Witness to War: Thursday May 31st, 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:

Thursday May 31st, 1917: Nothing doing today except loaf around and rest up for the next step up the line tomorrow in box cars I suppose hate to think of that ride tho’ Sat around the tent and wrote a bunch of letters to all the friends at home wonder what is coming next, digging trenches etc. I suppose but we should worry eh? Well guess will have to go to supper now Had a good supper and then best of all walked over to the N. 3 lines and got some real water and had a real wash and felt like a new man and went to bed feeling like a new man.

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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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