Roy Shopland and his prized 100-year-old Union Jack flag. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

97-year-old B.C. veteran proudly displays 100-year-old Union Jack

Roy Shopland inherited the flag his mom brought to Canada when she emigrated from England in 1918.

From the moon landing to war to the invention of Post-It notes, computers, smartphones and the microwave, there’s no doubt that Roy Shopland, 97, has seen a lot throughout his life.

Now living at Creekside Independent Living in Vernon, there’s only one thing he wants to see every day: his 100-year-old Union Jack Flag.

The Union Jack Flag is the national flag of the United Kingdom, which also represents an official or semi-official status in some other Commonwealth realms. In Canada, it’s ceremonial flag by parliamentary resolution and known here as the Royal Union Flag.

Related: 3 shipyards set to share $7-billion in navy maintenance contracts

Related: Vernon’s veterans’ unit stays true to association acclaim

“My mother brought it from England when my parents moved here in 1918,” said Shopland. “She wanted to bring a little piece of home [England] with her.”

Three years later, Shopland was born.

“I was born May 26, 1921, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and my sister came three years later. Then, when I was eight, my Mom and Dad decided that they had enough of the Prairies and we moved to Vancouver.”

Years later, he met his wife through their church and they married in 1945. Four years later they had their first son Ralf in March of 1949 and, two years after, they had their second son Eric.

Meanwhile, the Second World War began and, at 25, he decided to do his part for his country and volunteer for the Canadian Armed Forces.

“I thought about the Air Force but I’m allergic to heights so that wouldn’t have worked and so, eventually I settled on the Navy.”

He was 25 when he enlisted and served for a total of three and a half years.

He served as an HMC — Chief Hospital Corpsman, Navy Designation Rating — for the Submarine service in Bermuda for about a year before being transferred to Esquimalt, Victoria.

“My mom prayed every Sunday I was gone for those in peril on the sea,” he said, explaining how close his family was. “After the Navy, my dad would always say, ‘You volunteered for the Navy so don’t be volunteering for anything else.’”

So, Shopland took up a career in the liquor business. Ironically, he said, he doesn’t drink alcohol.

“I never drank a drop. When I was in the Navy, it would be noon and we’d be at sea and they’d be having rum. I tried it once and just never much liked liquor — and I was the same with smoking. I just never liked it. ”

He was in the liquor store business for 35 years — which is how he found himself relocated to Vernon in 1962. He retired at age 62 and has lived here ever since.

Shopland eventually inherited the flag when his mother died at the age of 84. But, he said, it wasn’t until about three months ago when his sons decided to get it framed.

Now, proudly displayed on the wall opposite the front door, it’s one of the first things you see when you enter Shopland’s apartment. If you look closely at the flag, sprawled across the edge in legible ink are the worlds: World War 1 1914-1918.

For Shopland, he said it symbolizes remembrance — of his mother, his country and his time serving Canada.

“In my will, I’ll be giving it to my sons to share,” he said. “That’s important to me.”

Related: One veteran’s quest to honour another

Related: Reaching out to Okanagan homeless veterans

Related: Okanagan Military Tattoo announces new honourary patron

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.



Follow me on Twitter @BrieChar
Email me brieanna.charlebois@vernonmorningstar.com
Like us on

 

Roy Shopland’s prized 100-year-old Union Jack flag. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Roy Shopland served as an HMC — Chief Hospital Corpsman, Navy Designation Rating — for the Submarine service in Bermuda for about a year before being transferred to Esquimalt, Victoria. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Watermains flushed to help downgrade Prince Rupert’s boil water notice

City crews try to clear possible debris resulting in milky or discolouration of water

Author warns of dangerous goods being carried by rail

Bruce Campbell wrote book on Lac-Mégantic disaster

LaFrance and Repole team win in sturling showdown

Prince Rupert Curling Club hosts Fisherman’s Sturling Spiel on Jan. 20 with 17 teams

Environment Canada warns of strong winds Monday

Monday ferry sailing from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii has been cancelled

‘Avalanche Awareness Days’ emphasize backcountry safety at Shames

Skeena Bar and Shames Mountain Co-op held events this past weekend

Cheng 2 Duo wows Lester Centre crowd

Sibling performers gave a virtuoso performance on Jan. 18 in Prince Rupert

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in Chilliwack

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying with taxpayers’ money

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Alberta youth charged over theft of $17,000 in snow equipment at B.C. ski resort

Alberta RCMP recovered $17,000 in skis/snowboards believed stolen from Fernie Alpine Resort Saturday

China demands U.S. drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

Hua said China demands that the U.S. withdraw the arrest warrant against Meng Wanzhou

Most Read