Witness to War: Wednesday May 30, 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 May 30, 1917: This has been some day. No water this morning in the camp so no wash or shave before going to the Bull Ring which is home march with full pack and Rifle Had lots of gas lectures and gas drill. Came back and had supper then went scouting for water but the best we could do was to suck the water out of a water pipe and spit it out into a can and got a shave wash feet and hands in that which was going some got into our tent and were warned about going up the line in the morning Discussion as usual in the tent before going to bed Letter No 19 to the little girl today.

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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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