Roy served our country for just over three years, joining the forces in May 1942 and being discharged in October 1945. He belonged to the first Canadian Infantry Division of the Seaforth Regiment. At age 21, Private Tennant fought on the front lines with his fellow compatriots throughout the Italian campaign in Sicily and Italy from 1943 to 1945. After the Italian campaign, the Seaforths moved to North-West Europe in March 1945 where Private Tennant along with the regiment finished the last few months of the war in Holland. Roy fought in many different areas during those three long years, the names of which he has purposely forgotten.
When asked if he ever regretted joining the military while being at the front, he responded, “Yes”. “I wanted to get away”. “I had to protect myself.” “It made me think what I was doing there”.
After a moment of silence Mr. Tennant voiced, “I don’t not know why I was never wounded while at the front lines”.
I asked if he could have been promoted during war time. He responded that he could have moved up in rank but refused. “I did not want to be in the position to put my friends in danger”.
Like many soldiers, Mr. Tennant fell in love and was married overseas. The couple brought together through war, were married for 52 years; having five children and many grandchildren.
After facing the atrocities of war first hand, he stated, “I would not want my grandkids to ever go through war”. “People don’t know what war is unless they have gone through it.” “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what human beings do to other human beings”, says Roy. “In the end, we all bleed the same.” “It is a sad, sad story”, he concludes.
“I try not to think of the past, but lots of time, I can’t. At one point I just have to let it go”, says Tennant.
For his involvement in the war, he received recognition via the following medals: the 1939-45 Star, the Italy Star, the France Germany Star and the Defence Medal; all campaign medals awarded for service in the Second World War. The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with the silver clasp depicting a maple leaf emblem was granted to persons who voluntarily served Active Service and honourably completed 18 months total voluntary service from September 3, 1939 to March 1, 1947. The War Medal 1939-45 was awarded to full-time personnel of the armed forces for serving for 28 days between September 3, 1939 and September 2, 1945.
I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind. -John Diefenbaker
Thank you Mr. Roy Tennant for your bravery and commitment that allows us the freedom we enjoy today.