Witness to War: Monday June 18, 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 June 18, 1917: Went on parade and 120 men were chosen to go up the line by Auto Bus and was among the lucky ones. Came up to 14th Base where the Bn just came for 8 days rest M.S.E. [Mobile Support Equipment] Segt Windle now Pte looked me up and in the evening he took me over to see ruins of town The Huns sure pounded it First sight of war smashed country and it was very impressive old church which was smashed in 1870 was bombarded again and only the tower remains and the town is a mess of ruins. It seems rather funny that Windle and I should come to same Bn he wrote his wife and told her he had seen me so Clare will know. But I wish they would post the mail that is here as I long from word from my little wife and from home. Pay day drew 15 francs one can see the flashes and hear the big guns from here.

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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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