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Wings Over Wick Index

Wings Over Wick
1939 - 1945

J W Hazeldine,  Sedgley, West Midlands
I served at Wick during the winter of 1940 as a member of 502 squadron (The City of Belfast) Coastal Command based at Aldergrove, Northern Ireland, operating Whitley Bombers protecting the sea routes around Scotland. We were sent to Wick on detachment. The weather was terrible, very heavy snowfalls. My memory of Wick was that at that time it was a "dry town", no public houses where one could get a beer. My particular friend at the time had the brainy idea, that as residents of a hotel we could buy a drink, if we went into one (which we did) ordered tea and a sandwich we could then buy a beer. We went into the large Hotel in the main town centre (name of hotel now forgotten) ordered tea and cake which was served in the lounge, which to our dismay contained several high ranking Officers of the Navy, Army and Air Force, drinking beer.  Needless to say we didn't get any.

However, not giving up, we later decided to go to John O'Groats where we were sure we could get a beer. We travelled on the local Carrier Bus, the driver being the image of Moore Marriott, a film star whom your grandparents will obviously remember. At one point of the journey, when the road was blocked with snow, the driver got out, opened a gate into a field, drove the bus in through the field and out of the gate at the far end. We got to John O'Groats, went to the John O'Groats Hotel to be met with "Sorry no beer you can have an off quota whisky". Again your grandparents can explain this. We finished up at the Cafe in the village with tea and hot scones, joined by the bus driver who came and shared with us. I only have amusing memories of Wick despite the terrible weather. My wartime service was in the Far East and I have never been back to Wick.