Perhaps not many may know, but Oakville’s naval history is decorated with events that have helped shaped the world we have today. The HMCS Oakville, the Second World War flower-class corvette warship that was named after the town of Oakville, distinguished itself in a naval battle in the Atlantic, an event that played a significant role in history.
The HMCS Oakville was en route to Aruba sometime in late August 1942 when it was diverted off-course to help reinforce a convoy that was being attacked by the U94, a German U-boat. HMCS Oakville defeated the seasoned U-boat that sunk 3 Allied ships. This resulted in the capture of the German boat’s crew which earned HMCS Oakville sailors 6 citations and 4 medals, plus a whole town’s adoration for years to come.
Honoring the Memory of the HMCS Oakville
Earlier this month, senior members of the Royal Canadian Army (RCN), cadets, politicians, veterans, and residents all gathered together near the bank of the Sixteen Mile Creek, at the area of tannery Park overlooking Lake Ontario to pay tribute to the HMCS Oakville by unveiling a commemorative plaque honoring it.
RCN Representative and Oakville resident Glenn Woolfrey spoke at the event after the parade and songs rendered by the Lorne Scots Pipes & Drums. He shared that HMCS Oakville enjoyed the largest christening given to any RCN ship during the World War II as the town of Oakville cheered on the ship when it made its first appearance all those decades ago.
It was indeed a glorious event in which 12 school children representing Oakville’s 12 districts at the time, the chief of naval staff, and the minister of defence for naval affairs rode the HMCS Oakville amidst cheers from the public. The event is still remembered as one of the town’s fondest memories, as shared by Woolfrey.
Tannery Park had the honor to host the plaque, a symbol of Canadian patriotism and the heroism of the crew of HMCS Oakville. The plaque was unveiled by two cadets, and it bears the inscription written by Lt. (Navy) Sean E. Livingston C.D. (Canadian Forces Decoration), of the Naval Reserve and Commanding Officer of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps (RSCCC) 178 Oakville
Livingston is also the author behind Oakville's Flower: The History of HMCS Oakville. He got inspired 15 years ago to uncover the full history of the HMCS Oakville after hearing about it while in university. At the event, he told attendees that he’s proud that Oakville’s namesake ship finally got the recognition it deserved. The audience, composed of both Milton and Oakville sea cadets, Burl-Oak Naval Veterans, Oakville army cadets, and the Town of Oakville Water-Air Rescue Force couldn’t agree more.
Guests also heard from Ontario Labour Minister and Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, Oakville MP John Oliver, Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff’s representative, and Mayor Rob Burton.