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Wings Over Wick Index

Wings Over Wick
1939 - 1945
Airfield And Aircraft Defence

D G Jubb, Norton, Near Doncaster, South Yorks
During the early part of my service with the RAF, I was posted to RAF Wick, and then moved up to RAF Skitten which was a few miles north of Wick. This was in 1942 and I stayed at Skitten for 18 months before moving on. As you may know, both the RAF camps of Wick and Skitten were Coastal Command Stations, and during my time there, the amount of aircraft on active duty were many and varied.

It was during this early period that the RAF Regiment was formed and my squadron now became 2716 squadron of the RAF Regiment.  Its main function during those early days was protection of airfields and aircraft, and general guard duties, along with the formation of anti aircraft units, etc.

The rest of my off duty time would probably be spent at one of the two cinemas in town. I must add that during this time Wick was called a "dry town" because beer and spirits were unavailable, so anyone who wanted a drink had to make their way to Thurso. The year 1942 became a very eventful time for both Wick and Skitten. I can recall on one particular quiet, moonlit night we all hurried out from our huts to look across the North Sea where gun fire was heard, the flashes from the guns lighting up the sky. We found out later that we had been witnessing a major war battle involving the German Battle Cruiser the "Prince Eugene" which was sunk in the fiords of Norway.

The other major event related to us happened in late August of 1942.  In the middle of the night we were rushed from camp and across the moors on hearing that an aircraft carrying a VIP had crashed somewhere a few miles away. It was the Duke of Kent, and all but one of his crew perished that night in their Short Sunderland flying boat. After many hours we found the debris and the bodies, and the body of the Duke was kept until a special train was sent up from London.  His body was sent down and he was buried at Windsor Castle.

These two articles that I am sending to you are a piece of burnt parachute, and a bit of molten metal that was part of the framework from the Sunderland. I collected these from around the wreckage, so they really are genuine. I have kept them for just over 50 years now, so I would like to think they are going back to the area from whence they came.

This piece of parachute silk, still showing the burn marks of the crash, and the piece of molten aluminium from the Sunderland Flying Boat have been passed onto a local museum.