These interviews were done on November 11, 2019, at Remembrance Day ceremonies in Halifax, Ottawa and Winnipeg.
Alvin John Auton, 96
Served overseas with the Royal Canadian Navy on the HMCS Chicoutimi and Woodstock, in convoys in the North Atlantic and off North Africa, and was actively engaged in the Battle of Normandy. His involvement in the war lasted 1940-45.
I was just a young boy off a farm in Ontario; I didn’t know what it was to be afraid. It was a big change to see the world. A lot of young people became adults then. We had a lot of young men who were strong and gave their lives for their country. And a lot of young men came back and served their country ever since.
I was on HMCS Woodstock, a Flower class corvette in North Africa and the North Atlantic. At the end, we were assigned to the Americans because they didn’t have enough ships to support the troops.
D-Day in Normandy: there were so many aircraft in the sky, you couldn’t see it. You couldn’t see anything, just the bellies of the aircraft. The ships were all bow up right on the shore. We were firing at [the Germans’] gun emplacements lined up all along the shore. We just did what we had to do.
It’s an honour to be here, to still be alive. It’s something special to see this many people come out on Remembrance Day, especially all of the young people down here with their poppies. The war made Canada really important. —as told to Kim Hart Macneill
Alvin John Auton died in Halifax on March 31, 2020.