Witness to War: Thursday, Dec 12, 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:

Thursday, Dec 12, 1918: Marched 23km to outskirts of Cologne. Fine city – Re – See McIsaacs.

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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.

From the 14th Battalion (RMR) War Diary:

Cologne, Germany: Dec 12 th The Battalion paraded at 8:30 a.m. and marched through the town of BRUHL and the village of MESCHENICH and billeted in the outskirts of COLOGNE at 12:00 noon, the distance covered being12 ½ kilometres. Heavy rain fell in the latter part of the day.

The suburb where the Battalion is billeted is on the west bank of the river RHINE, and is the wealthy residential district, all of the houses being of a palatial character; Officers and men obtaining billets in some cases of considerable magnificence.

News was received that the Regiment would head the column of that part of the Army that is to cross the Rhine tomorrow and hold the COLOGNE Bridgehead, and the balance of the day was spent in cleaning up in preparation of the great event.

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