From travelling on the Canadian Navy’s oldest commissioned ship to meeting Canada’s prime minister, it’s been a summer to remember for Red Deer’s Josh Partridge.
Before entering his fourth and final year at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. to become a naval officer, the 21-year-old Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School graduate is spending his summer sailing the HMCS Oriole.
“It’s been incredible to be completely honest,” he said. “It’s been great to see Atlantic Canada in a very different way than a lot of people get to.”
On top of being the oldest commissioned ship, the HMCS Oriole is the only official sailing vessel in the navy. During his journey on the ship there have been a number of notable events, he said.
One of those events was meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in mid-July.
“That was so interesting … He came aboard, shook our hands and we gave him the history of the ship,” he said.
The ship is making the trip across Canada in celebration of the country’s 150th anniversary. Partridge joined the voyage in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and will leave the ship at the end of August to go back to school.
For as long as Partridge can remember, he has always wanted to serve, he said.
“Ever since I was little it’s always been a goal of mine to serve my country and to go out there and make something of myself. I’m a third-generation [Partridge] serving, so it’s a family business essentially,” he said.
In a few years, Partridge hopes to have the opportunity to command troops, he added.
Josh Partridge’s father Scott Partridge, who recently retired after serving in the army for 25 years, said his son is a great fit for the navy.
“He has a strong sense of service,” Scott Partridge said. “He knows how much I enjoyed it even though I wasn’t home a lot. That’s part of the service though, I guess.”
Scott Partridge’s father served 32 years in the navy.
Seeing a photo of his son shaking the prime minister’s hand made Red Deer’s Scott Partridge proud, he said.
“I was really glad he got that opportunity,” Scott Partridge said. “I was kind of choked up when I saw how proud he was … Not all of us in uniform get to shake the prime minister’s hand.”