Witness to War: Tuesday Oct 30 – Friday Nov 9, 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:

Tuesday Oct 30 – Friday Nov 9, 1917: Left Staples for Ypres front[1] entrained at Staples and came to Ypres by way of Poperinge stopped at Weiltje for supper and came on to supports and this is sure the worst Battle field I have ever seen We have to go about 5 miles along the top to get to the Trenches and running is surely no fun I am sitting here in the doorway of one of Fritz’s Pill-Boxes and it is a desolate scene indeed Fred and I have had the narrowest of escapes yet on this trip – running through shell fire to H.Q. it makes me wonder how we get through hope we get out soon.

[1] The Third Battle of Ypres, known as the Battle of Passchendaele, August 23 – November 11, 1917.

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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.