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Wings Over Wick
C W Cox,
Newton Abbot, Devon
I spent time at Wick having been drafted there as a member of 220 A.S.R. Squadron RAF (in I think 1941/42) this being a squadron of Boeing Bl7 Flying Fortresses especially and suitably modified for their work of Air Sea Rescue. I was a fitter attached to maintenance and was in charge of a gang of lads who helped carry out a lot of this modification.
Bomb racks were removed and two auxiliary fuel tanks slung up in their place. Under the bomb doors in the belly, refitted and specially constructed lifeboats, which could be dropped easily should the occasion arise.
On and off, I spent about 9 months in Wick after which the squadron was moved to Northern Ireland, but I came back to Wick for a short while on an assignment, but this time I was on the airfield, and did it snow.
The first visit, we arrived at Wick in late afternoon and as there was no room at the airfield we were billeted in various parts of the town. I and three other lads were billeted right across town with a lady (an old fisher lass) in a Council property on the front row overlooking a playing field (the name of the road and field escapes me). The lady's name I cannot call to mind but we rarely saw her as we were gone early in the morning and she never slept in the house at night, but went next door to a Mrs Gunn's, so we were virtually on our own, but I must say, she and all the people of Wick with whom I came in contact, were the salt of the earth.
I can remember the harbours (3, I think) and the rough seas that used to come in, over the harbour walls as after the house billet was closed, I and a few more lads were billeted right on the harbourside in a warehouse or clubhouse.
After some time in that billet and on returning from leave I was billeted with the manager of a local Bank who at first wasn't very pleased, but after the ice was broken we had some interesting chats and a spot of Drambuie at bedtime.
It was quite a step across town from the billets to the airfield and up to the top of the hill and in inclement weather I used to eat at a very nice restaurant in the main street. (No one ever seemed short of anything in Wick).
The only gripe I have is the long wait and slow train journey from Inverness. I have been left sitting in the train waiting to move out when it should have been at its destination. However I have very fond memories of my time in Wick.