Vilhelm Roger Schjelderup
1921 - 1974
Vilhelm Roger Schjelderup was born on September 16, 1921, in Smithers, British Columbia. His family, who were originally from Kristlansand, Norway, moved to Courtenay on Vancouver Island where Schjelderup met the mountaineer Geoffrey Capes. Capes took Schjelderup under his wing, taking him on mountaineering and ski trips into the local mountains. One of the most significant trips was in July 1936 when Schjelderup, who was only fifteen at the time, joined Geoffrey Capes and Sid Williams on a trip into the Roosters Comb (later changed to the Golden Hinde.) Unbeknownst to them the Roosters Comb had been climbed over twenty years earlier, so they were hoping to make what they thought was the first ascent. Upon arriving at the base camp they met the surveyor Norman Stewart, who informed them that he and Dan Harris had just that day climbed the Roosters Comb, with Stewart believing he had made the first ascent. The next day, July 22, Capes, Williams and Schjelderup made the climb assuming theirs was the second ascent of the mountain.
From September 1939 until August 1941 Schjelderup served with the University of British Columbia contingent Canadian Officers' Training Corps. He was made a 2nd Lieutenant and four months later a Lieutenant.
Schjelderup's father, Vilhelm (Bill) Schjelderup, had immigrated to Canada in 1908 and joined the Canadian Army in 1915, where he saw active service on the western front from 1916 to 1918. Roger had decided to follow in his fathers footsteps. Roger Schjelderup joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment and on D-Day June 6, 1944, landed his troops on Juno Beach and then forged on toward the Chateau de Vaux. By the end of the day his men were dug-in and ready for an expected counter attack. Unfortunately of the forty-five men in Schjelderup's charge, only nineteen survived, including a wounded Schjelderup as his platoon had been the hardest hit. After recovering he went back into action as a Captain. Later that year Schjelderup was in a vicious battle for the Leopold Canal along the Holland-Belgium border. He was wounded again and captured but managed to escape. A farmer then hooked him up with the Dutch Resistance where he recovered. Not long after this the war ended. Schjelderup stayed in the Canadian Army serving with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, reaching the rank of full Colonel. Roger Schjelderup became one of Canada's most decorated officers receiving the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for courage on the Leopold Canal, a Military Cross for his actions on D-Day, a bar to the latter for his behind-the-lines bravery.
Colonel Vilhelm Roger Schjelderup died on September 29, 1974, at the age of fifty-three while stationed in London, England as Canada's senior military liaison officer. Today, located not far from the base of the Golden Hinde is Schjelderup Lake, named by Ruth Masters to honour Roger Schjelderup, who she believes is one of the Comox Valleys most illustrious and colourful war heroes.
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"Valley War Hero Remembered." Comox District Free Press. [Comox, B.C.] (June 1, 1994)
Brown, Dave. "Young Soldier Fought to his Limits." Ottawa Citizen. [Ottawa, Ontario] (May 20, 1995)
Knox, Jack. "Unmarked Hero." Times Colonist. [Victoria, B.C.] (November 5, 2001) p. A2.
Roy, Reginald. Ready
for the Fray. Evergreen Press. Vancouver, BC. 1958.