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Wings Over Wick
W H Newton, Wickford, Essex
Many things happened during that time and we all had the experience of the wilds of that part of the country. First of all, we as a new squadron, having been one of the first to be formed at Filey in Yorkshire, were posted to Wick. When we arrived at the station in Wick, we were assembled outside and then marched through the town with our rifles at the 'slope'. It was a very awesome experience for us.
Our duties were to defend the aerodrome and upon arrival we took over from the RAF ground gunners, who were then sent to be formed into RAF Regiment Squadrons. Upon our taking over, we had to be trained to use, what were called parachuting cables. This was a heavy wire cable, which was fired up into the air, by a small rocket, which took the parachute up quite some height. The idea was to stop enemy aircraft coming in low to attack the airfield.
Altogether we stayed at Wick until the activity seemed to ease off and we then went south for training to go to the Continent. I personally was out at a place called Staxigoe and I know we had great difficulty in understanding the folk there.
We took over from the Army and went up to Noss Head. We had some very nice experiences there, when the local men were lowered over the side of the cliffs to collect eggs etc, that made us feel somewhat nervous just watching them. We also had a very good football team and won everything up there, beating the other units and also the local team on their own pitch in the town. We also played the Scottish touring team, led by a leading Scottish International named Tommy Walker, I believe he played for Hearts. We had some great games. One thing I particularly remember was that one week we would play a Cup Final and the end of the league, then the very next week we would start off on another league or cup match.
There were some 280 men in our squadron formed into 5 flights, A, B, C, D and a Headquarters flight. One very interesting note I am sure that not very many people know about is that we had a slight, minor mutiny within the squadron one day. It was A Flight. They refused to turn out for parade one day and the rest of the squadron was all assembled on the parade square, when we realised that they were missing. Later on they were all out on the parade ground, in full marching order, that is full pack, gas mask, etc. and force marched up to Noss Head and back, several times, double time sometimes, until they were all flat out. Even then they had to continue with their sentry and other duties.