VIVIEN CATHERINE MARGARET CRINGLE (Nee – CREESE)
Vivien was born in Oxford in 1949. Her father worked in East Africa and as Vivien grew-up, she could speak Swahili before she could speak English. As her mother and father moved from place to place 7 times in all Vivien went to a Convent Boarding School at ELDORET Kenya called ‘Loreto Convent’, it is still there today.
The family returned to Wales in 1960 where Vivien continued her education at Cathays High School for Girls in Cardiff. Her father wanted Vivien to go to Aberystwyth University but when she visited the University, decided against it, and told her parents she was going to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service – WRNS. This she did, joining up in January 1969 doing her training at HMS DAUNTLESS. Vivien returned there a couple of years later as a DO.
Vivien qualified as a Meteorologist, a Met Wren as they were called, and served at 4 Royal Naval Air Stations, BRAWDY, YEOVILTON, CULDROSE and LOSSIEMOUTH. Vivien was exceptional, and was quickly spotted and selected for a Commission.
In early 1971 she attended the Officer Training Programme at Greenwich,
‘Passing Out’ as a Third Officer 24th June 1971. She was posted to the submarine base at FASLANE, Scotland. Whilst there, she discovered a flair for ‘theatre and ‘pantomime’ which she thoroughly enjoyed, playing many roles.
In 1972 Vivien was again at HMS DAUNTLESS, but this time as a Divisional Officer in charge of numerous classes, training newly enrolled Wrens.
December 1973 through to March 1974 whilst completing a Photographic Interpretation (PI) Course, Vivien discovered her true forte in life, it was in the world of ‘Intelligence’ which was to be her employer for the next 42 years in one form or another.
Late in 1974 Vivien joined the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC). Vivien was promoted to Second Officer, staying there until she was selected in 1976 for involvement in a Naval Exchange Programme with the United States Navy. So in 1977 Vivien moved to Washington DC. Working at the Naval Intelligence Security Centre (NISC) for the next 2 ½ years.
The Americans ‘loved her’, and Vivien produced some outstanding and exceptional work for them. So much so, they awarded her The American Meritorious Service Medal. She also took flying lessons, and qualified as a light aircraft pilot’.
1981 saw her back at JARIC and promoted on 1st October 1981 to First Officer. Vivien remained there until late 1987, in 1988 she retired from the WRNS.
Vivien worked for the BBC and British Aerospace in Stevenage for a short time.
She then joined the Civil Service and found herself once again working in the‘Intelligence world’ this time at Joint Headquarters, Northwood. Having successfully completed various courses in the USA, and attending the US Army War College. It was at Northwood, that Vivien met David, a Lieutenant Commander who would later become her husband, they married in 1999.
Vivien’s next move was in 2000 when she moved to the Joint Doctrine Concepts Centre (JDCC) at Shrivenham. Successfully publishing a number of articles, and travelling to India and Ceylon.
Several years later Vivien worked in the Ministry of Defence, London, which involved briefing Chiefs of Staff and Admirals. Her role In which she became expert was Maritime Systems. With encyclopaedic knowledge, and years of experience she became the Ministry of Defence ‘expert’ in that field. So much so, that the US Naval Intelligence Organizations, used to ask her advice and for assistance.
Vivien eventually retired as a Senior Civil Servant (Commander) on 5th August 2016, aged 67. Both Vivien and David were looking forward to a long and happy retirement. It was not to be, regrettably, dementia ‘set in’ early 2017. It was rapid and savage. Vivien died peacefully in her sleep in the early morning hours of 15th January 2022. Vivien was buried on 3rd February 2022 in a little village church yard called Llangeitho, near Lampeter. It was where she had spent most of her adult life prior to marriage.
Although born in England, Vivien had adopted Wales as her home, and loved the place and the people. When asked, ‘where do you come from’, Vivien would always answer proudly – Wales.
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