Interview with Sean E. Livingston, author of Oakville's Flower

Interview with Sean E. Livingston, author of Oakville's Flower

Posted on October 21 by Sean E. Livingston
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Sean E. Livingston is a Naval Reserve officer with the CAF, as well as a teacher and Sea Cadet instructor. For over a decade, he has researched and promoted the history of HMCS Oakville, keeping its memory and story alive. His book Oakville's Flower has just released and it is a must read! Today Sean was able to stop by the blog and tell us more about his book.

 

Tell us about your book.


Sean: Oakville’s Flower: The History of HMCS Oakville tells the story of a Second World War Corvette that was christened in, and named after, the town of Oakville.  Despite its exciting naval career, and the valour displayed by its crew during the war, memory of the ship and its heroic deeds was all but forgotten.  The book reveals the deep connection the people of Oakville had with their namesake warship, a unique bond that stirred deep feelings of patriotism, loyalty, and love.  Oakville’s Flower not only brings to light the story of this ship and the community that supported her, but also reveals how its memory is being kept alive in the community from which it is named.  It is more than just a history of a ship – it is a revelation of how Canadians, both at sea and at home, did their part when the world was in crisis.   Although the book will naturally be a pleasure for fans of naval history, it is a story anyone can read and appreciate.  I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.


How did you come up with the title?


Sean: HMCS Oakville was a Flower-Class Corvette that served in the Second World War.  As it was named after the town of Oakville – the community was deeply connected and involved with the ship, going as far as adopting the ship and its crew – it felt appropriate to name the book Oakville’s Flower: The History of HMCS Oakville, as the ship was the town of Oakville’s “flower” class corvette.


What inspired you to write your first book?


Sean: When I first started researching HMCS Oakville I never imagined that I would one day write a book on the ship.  Although I grew up in Oakville, I (like the majority of residents) had no idea that there was a ship named after our town.  I first encountered the ship while in university.  I was doing research for a course paper on a Canadian public spectacle when local naval historian Edward (Ed) Stewart suggested I write my essay on the christening of HMCS Oakville, which I was surprised to learn had happened in the town of Oakville.  The local historical society had original photos from the event, but they were without captions or explanation.  After some thorough digging and research, I was stunned to discover just how big a spectacle the christening of HMCS Oakville was.  My paper was able to shed light on the day’s events.  It was added to the town of Oakville’s library archive and became the basis for a museum exhibit.  Interested, I continued researching the ship when Ed challenged me to write a book on HMCS Oakville, warning me that if I didn’t, the history of the ship and the sailors who served aboard her would likely be forgotten.  Well, as the Legion motto states:  Lest we forget.  I accepted his challenge and I’m glad that I did – writing the book has been a joy and I’m very pleased that Canadians will be able to enjoy the story of HMCS Oakville.  It certainly is unique and very interesting – a proud part of our nation’s naval heritage.


What are you reading right now?


Sean: I usually have several books on the go.  Presently I’m enjoying James Goodwin’s Our Gallant Doctor and William Sclater’s Haida: A Story of the Hard Fighting Tribal Class Destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy on the Murmansk Concoy, the English Channel, and the Bay of Biscay.  Next on my list is the impressive tome on the Royal Canadian Navy by William Johnston, William G.P. Rawling, Richard H. Gimblett and John MacFarlane: The Seabound Coast: The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1867–1939, Volume I.


What is your new project?


Sean: I have several ideas brewing.  Presently, I’m looking at bringing to light the war experience of a Canadian Second World War veteran who was wounded at the Battle of Ortona… that’s all I’m going to say for now :)

Sean E. Livingston

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Sean E. Livingston photo

Sean E. Livingston

Sean E. Livingston is a Naval Reserve officer with the CAF, as well as a teacher and Sea Cadet instructor. For over a decade, he has researched and promoted the history of HMCS Oakville, keeping its memory and story alive. He lives in Burlington, Ontario.