Family of Sunderland girl killed in torpedo attack thankful for return of photo album

Maureen Dixon.
Maureen Dixon.
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The family of a schoolgirl who died when the ship she was being evacuated on was torpedoed are to have a photo album of her images returned to them.

Maureen Dixon, from Sunderland, was 10 when she boarded the SS City of Benares on September 13, 1940.

Mathew Gleghorn, head of museum for Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade, holding the Dixon family photograph album that will soon be reunited with family members.

Mathew Gleghorn, head of museum for Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade, holding the Dixon family photograph album that will soon be reunited with family members.

She was one of 89 child evacuees who were to be taken to Canada for the duration of the war.

Maureen was one of the 77 of those evacuee children who died when the ship was torpedoed mid Atlantic – nine were from Sunderland.

Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade holds a memorial plaque for the Wearside youngsters and has been given a number of items and photographs over the years to add to its display of information on the disaster.

Many years ago a photograph album, containing pictures of Maureen and her family, was donated to the brigade and it has been on display in the Watch House at Roker.

While it is lovely for us to have the photographs of Maureen there are a number of pictures that really should be with family members.

Katy Gill

Katy Gill, a member of the group, said: “While it is lovely for us to have the photographs of Maureen, there are a number of pictures that really should be with family members.

“This year is the 75th anniversary of the disaster and the brigade decided to try to reunite the album with the Dixon family.

“We knew that Maureen had two brothers and I set about to trace their descendants.

“I was able to contact a daughter of one of the brothers, and we will be returning the album to the family soon.”

SS City of Benares, torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic,. September 1940, while carrying child evacuees.

SS City of Benares, torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic,. September 1940, while carrying child evacuees.

Before that it will form part of the display on the City of Benares disaster at the weekend, which will run on Saturday from 1pm to 4pm, on Sunday from noon until 4pm.

It will be hosted at the Brigade Watch House, Pier View, Roker.

There will also be a memorial service on Saturday at 11am at All Saints Church, Fulwell Road, where all the lives lost in this disaster will be remembered.