Witness to War: Sunday Apr 21, 1918

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:

Sunday Apr 21, 1918: Church parade but did not go in morning but heard Cannon [Canon] Scott[1] in Billet in evening Preached very good on the Prodigal Son The men enjoyed it too one could see that and more than one had tears in his eyes.

Reverend Canon F. G. Scott, original chaplain of the RMR[1] Frederick George Scott (1861-1944) was educated at Montreal High School and Bishop’s College where he received a B.A. in 1881, M.A. in 1884, and D.C.L. in 1902.  Ordained deacon in 1884 and priest in 1886, his first charge was at Coggleshall, Essex, England.  He was rector of St. George’s Church, Drummondville, Quebec (1886-1887) and St. Matthew’s Church, Quebec (1899-1933). As Chaplain of the 8th Royal Rifles,  Scott volunteered in the Great War.  In 1925, he was appointed Archdeacon of Quebec. Canon Scott was an accomplished and well-known poet and author before and after World War I.

Canon Frederick George Scott, DSO, was the padre of the 1st Division of the Canadian Corps. Known for his religious, inspirational, and patriotic poetry, he was considered a confidant, friend, and spiritual guide to soldiers during the War. Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, author of book “The Great War as I Saw It”, which describes his experiences as a Senior Chaplain and the loss of his son Captain Henry Hutton Scott. He also published 13 books of poetry. The citation for his DSO reads: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He attended to the wounded under heavy fire, and by his cool and confident manner was a source of encouragement to the men when they were suffering heavy casualties. He behaved nobly and helped save many lives.”

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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