FOR three days in Clydebank during the Second World War, there was a one-woman drive to help the campaign.

Doris Cardno, nee Dobbie, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, was responsible for a top-secret translation of German gun plans smuggled into the town. 

Daughter Hilda Robertson said her mum, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday in Elgin, Moray, had been told by her dad to do something for the war effort.

Doris took up the challenge and went to work for the Royal Ordnance Factory in Clydebank as a comptometer (calculator) operator, where she was given the plans for Bofors guns, smuggled from Germany through Switzerland into the town.

“Her boss asked her into the office,” Hilda told the Post , “and said, ‘What I’m about to tell you is confidential – not to be told to work mates or your family’,” said Hilda.

“She did German in school but she said, ‘I would not know all the technical jargon’. 

“She was given five days to translate the plans and had two rows of books from the Mitchell Library. She translated those plans in three days. 

“It just shows you what a Dad’s Army operation it was – they were depending on this 22-year-old girl in Clydebank.”

Doris, who now lives in Elgin, was born on January 7, 1918 and grew up at 2 Albert Road with her parents Margaret and Thomas and four siblings while attending Boquhanran School.

She met her husband Douglas while working at the ordnance factory – and they got engaged on the first night of the Clydebank Blitz, under her parent’s stairs.

Hilda said Douglas, from Hopeman in Moray, had been given a tray of rings to pick one out for her, and when he returned it after the bombing, the jeweller said: “I never thought I would see you alive again.”

And Hilda said there was a lucky escape indeed for the family, with two incendiary bombs landing in the nearby gully but not exploding and the school across the road getting flattened.

She said: “There’s so many stories where you think, ‘I just shouldn’t be here’.”

Hilda now has eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, spread across the world.

But Hilda added: “Our admiration and affinity for Clydebank and its brave, hardworking people, remains close to my heart to this day and I feel proud to be the daughter of a Bankie.”