Honouring Valour at Schjelderup Lake

Honouring Valour at Schjelderup Lake

The joint team of soldiers from Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s). From left: Sergeant Lance Bevan, Master Corporal Lucas Roy, Private Mike Albrecht, Private Donovan Scott, Master Corporal Jed Jackson, Corporal Nicolas Cazelais, Private Matthew Dimmers, Private Carlee Smith (kneeling), Corporal Jonathan Dick, Corporal Matthew Rees, Corporal Devin Barett, Corporal William Cable, Lieutenant Evan Machin (kneeling), Master Corporal Denis Byrne and Private Jordan Oakley. Photo by Private Jordan Oakley, 2 PPCLI

Lieutenant Cameron Park
The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) ~

Soldiers from The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) and Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI) returned from a joint excursion to Schjelderup Lake on Aug. 31. The purpose of the five-day trek was to replace a damaged marble plaque at the lake dedicated to Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Schjelderup, DSO, MC and Bar, CD.

Led by Lieutenant Evan Machin of The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) and Sergeant Lance Beavin of 2 PPLCI, the team moved through complex, mountainous terrain to Schjelderup Lake.

They carried a 45-pound bronze plaque and the myriad of tools required for the replacement and mounting.

“I kind of underestimated what the mountain would look like,” said Corporal Matthew Rees of 2 PPLCI. “I thought we would go up one steep embankment and ride a ridge all the way down into a valley and then see the mountain, but that wasn’t the case. The ridge turned out to be a series of what I would call mountains, being from Manitoba.”

As they moved through the challenging terrain members of the expedition reflected on the challenges faced by Lieutenant-Colonel Schjelderup during his wartime service.

He was born in Smithers, but grew up in Comox, British Columbia. In 1937, at the age of 15, he summited the nearby Golden Hinde after camping at the lake that now bears his name.

Serving with The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s), he landed with ‘C’ Company on Juno Beach on D-Day – June 6, 1944. Wounded in the fighting, he was awarded the Military Cross for Valour. Upon recovering from his wounds, he rejoined the regiment as it fought through Holland. During the assault across the Leopold Canal in October of that year, he was wounded and captured during a German counterattack. Escaping from captivity, the then Captain Schjelderup and a small number of soldiers were sheltered by members of the Dutch resistance. After three months behind enemy lines, and intermittent encounters with German forces, he managed to lead members of his group to link up with British forces.

“I think we drew some inspiration from his story for sure,” said Lieutenant Machin. “Not only was he at that lake as a 15-year-old before there was a trail, and with the hiking technology of the 1930’s which would have been a challenge in itself, but also his adventures in the Second World War. The escape from the Germans and slogging through the icy fields of Holland, it’s a really incredible story.”

Drawing on the technical expertise of Master Corporal Denis Byrne of The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s), the group carefully removed the damaged plaque and mounted the new one. Having previously placed a plaque in a remote setting, Master Corporal Byrne was enthusiastic about joining the team. He pointed to the benefits found in a challenging trek.

“The tradition of mountaineering builds fighting skills and teamwork. It helps you on the battlefield. It’s very intimate, like you’re living together and enduring hardship.”

With the war over, Lieutenant-Colonel Schjelderup continued to serve with the Canadian Army in a variety of posts, including command of Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. While still serving, Lieutenant-Colonel Schjelderup passed away in 1974 due to illness related to his wartime injuries. He lies today in Sandwick Cemetery in Comox, BC.

The remains of the damaged plaque were retrieved to be shared with the two units and Lieutenant-Colonel Schjelderup’s family.

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  1. Walter White says:

    Well done guys, I joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment in Nanaimo while I was in high school in the late 70s, and went on to serve in 3 PPCLI. Great story.

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