Witness to War: Monday April 30, 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:

Monday April 30, 1917: Inspections parade and everybody got the deuce not a square deal. Got called for a dirty rifle which was rusty when I got it. Stood at attention for so long almost fainted on parade splitting headache all day, but guess I will write to my little wife no 11.

Author’s note in 1954: The training we received need not be described. It was like all the rest at that time. In our case however, it was shortened considerably as the Canadian Army was getting short of replacements. However, we got a seven day leave, and I took advantage of this to visit Jersey in the Channel Islands, from which my father went to Canada in 1860. There I had a wonderful week with relatives whom I had never seen before and knew very little about.
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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