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Wings Over Wick
D M Asp, Calgary,
You mention only the RAF in your letter but the RCAF squadron was stationed there as well. I flew Wellingtons with 407 squadron. Our squadron replaced another RCAF squadron - the number of which I cannot remember, but there was one member of the squadron, F/L Hornell who won the Victoria Cross.
Our job was anti-U-boat patrols, so our planes were equipped for this. The plane was equipped with radar, a powerful spotlight and a radio altimeter. The crew consisted of a pilot, co-pilot, navigator and three WAGs (wireless operator air gunner). We flew mainly at night at approximately 1000 feet.
With the radar the WAGs scanned the surface of the water for U-boats that would have surfaced to charge their batteries. Our squadron was at Wick for about 2-3 months in the late summer and early fall of 1944.
When free on Sunday evening, I would go to church in town. We were invited to stay after the service for tea when we had a chance to meet the local people. We found them to be friendly and hospitable.
I can still recall the day five other pilots and I arrived at Wick to join the squadron. We were standing on the station platform waiting for transportation to the station when we saw a young boy walking across the railway tracks in an obvious bad mood. We asked him what the trouble was and he said he had to go for a lesson on the pipes.
One other point that may be of interest, Canadians drink a lot more milk than do the Scots or Brits, so my room mate and I had a quart of milk, each, delivered by the local dairy to our billet every morning (strictly illegal at the time). As a result a real nice black cat adopted us. The only picture I have from Wick is a picture of the cat and me with a bit of the billet in the background.