Etc. -- James Kenneth DuVal found
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A lightly edited transcript of a page 1 article from the 9 Oct 1919 issue of the Simcoe Reformer.

James Kenneth DuVal

It is no exaggeration to say that Mrs. James DuVal, who resides on McCall Street, is the happiest mother in Simcoe today. 

The reason for this great happiness is obvious. 

Five years ago, when the great war that was to drench the world with the blood of millions broke out, her son, James Kenneth DuVal, than 16 years of age, was a Second Form student at Simcoe High School, a sturdy boy who tipped the scales at 145 pounds, and well over the average height for a lad of his years.

The spirit of patriotism and a longing to take part in the great adventure burned strong in Kenneth. Vainly he sought his mother's sanction to enlist. But while the mother was proud of her son's fine spirit, she could not, in view of his tender years, accede to his request.

For a time the boy seemed to be willing to abide by his mother's decision. Then, on 3 Dec 1914, Kenneth DuVal disappeared.

That day the boy went to the bank and drew his account, for he was a thrifty lad, and had saved a neat sum from work out of school hours.

Had the earth suddenly opened and swallowed him up, he could not have dropped out of sight more completely.

Every effort was made to locate him. Circulars bearing his photo and description were sent out over the country. Advertisements were inserted in Canadian, American and English newspapers. No clue, however remote, that might lead to the discovery of his whereabouts was overlooked, to no avail.

Weeks rolled into months, and months into years, but still no work came of the missing boy. Finally the heart-wrenched mother gave her boy up for lost.

The only possible solution seemed to be that he had  enlisted under an assumed name, gone to France, and there paid the great sacrifice demanded of hosts of other gallant lads. When the war ceased last November, and still no word came from her son, Mrs. DuVal had almost resigned herself to the fact that such had been her boy's end.

Fate however was kinder to Kenneth DuVal. Monday of this week his mother received a letter written by her boy to a chum, from Baumbach, near Coblenz, Germany, where he is now in the Headquarters Company, 342nd U.S. Field Artillery, with the American Army of occupation.

This letter had been travelling since March last, but for some reason the the addressee could not be located. The letter, it is supposed, eventually found its way to the United States record office, and the the authorities there had evidently been sent on the writer's mother in the hope that she would be about to forward it to its intended destination.

From this circumstance it would appear that the boy, upon enlisting with Uncle Sam's forces, had given his mother's name as his next of kin.

Thus a letter gone astray has been the means of bringing great joy to the mother who had given her boy up for dead. As Mrs. DuVal said to a Reformer man who called on her Tuesday afternoon: "For two days I have been so happy that I have been unable to do my work about the house. But then, I have also had many bitter days and nights these past five years."

Mrs. DuVal has written Kenneth's unit commander, and hopes soon to be in direct communication with her boy.

The supposition is that after leaving Simcoe, the lad tried vainly to attach himself to the Canadian forces, but was unable to do so owing to his youth. Failing this he likely crossed to the United States, where he took up work until, when that country was drawn into the war a few years later, he offered himself for enlistment and was accepted in the American Army.

 

 
Copyright 2017 John Cardiff