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Wings Over Wick
R Walker, Newbiggin-by-Sea
As an Aero Engine Fitter I went to RAF Coastal Command Station Wick with 612 squadron (City of Aberdeen RAF) which had previously been stationed at Dyce.
We arrived at Wick in March 1941 flying convoy and anti-submarine patrol duties with Avro Ansons. In November 1940 the squadron was re-equipped with bigger aircraft - the Whitley which were hurriedly pressed into operational service at Wick. This aircraft was powered by two Royal Merlin engines, gun turrets in nose and tail could carry a formidable load of bombs and depth charges and a crew of six or seven. Seventy to eighty sorties a month were being flown, mainly convoy escort, which was quite good considering the weather was often as deadly as the enemy.
Considerable success was achieved by 612 against German U-boats whilst at Wick but at a price. There were several crashes and in August two crews were killed. In December 1941, 612 was posted to Reykjavik in Iceland but returned to Wick in August 1942 to find more submarines and put much effort into escort duties with Russian convoys.
I was posted to another RAF station in January 1943.