Capt. John Finlay MacDuff enlisted on August 29th, 1914, and listed his trade as bank teller.

At the time of enlistment he was about 18 years old, and was 5' 6" tall and weighed 130 lbs. He grew up on a farm in Bruce County, Ontario. His father died when he was young, leaving his mother a widow with 5 children. He was attracted to the CMR's because of his love of horses. Little did he know that horses were not to be a part of his future with the CEF. One story he told was that when they arrived in France, the Germans put a sign on their parapet saying "Welcome CMR's, where are your horses?".

After training in Canada, the unit left for England on July 18th, 1915. He became an Acting Corporal on July 15th, 1916, followed by Acting Sergeant on September 30th of that year. On May 26th, 1917, he left for officer training in England, returning to his unit on November 10th, 1917, fortunately missing the battle of Passchendaele.

The next month (December 27th) he was wounded in the foot (I.C.T. left foot) near Loos and Hill 70, and did not return from Abbeville Hospital until February 7th, 1918. On August 30th he was given the rank of Acting Captain. He was struck off strength in Canada on March 3rd, 1919. On his pay records it appears to show that as a private, he was paid about $31.00 a month, as a corporal $34.00, a sergeant $41.00, and as a lieutenant $56.00.

John was decorated with the French Croix de Guerre for an action that we think took place in the fall of 1918. What that action was we don't know. It was gazetted on March 11th, 1919.

After the war, my grandfather and his best friend, Norman Vincent Waddell (also an Acting Captain with the 4th CMR and who was given that rank the day after my grandfather) took the train to Souris, MB, where they bought a movie house. There they met and married my grandmother and her best friend. They were married the same day in different churches in Souris, due to differing faiths, but held a joint reception in the town. With the advent of talking movies, the business failed and they were forced to find employment elsewhere. My grandfather took a job with a bank, with which he continued for the rest of his career, and Norman found work out west.

With the advent of the 2nd World War John tried to enlist again, but they said he was too old and offered him a job training troops. Apparently he wasn't interested in that, so declined their offer. My grandmother was not pleased that he had tried to enlist. Their oldest son did serve overseas in the Canadian Navy, while another son enlisted when he came of age, but that was at the end of the war and he never went overseas with the airforce.

My grandfather, Capt. John Finlay MacDuff, passed away in 1966 with lung disease, partly due, they believe, to the effects of poison gas in the war.

Biography credit to John MacDuff's grandson, Randall MacDuff Clear.