Francis Roy Thomas. But I’m normally called Roy. I joined the Canadian Military in 1962. And I retired in 1998. And during that period of time I served in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps in three different armoured regiments - the Fort Gary Horse, the Lord Strathcona’s Horse and the 8th Canadian Hussars. Fortunately, or not so fortunately, during this same period I served in seven different United Nations missions.
My first mission was with a reconnaissance troop in Cyprus. Then, almost ten years later, in 1977 I served first on the Golan Heights, with UNDOF and then with United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization based in Jerusalem. And we did a lot of work in South Lebanon and that is where I was high-jacked. Then, twelve years later in 1989, at very short notice, I was deployed to Afghanistan to serve as again as a Military Observer.
From Afghanistan I returned to Canada, only to find myself in Macedonia in 1993. From Macedonia, I went to Sarajevo, Bosnia. And in 1993 it was a very exciting place to be. I was nine months in Sarajevo as the Senior Military Observer. My final United Nations tour was in Haiti where, in fact, the mission underwent a major change while I was there. The American Commander was replaced by a Canadian and our force shrank from 6,000 soldiers to 1,800. (more…)