Veteran Stories:
Dorothy Gordon

Air Force

  • Dorothy Gordon served with the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division, 1943.

    Dorothy Gordon
  • Dorothy Gordon's wireless operator trade badge. When Ms. Gordon and her fellow wireless operators finished their training course, they posed for the graduation photo with their badges facing the camera because they were so proud.

    Dorothy Gordon
  • RCAF WDs in civies at the barracks in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    Dorothy Gordon
  • Ontario graduates of the Wireless Operators course showed their trade badges for this photo. Dorothy Gordon is in the middle row, second from left.

    Dorothy Gordon
  • Shorts used during the RCAF WDs physical education classes.

    Dorothy Gordon
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"Some of it in Morse code, and some of it by radio telephones, and knowing that he was on one of those ships made it quite an event for me."

Transcript

My name is Dorothy Gordon, and I joined the RCAF Women's Division in 1943, on my eighteenth birthday, and went away to Rockcliffe for basic training on New Year's Eve. They weren't very happy. The officer who had to welcome us into the barracks and give us our bunks, etc., was not very happy being drawn away from a New Year's Eve party, so she made short shrift of telling us where to go and what to do, and giving us our blankets and sheets and telling us to make our beds and get into them. So that was my introduction to the Air Force service. I was in basic training at Rockcliffe in Ottawa. After that time in Rockcliffe, I had to wait a while there to go on course. When I had joined up, I had said that I didn't care what I did. General duties would be fine, but they gave us a bunch of tests and decided that I should be a wireless operator. Now, that was a six month course, so I had to wait for when that would happen, so I waited two weeks and then went to Montreal to No.1 Wireless School, and then worked very hard for six months in order to get my 'sparks', which was our trade badge. But the six months at Montreal was hard work. From there I went to Moncton, and Moncton was sort of a holding place for everybody before they went on overseas, or to what their permanent posting was going to be. I know it was my first exposure to French Canadians, and I guess I came from a bigoted family because I always thought that French Canadians were a lot different than us, and really not as nice as English Canadians. But the ones in Moncton, one Corporal in particular, were just great. Very kind to us. From there, I was posted to Eastern Air Command headquarters in Halifax. We lived in ... Barracks, which was about a mile up South Street, and at night when we worked the night shift, there was a bus that took us back to barracks, and we were not supposed to walk back to barracks, because Halifax was supposed to be a very dangerous place. But it really wasn't – I loved my time in Halifax. Actually, I met my husband there. He was in the Navy there, and he served on HMCS Haida. I guess the most exciting thing that happened to me during my Air Force time was one night when a convoy was setting out from Halifax, and I knew that Roy was going to be in that convoy, and listening to all that was going on. Some of it in Morse code, and some of it by radio telephones, and knowing that he was on one of those ships made it quite an event for me.
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