Korea veteran remembered as ‘a great man’

Article / February 16, 2021 / Project number: 21-0002

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By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — Chief Warrant Officer/Master Gunner (Retired) Errol Eric Jr. Patrick’s original plan was to spend three years with the Canadian Army (CA) before enrolling in university.

He would instead serve 35 years, during which he would see combat in Korea, win the respect of those who served with him, and blaze a trail for other black Canadians to follow. CWO (Ret) Patrick, who sadly passed in Ottawa on January 5, 2021 at age 90, was born in Montreal but raised in Trinidad by his paternal grandfather. He relocated to Vancouver as a teen before joining the CA at age 20.

He would serve in Korea as a member of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

In an interview with Veterans Affairs Canada about his service, CWO (Ret) Patrick said his father did not support the decision to join. 

“In the early days blacks weren’t supposed to join the military; you know, it was a white man’s war kind of stuff. So he was a little against me joining the Army. That’s one thing I had to prove to him, that I could join, that I could do well for myself.”

He recalled his experience of training for Korea, noting that he experienced little in the way of discrimination.

“Since I was the only black at that time in that particular troop, they kind of took me under their wings. A lot of them were from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in those days and we got along really good. I was well looked after.”

“It was hard work, but it was fun,” he added. 

CWO (Ret) Patrick’s unit saw action around Hill 355, a strategically important piece of high ground near Seoul where conditions were difficult.

“The equipment that we had to work with was World War Two equipment which was, you know, not that good,” he recalled. “The country where we were was very hilly, lots of rain, very cold at night in the wintertime, very rugged.”

An online obituary for CWO (Ret) Patrick includes comments such as “Chief Patrick was one of the finest persons I ever met. It was an honour to serve with him,” and “A great man who will be missed by many.”

CWO (Ret) Patrick was laid to rest at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, which is home to Canada’s National Military Cemetery. He is predeceased by his wife Bunny (nee Collins) and leaves behind three children and six grandchildren.

 
##MCECOPY##Ottawa, Ontario — Chief Warrant Officer/Master Gunner (Retired) Errol Eric Jr. Patrick’s original plan was to spend three years with the Canadian Army (CA) before enrolling in university.
##MCECOPY##Ottawa, Ontario — Chief Warrant Officer/Master Gunner (Retired) Errol Eric Jr. Patrick’s original plan was to spend three years with the Canadian Army (CA) before enrolling in university.
##MCECOPY##Chief Warrant Officer
##MCECOPY##(Retired)
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