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Project Title: Glasgow West War Story

Exhibition: Evacuation Overseas: Doris Gordon's story

With the threat of war imminent the British government made preparations for the evacuation of children from cities and built up areas likely to be the target of German air attacks to safer areas in the countryside. However, with the surrender of France to Germany in June 1940, Britain feared an invasion by the Germans. Plans to evacuate children overseas were made. The Children Overseas Reception Board (CORB) was established to co-ordinate the evacuation. Evacuation overseas was voluntary and parents could register their children aged between five and sixteen for the scheme. Children were sent to live with families in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, where they would remain until after the war had ended whilst their parents stayed at home in Britain. Not only did evacuation overseas mean that children were separated from their families, they also faced long voyages and the risk of being attacked by German submarines. On the 17th September 1940 the ship SS City of Benares was sunk by a submarine U-48 on its way to Canada. Of those onboard 77 children died. The news devastated those back in Britain and the overseas evacuation scheme was stopped shortly afterwards. This exhibition tells the story of Doris Aitchson Gordon who was evacuated to Canada in 1940 to live with her aunt and uncle in Oshawa.

Assets in this exhibition:

Evacuation labels

Exhibition Image One

Description

Evacuation labels were issued to all children before travel. Labels with the child's name and address or school were worn aound the neck, pinned or sewn into clothes, and attached to luggage. Due to the large numbers of children being evacuated at any one time these labels allowed easy identification of each child making sure that they were in the correct group and did not get lost.

Transcript

The two tickets shown are from my luggage. I wore the no. on the shoe lace around my neck. The tape with the green I wore on my arm to tell my group.

Source

Date: 1940
Contributor: Doris Gordon


Doris Gordon

Exhibition Image One

Description

Doris Gordon wearing her Canadian school uniform.

Source

Date: 1940s
Location: Canada
Original Source: Doris Gordon private collection


Doris Gordon's scrap book: place markers and parachutes

Exhibition Image One

Description

Whilst Doris stayed in Canada she kept a scrap book to record her life and events during the war. These are some examples of the things she collected. The left hand page shows place markers given to Doris at parties in Canada. The right hand page shows part of a German soldier's parachute and cord. The parachute came down near Glasgow and this piece was sent over to Doris in Canada by her best friend in Glasgow, Bertha Kennoway.

Source

Date: 1940s
Contributor: Doris Gordon


Pitman Shorthand Certificates

Exhibition Image One

Description

Whilst in Canada Doris passed several shorthand and typing exams. These certificatess show her achievements. The bottom certificate shows that Doris could write in shorthand two letters dictated at 100 minutes per minute and transcribe the two letters on a typewriter within 25 minutes. When Doris returned to Scotland after the war, these qualifications helped her obtain employment in an office.


Diploma of Merit

Exhibition Image One

Description

This Diploma of Merit was awarded to Doris by the Sunday School for her achievements during the year of 1942.

Transcript

This certifies that Doris Aitchison has made a perfect record according to the Standard of our School during the entire year ending Sept 1942 and is entitled to this Diploma of Merit and to enrollment upon a Roll of Honor.

Source

Date: 1942
Contributor: Sunday School


Intermediate Certificate

Exhibition Image One

Description

Doris attended Oshawa Colligiate and Vocational Institute whilst living in Canada. This Intermediate Cerificate was awarded to Doris on completing courses in Grades 9 and 10 at the school.

Transcript

My intermediate certificate. When I received it, it was in a roll and around it were the school colours which are pinned here.

Source

Date: 1943
Contributor: Oshawa Colligiate and Vocational Institute


National Selective Service Labour Exit Permit

Exhibition Image One

Description

The National Selective Service was responsible for administering the duties of men and women in Canada during the war including the compulsory conscription of men into the army. It was collected information on the Canadian population in order to decide how best to direct the services of the countries men and women in the war effort so that everyone played their part. This is Doris Gordon's National Selective Service Labour Exit Permit giving authorisation for her to leave Canada in 1945.

Source

Date: 1945
Contributor: Government of Canada