting seen by Canadians during the war and was decorated for bravery at Passchendaele. Determined to preserve his memories of the First World War, he maintained a daily record of his experiences. Here is what he wrote precisely 100 years ago today:

Friday May 4, 1917: Got up about 9 o’clock and went out Brighton Road and reported to military Hospital Came back and met cousin Naomi on train at St Lukes and went out with her to Gorey from there She piloted me over Mt [?] Castle and ancient castle and a most beautiful view of the sea is obtained Wonderful old place saw the old cells and hanging chambers one almost hears the clanging of the armour and saw the ancient warriors tramping there. Came back to Stanley Le Rossignol and had dinner then took the train to Beaumont and saw Fred Duval (son of Nicholas Duval my Grand Uncle) then went to Beaumont and saw dad’s old Villa (Olga Villa) then on to Noirmont and saw Cousin Elise another daughter of Nicholas Duval where again I was made welcome and saw another of her brothers Phillip Duval and his daughter Mrs P. LeMesurie then went and saw another son P Duval Jr and his daughter Phyliss. Then came back and had supper with cousin Elise in her house then went across the road and saw the old Duval ancestral home built in 1606 which is still in the possession of the Duval family and habited by P Duval Jr grandson of my Grand Uncle Nicholas Duval. This has been a most remarkable day meeting these members of our family at home Delving into ancient records of the family and seen old furniture china and homes of the Duval’s which date back over 300 years Came back to Stanley’s and have had supper and am ready for bed.

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The RMR Foundation thanks Natalie Dyck for generously sharing her publication of “The Diary and Memoir of Private Raymond Duval” in order for us to be able to share his story with you 100 years on. You can learn more about Private Duval here.

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