Witness to War: Wednesday, Aug 28 – 1918

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, Aug 28 – 1918: went forward and relieved mix of 2nd Div. and only found our position about 5am where we located in dug-out. Stayed here for a few days – here dates are mixed up – On last evening at this place Gauthier (Runner) and I were sent up to No 4 Co on message when we came back No 2 was moving off and while we were getting our equipment Co moved and we lost track of it so hustled along after it but could not locate No 2 so stopped at Brigade R.C. advance in Chalk pit to wait but shells began to fall so first we had to go into cave and Sgt of Bde Sigs [signalers] told us impossible to locate Bn at this time so we stayed there. Bn went over top in morning and we met Tom Lawrence coming back with first batch of prisoners so we started back with him when at kicking off trench came across Cap’t Pinault who was badly wounded and he requested us to carry him to R.A.P. which we did. Found it impossible to locate Bn wandered around in wrong direction for two days very hungry and tired and at last came across them in a trench back of Cagnicourt which made us very happy. Found Bn had gone over again and lost pretty heavy, Norman and I only ones left of old bunch which left GM [Grand Mere] also Von Bing. On arrival at Bn found letter from my little girl and Dad which made me happy you bet. Spent two days with Bn then whole outfit relieved and marched to Cherisy where we took busses to Berneville where we were stationed in huts.

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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