THEN AND NOW: A PPCLI leader among legions

Roy Buchanan
Roy Buchanan in 2020. (SONJA DRINKWATER / Special to the News)Roy Buchanan in 2020. (SONJA DRINKWATER / Special to the News)
Roy in Cyprus 1988. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)Roy in Cyprus 1988. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The number of Port Alberni’s veterans of the First and Second World Wars, and campaigns such as the Korean or Vietnam wars, are dwindling. When we see these veterans in uniform, be they members who saw battle, supported their brethren or entered areas of conflict on peacekeeping missions, we see the way they are today: navy blue blazers, chests full of medals, faces lined with character.

Last year, freelance writer and photographer Sonja Drinkwater approached eight veterans of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 293 and asked them to share a photo from when they served with their respective military branch, as well as a description of their role. She then took a photograph of the veterans as they are now.

The project was so popular that she has approached six more veterans this year. They are all active members of the Legion. If you know of a Port Alberni veteran who deserves to be featured, reach out to us at


Roy Buchanan is originally from Galt, Ont. He enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1973 in Hamilton, Ont. After completing Basic Training in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, (PPCLI) in Calgary where he completed his training as an infantryman.

He served for 12 years in Calgary with the 1st Battalion PPCLI, and eight years with the 3rd Battalion PPCLI in Victoria. He completed Two United Nations (UN) tours in Cyprus, served in Norway twice with NATO, and saw service in Australia, the Canadian Arctic, the U.S. and all across Canada.

He trained in several specialties as an infantryman and retired as a warrant officer.

In 1993 Buchanan and his wife Anne moved to Port Alberni because housing was affordable and the fishing was good.

He transferred his Legion membership from the Prince Edward Branch in Langford after moving to Port Alberni. He is currently the Sergeant-at-Arms for Royal Canadian Legion Branch 293 in Port Alberni.

Port AlberniRemembrance Day