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Wings Over Wick
L M MacRae, Northampton.
There was one Spitfire based at Wick but it was used solely for weather forecasting. Every morning it flew east to report weather conditions on the continent. Incidentally, the Germans also sent one of their aircraft to check on the weather in this country. I was told that these two aircraft often waved to each other if they happened to pass on their daily flight.
One of my less happy occasions was when a Hudson aircraft arrived from Iceland. It should be remembered that there was no war in Iceland and the shops had lots of "goodies" which were unobtainable in this country. All of the crew of this aircraft had bought some of these "goodies" and were taking them home to their wives and sweethearts. The aircraft also had some secret equipment on board and on landing was immediately moved into a hanger. The hanger was closed and guards placed at the entrances. Only certain maintenance men were allowed into the hanger and I was one of them.
Next morning I was astounded to find myself under open arrest (allowed to carry on with my work but confined to barracks at other times). It appeared that something had been stolen from the aircraft overnight and I was the only maintenance man to have been aboard the previous evening, I was No 1 suspect. My kit bag and bed etc were examined and I was followed everywhere by an RAF police corporal. After several days the stolen articles were found. What was the "something" that had been stolen? Believe it or not - silk stockings. These were considered a luxury in Britain. The culprit was a member of the aircraft crew.
On the lighter side of life, a few of us - all tradesmen - formed the "Traders Post". We would carry out tasks for others in return for favours from them. If for instance someone wanted a radio repaired I would do it if he or she - being a cook, would fry the mushrooms I had gathered on my way back from Watten or perhaps darn a pair of socks.