The women who served in war time

Vivian Winnifred Sees

Vivian was born in Port Elgin in 1923 and was one of the three daughters and two sons of Fred and Ruby Sees.

Vivian (L) and sister Thelma

When her sister Thelma enlisted in the RCAF in 1942, Vivian waited a few months after her 19th Birthday and then travelled to London where she enlisted on April 26, 1943. She went to Rockcliffe Airbase near Ottawa for basic training and a Filter Centre Operations course before being assigned to the West Coast of Canada.

There were 11 radar stations along Canada’s west coast with a control centre in Victoria. Vivian spent most of her time in Victoria except for a stint in Prince Rupert. The Victoria barracks housed only women and were behind the mansion of a wealthy family that had provided their property to the government, to house Radar Central Control Command station staff.

The 11 coastal stations would monitor all air traffic and report it to the central location who would then plot the aircraft on a large tabletop map, where their movements could be followed. The work was of a highly secretive nature under the Official Secrets Act that was not cancelled until 1991, but many still maintain the secrets they were required to keep.

When the war ended in 1945, Vivian was discharged in Vancouver and returned home to Port Elgin. Soon after that, she moved to London where she attended Military Business College and there she took a full business course. She spent most of her working years in the transportation industry.

In 1949, she married Ernest Keith Wotton and they had one daughter, Rexanne. Ernest passed away in 1962.

  Vivian – a proud member of the              Royal Canadian Legion

Today, Vivian is in her 97th year and, still with a twinkle in her eye, she remembers vividly the days she served in the military.

She continues to live in her London family home.