Pictured right: Roy, at Veterans Memorial Lodge.
Born in Montreal in 1930 to a Jewish mother and Catholic father, Roy was the youngest of four children. Sadly, both his sisters passed away following complications from influenza in the early 1930s, leaving Roy, his brother, and their parents. At 18, Roy joined the Army, with the PPCLI 1st Battalion in Calgary. “I had wanted to go to Korea and fight in the war. But they had other plans for me.” Canada’s concerns over Soviet occupation led to increased training and presence along Canada’s northern borders.
Roy trained as a Paratrooper in Rivers, Manitoba. “We arrived in December, which I remember was cold – 35 below zero!” Remembering the rush of jumping out of the planes, Roy smiles when he thinks of how the instructors would say, right before opening the doors of the plane, “You don’t have to jump.” However, once the green light would come on and everyone pushed up tight there was no turning back. Roy said, “When they yelled ‘go’ you better bloody well move or you’d get trampled to death!”
Once his first three years were up in the Army, Roy made the decision to make the switch and join the Navy. “I still wanted to get overseas and do my part during the Korean War.”
Posted on the HMCS Athabaskan II, he was part of the third deployment to Korean waters. Trained as an engineer, Roy recalls his action station on the ship was in the ammunitions section. “My job was to pass up the ammunition for the 4 inch guns. We could only go as fast as the men could put the shells in.” Meant for firing on enemy ships or land targets, the 4-inch high angle guns had a deck thrust of 60 tons. “They sure shook the hell out of ya. All the light bulbs would shake and sometimes break.”
Following his safe return from the Korean War, Roy was stationed in Halifax and Esquimalt before retiring from the military after 25 years of service. Roy credits the Navy with his career that proceeded with BC Tel as a linesman, where he worked for 18 years.
Roy and his late wife, Joy, had three kids. Widowed in 1996 after his wife’s long battle with Multiple Sclerosis, Roy enjoys time with his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
A resident at Veterans Memorial Lodge since 2016, at 93 years old Roy keeps up his strength and health by continuing to work out every day. He rides a stationary bike, lifts free weights, enjoys walks, and and eats healthy meals. “The food is excellent. Don’t let anybody tell you different. I should know, I have eaten at places all over the world!”
You can help veterans like Roy enjoy the comforts of home and simple pleasures by making a donation today.