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

Homemade snow

An RCMP officer in Fraser Lake tossed a cup of boiling water… Continue reading

Government warns of polluted Bulkley Valley air

Recent air quality alerts in the Bulkley Vally - including Burns Lake… Continue reading

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Most Read