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

Honour

Houston residents took the time to rememeber on Nov. 11, 2018 (Simon… Continue reading

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

North Coast figure skater to star in Dancing On Ice

Carlotta Edwards learned to skate in Prince Rupert, before becoming a star with millions of viewers

Making poppies

Kindergarten students from Silverthorne Elementary School went to Cottonwood Manor to make… Continue reading

Still unclear whether closure of Silverthorne Elementary is a strong possibility

Houston residents invited to discuss school district facilities next week

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Most Read