Local World War II heroine subject of lunchtime talk

10 February 2014

A free talk about local World War II heroine Marion Patterson will be held at 12.30pm on Wednesday 12 February, at Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill.

Marion Patterson was born in Aberdeen in 1911 but moved to Canada as a small child with her parents Mr & Mrs Chalmers.

In Canada Marion married Guthrie Patterson, a Dundonian, who enlisted in the RAF shortly before the outbreak of WWII. It was then Marion returned to Aberdeen to be closer to her husband during his war service. Once here she opened a hair salon at the corner of Gallowgate and Upperkirkgate.

Marion also served as a senior fireguard for the Civil Defence and was the first person in that category to be awarded the George Medal. She won the medal for her courage and initiative during a Luftwaffe bombing raid on 7th August on South Market Street.

Marion with no concern for her own safety entered a bombed building which was on the point of collapse and crawled through a gap in the wreckage to rescue a trapped RN serviceman. She managed to drag him to safety seconds before the building crumpled. King George VI presented Marion with her George Medal at Buckingham Palace in February 1943.

In 1944 Marion returned to Canada but visited Aberdeen on several occasions, the last time was in 1985.

Stewart Thain, a former assistant keeper in charge of coins, medals and banknotes, at Aberdeen City Council, who will give the talk said: "Marion Patterson was born in Aberdeen but because she spent most of her life in Canada her act of heroism is perhaps not so well remembered here as it ought to be.

"During the World War II bombing of South Market Street Marion risked her own life to save others and as a result she was rightly honoured with the George Medal."

Advance booking is required by telephoning Aberdeen Maritime Museum [although the talk is being held in Aberdeen Art Gallery] on (01224) 337714.