Witness to War: Wednesday June 20, 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:

Wednesday June 20, 1917: On guard all day some off at 6 pm and very tired and sleepy should write Clare but am so sleepy that I don’t think I could write a good letter and I want to feel cheerful when I write to her. Windle came over again The GM boys are all in the same Co “B” and I am in No 5 plat[oon] with MacDonald, Charlton, Ashworth[1], Jobb[2] and McLaughlin so it isn’t too bad. I sleep bottom Ashworth and Charlie. It is raining now. Love to my Little Wifie.

[1] Ashworth, James. Born 4 April 1885, Nelson, Lancashire, England. Enlisted 22 August 1916, Trois-Rivieres, PQ. KIA 18 August 1917, Chocques Cemetery.

[2] Jobb, Edward Blake. Born 31 March 1885, East Village, Coalchester County, NS. Enlisted 9 August 1916, Trois-Rivieres, PQ.

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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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