Witness to War: Saturday May 26, 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:

Saturday May 26, 1917: Nothing much doing except getting ready to go. Which we expect to do tonight. Wrote another letter No. 1 to Clare I hope I will soon see her heres Love to her for I Love her more than I can describe. Fell in at 11:30 for over seas.

Author’s note in 1954: Following a few weeks of intensive training (much too few to properly prepare us for the coming ordeal), we were entrained one night and taken to Folkstone. Here we spent a couple of days, in some houses previously vacated by the Canadians, until one night without warning we were herded on a ship and sailed for France.

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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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