A veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy has found an interesting new hobby in retirement: Yvon Lehoux is replicating seven of the ships he served on.
There are not kits to buy for these models. Lehoux has to craft every little piece from scratch to recreate his vessels, with every tiny detail offering the veteran a trip through time.
“I used to sit here after a meal at night just get the breeze from the ocean,” said Lehoux pointing to a small box on the back of one of the ships.
Lehoux was just 19 when he joined the Royal Canadian Navy, serving on destroyers that were part of a NATO patrol.
“We were chasing Russian submarines,” he told Global’s This is BC.
But three decades of service took its toll on his mental health, and Lehoux still struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I had nightmares about the Navy three or four times a week,” he said. “I had so many things I had to hide inside. These are all things that affect you long-term, and you don’t realize it.”
The work on the models has been part of his therapy, and has delivered several powerful results.
“A sense of achievement. Confidence. And a sense of purpose,” Lehoux explained.
He plans to build all seven ships he served on during his 30-year career, matching the designs from official blueprints.
Lehoux has taken over the dining room table as he builds these models. Next up for discussion is where to set up the display.
“I was debating with my wife, where are we going to put all these ships when we’re done? I said well we’re just going to have to turn our house into a museum but I don’t think this is going to fly,” he said with a laugh.
There’s not a lot of time to worry about that right now, because he’s hard at work on what he thinks will be his masterpiece: A recreation of HMCS Algonquin.
“Six-hundred-and-fifty hours to build this one,” Lehoux said.
“But it’s all worth it.”
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