Dr. Peter Digby Lewington ROPER R.I.P.

Written by  //  August 19, 2017  //  Absent Friends  //  No comments

Dr. Peter Digby Lewington Roper, aged 95, of Montreal, QC, died on August 11, 2017 at midnight in Montreal at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Born on August 8, 1922, in London, England, to Louise Victoria Fulker and Paul Digby Roper. Peter was the younger brother of Pauline Mary Lowen (predeceased) and Joan Mary Grose (predeceased).

On his eighteenth birthday, Peter enlisted in the Royal Air Force. He was then sent to Southern Rhodesia for his Commonwealth Air Training. In 1942, he survived, in a life boat, the torpedoing of the SS Orcades off the coast of South Africa. He flew Typhoons for #56 and #198 Squadrons based in Norwich and Kent, respectively. On D+1, June 7, 1944, Peter was shot down in a Typhoon aircraft over Monts-en-Bessin, Normandy, where the family of Clément d’Huart and French locals rescued him before he became a prisoner of war. Peter built strong bonds with the many citizens who risked their lives to ensure his safety and credited his good fortune to them. In 2017, he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur and received it in their memory.

29 May 2016
A last sortie? Montreal D-Day pilot returns to France for Legion of Honour award
Typhoon pilot Dr. Peter Roper, 93, wants honour to go to French villagers who saved his life on June 7, 1944
The trip’s highlight will be the presentation of France’s highest award for military or civilian achievement, the Legion of Honour. All Typhoon pilots who took part in the Battle of Normandy are entitled to the award for the key role they played in the campaign.
Roper will receive his at the chateau where he was taken after being shot down while hunting German tanks near the Allied beachhead on June 7, 1944.

After WWII, Peter graduated in Medicine at the University of Glasgow (1951) and rowed in their colours at Henley. He served in the Korean War in aviation medicine, later studying psychiatry at the Maudsley Institute, London. In 1957, he became a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and moved to Montreal to study and practice. Over the course of his lengthy career, Peter worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Allan Memorial Institute, and the Douglas Hospital in affiliation with McGill University. He was passionate about his medical research with airline pilots and the use of biofeedback. Very focused on his patients, he retired at the age of 93 from private practice.

Always curious, Peter enjoyed life to the fullest through: travel, the pleasures of good food and British beer, and the dynamics of people. His natural joie de vivre was complemented by an enthusiasm for activity that was addictive to others: playing rugby for London Wasps (1939), family cricket matches and paddleball on Ogunquit Beach, ME, rowing at the Medical Games (1992), and his final game of squash at the age of 87, attributed to his youthful temperament and a wicked sense of humour. He was well known for his persistent energy and a fondness for challenging authority.

Peter’s life of good fortune left behind an illustrious career, his Typhoon engine at Tilly-sur-Seulles, France, and a lasting impression on those who met him. His magnetic personality and ability to connect with people created a rich life. Peter was a well-loved man who was fond of engaging his grandchildren in discussions about themselves. We will miss him forever, but have years of stories to remember the twinkle in his bright blue eyes.

Peter is survived by his loving family from three marriages: his wife, Virginie Louise Roper (née Richer); second wife, Beverlea K. Tallant and their children Margaret and Gillian; first wife, Nancy Anderson Roper (predeceased) and their children, Christopher, Mark (Eleanor), Gordon (Willa), and Jane (Gary); stepchildren from Virginie Roper, Caroline Blouin (Benoît) and Thomas Blouin (predeceased); daughter-in-law, Elaine Roper (Ian McKinnon); and seventeen grandchildren. Many heartfelt thanks are extended to the medical team at the Palliative Care Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital, for their unwavering care of Peter in the final days of his life. In lieu of flowers, donations are kindly accepted at either the Cedars Cancer Foundation, www.cedars.ca, or the Montreal Aviation Museum, www.cahc- ccpa.com.

The visitation will be held on Friday, August 25 2-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. at Centre funéraire Côte-Des-Neiges, 4525 Côte-Des-Neiges Rd., Montreal H3V 1E7. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 26 at the Ascension of Our Lord, 375 Kitchener Ave., Westmount, QC H3Z 2G1. Following the funeral, Peter’s family will attend his burial in Pointe Claire. A reception will be held in Montreal at 4:30 p.m.

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