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

LDSS valedictorian Daria Strimbold to represent B.C. for the WE virtual grad party

The event will be hosted by comedian Lilly Singh, on CTV on June 6

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

No fines issued in provincial parks over May longweekend

Activities restricted to day-use only

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Social distancing at the skatepark — kids style

Kids in the village have taken on board this season of social… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read