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Wings Over Wick
|David Stirling, Ayrshire
I returned to Scotland from the Mediterranean having served on the HMS Glorious in the Fleet Air Arm. That was June 1939. I went to Abbotsinch to join 269 squadron which moved to Montrose temporarily and then to Wick. This would be the end of September or beginning of October 1939. 269 squadron were equipped with Avro Ansons and began to re-equip with Lockheed Hudsons. The purpose was anti-submarine and convoy patrols.
I was a corporal wireless and electrical mechanic servicing the aircraft. The aircraft were serviced in Bessaneau Hangers which were wooden structures covered in heavy canvas and were relics from the First World War. The weather was cold and at one time we were snowed in. With the construction work going on the lorries going in and out turned the entrance into a quagmire. When we went out at night we wore gum boots (wellies) to go through the mud into the school which acted as a temporary guard room when we could change into our posh shoes. We used to hold dances for the airmen in a cinema at that time called the Breadalbane.
When I first arrived to join 269 squadron the guard at the gate told me to report to squadron office and, as I thought at the time, to see the Menace. We used to give nick names to our superiors and of course all our friends for instance all Millers were Dusty, Smiths were Smudge, and Warrant Officers, at least the strict ones were the Menaces. At the office only one person was there with his back to me. I called out "Where can I see the Menace". The body slowly turned around and I the saw the warrant officer's badges on his uniform sleeves. He looked me up and down, my neck was red, my cheeks were red. In a quiet voice he said "My name is Meness - M E N E S S" he spelt out. But he was OK. I didn't get reduced to the ranks. That is just a personal story to give you smile.
I left 269 squadron for promotion and went to Stranraer to a Flying Boat Squadron No 240 in June 1940.