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Wings Over Wick Index

Wings Over Wick
1939 - 1945

Charlie Simpson, East Kilbride
I joined the RAF as a wireless operator after being in the ATC, but an ear fault forced me to apply for a mechanic course on engines.  It was during waiting for the course to begin, that I was sent to Wick with another airman and we found out on arrival that the drome couldn't put us up.

We were then sent to the Free Church Manse for sleeping accommodation and got all our meals in the drome.  The Minister was unmarried and his aunt also lived in the Manse in South Road.

The winter of 1942 was very severe and snowdrifts almost completely covered some of the planes, which were Lockheed Hudsons of Coastal Command.

It was a common thing for the Tannoy to announce all ranks to report to station workshop to collect shovels to keep the runway clear and after a day in these temperatures, my trousers were two tubes by the time I got back at night to South Road.

It was the practise in the RAF before going on leave to make sure your "pass" was in the Guard Room ready for lifting.  In Wick the priority was to check if the trains were running as they often got stuck at Helmsdale and the RAF at times had to drop food parcels for the marooned passengers.

Wick was a No 1 protected area and when writing home we had to post our letters unsealed to be censored and kisses were banned in case they were a code.

Another duty we had to take turns of, was a continual watch on the bomb dump at night. During the night we slept in the Guard Room and got wakened and handed a key. This key was to open a shed and take a bicycle to cycle to the other end of the drome.  On arrival at the bomb dump, a shed there, had a phone in it, and all we had to say to the Guard Room was "Bomb Dump OK" then cycle back and shake up the next lad and give him the key.