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Wings Over Wick
|John Adam, Ellon
I was a member of the 612 City of Aberdeen Squadron, based at Wick from March 1941 to April 1943, with a period at Reykjavik, Iceland, sandwiched in between.
We were pleased to find Wick a well-established aerodrome with centrally heated, well-constructed accommodation - a first class NAAFI (canteen) where we could spend our spare time and enjoy tea and a "wad" (rock cake, scone, etc) and fairly near Wick. The people in Wick were kind and we integrated well; the Breadalbane Cinema provided most of our entertainment.
The day we arrived proved eventful; roll call was being called in the centre hanger when a line of small holes suddenly appeared in the fabric between the top of the wall and the roof, then the noise arrived, roaring German engines and the clatter of guns. Never did a parade disperse more rapidly, luckily no casualties.
During our stay we had several visits from the Luftwaffe. They demolished our centre hanger on one occasion and while we were all busy clearing up someone shouted "Unexploded Bomb"! We didn't wait to be told to scatter.
Next day at lunchtime we were relaxing in our hut, when there was a tremendous explosion and everyone executed various types of taking shelter under the nearest bed from vigorous rolling to graceful swallow dives. Not a great deal of protection from a small bed but anything seems better than nothing with what we thought was a return surprise visit from "Jerry". No one had seen fit to tell us that Bomb Disposal were to dispose of the unexploded bomb. Sheepish grins all round.
One nice fairly dark evening one of my colleagues and I were strolling along the cliff top on the south side of the harbour, when the distinctive noise of German engines came towards us. A Junkers 88 came right into the harbour area, circled around and off to sea where it attacked a convoy - we plainly saw anti-aircraft tracers etc. The crafty devil had given the convoy the impression he was one of us leaving the aerodrome.
An amusing incident comes to mind. I was in charge of station duty crew (6pm-6am) when a visitor landed, an obviously brand new American Liberator bomber in all over glistening white. I guided him to in front of the control tower, the hatch on top of the cockpit opened and the head and shoulders of a man appeared, "Say guy is this Prestwick?". "About 300 miles south", I replied and asked, "Do you want any gas?" (I'd been a film fan). "Yea, about 1000 gallons" he replied, so we duly obliged.
Undoubtedly you will mention the grand work carried out by the Salvation Army ladies (Sally Ann) in the Wick area in your booklet. They deserve lots of praise.