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Cold War Radar

Women get involved

Filter Room, St. Johns Newfoundland

Women in the filter room, St. Johns Newfoundland

Britain had a lot of success employing women in the military endeavors during the Second World War, including with radar.  During the Battle of Britain, women wer involved in fighter control so that men could be sent to the front lines to fight.

Once they became involved, women were shown to excel in the field.  Their job was an important one as they provided all the data for the officers to make decisions.

They tried to get the Royal Canadian Air Force to encourage women as well.  Though it was not accepted quickly, they needed the manpower and a government order-in-council officially allowed their acceptance in the forces in July 1941.

Soon however, women proved their importance in the forces and they were allowed into more trades, including clerk operational (what would later become air defence technician). 

AW1 Coleman-Training

AW1 Coleman in training

Radar was becoming more important and women were trained in the hundreds in filter operations.  However, when the War ended their division was shut down

The Cold War involved many personnel and resources on all sides and women again became important.  With Canada’s involvement only continuing to grow in NATO following the Korean War, women were included more and more in the military and specifically air defence. 

Most girls involved in telecommunication were Fighter Control Operators, but they were also found in other trades.

The 1950s saw the first class of all female fighter control operators.  Women were given their own barracks of 90 women per room, but in study they were expected to be equal with men.  Competition was strong in this field and like the men, they had to work hard to succeed.