Witness to War: Thursday August 2, 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:

Thursday August 2, 1917: Aug 2 – Went to Maison Garde – stayed two days and went up on Lens Front Line where we stayed till Friday morning Aug 9 – It was very warm up there and had several casualties. Had several narrow escapes when going between HQs and Front Line –

Spent the days in longing, longing for my Little Girl, how I miss her God only knows will this thing ever finish and will we ever be together again Did not get a chance to write her but I am going to now

At times it seemed too much up the line whiz-bangs and M.G. bullets coming like rain It seems at times more then human nerves can stand. To make things more pleasant it rained and made rivers of those chalk trenches We were wading in mud up to our knees the whole time We were a sorry dirty bunch of soldiers coming out but what a relief to get out of that Hell.

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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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