Witness to War: Wednesday March 28, 1917

Witness to War: Wednesday March 28, 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 March 28, 1917Didn’t go on duty last night too much fog. So went to bed and had a good sleep. Had boat drill in the forenoon am in boat #4 A Lieut Hort in charge mostly all men of 15 platoon in this boat. Wrote Clare a postal but couldn’t get it off. Set sail from Halifax about 4:30pm. Went on duty at 6:00pm till 8 o’clock got few messages from HMS Calgarian

Clarified by Duval in 1954: After a week on board the SS Lapland in Halifax Harbor, we were put in convoy with several other ships, and sailed for England. The convoy consisted of four troopships under the protection of a converted cruiser the SS Calgarian. During the voyage (which took 11 days), I was on duty with the Signaller, which consisted of watches of 2 or 3 men with flags, lamps, etc., with which we communicated haphazardly with the other ships of the convoy.

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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