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Wings Over Wick Index

Wings Over Wick
1939 - 1945

Robert Y Carnie, Edinburgh
I joined the regular RAF before the war and trained as an armourer (guns, bombs, etc). Posted to Wick in December 1939, I worked in the bomb dump for most of my time. My rank? A lowly corporal. The main dump was at the far side of the airfield and consisted of twelve large buildings in two groups of six, also an open bay where we fused bombs, depth charges and other things that go bang. There was a large red box outside the gate where we were supposed to leave our matches and cigarettes. I say 'supposed' because I never saw anything in the box.

At the start, I was in one of the long wooden huts in the camp. Hut number 5 to be exact. Then I was moved along with others. There was a school just outside the camp's main gate. We slept on mattresses on the floor in the classrooms. Some time after this I was lucky enough to be billeted in the town. I was billeted with a Mrs Sinclair at 51 Argyle Square Wick. Mrs Sinclair, a wonderful lady, was better know as "Ma Sinclair' to the many airmen and airwomen to whom she opened her heart and her house. She had two sons, Willie her elder son worked in the Harbour Master's office and Ian, the last I heard of him, was working at Dounreay Atomic Station.

This Mrs Sinclair held a 21st birthday party for me and also held my wedding reception at her house. A very kind lady. My wife and I were married on the 19th of January 1942 in St Andrews Church, Pulteneytown by the Reverend Stephen Green. Normally the Banns are announced from the pulpit on three consecutive Sundays. Under Wartime Emergency Regulations it was permitted for this to be done on one Sunday only. Through the kindness of the afore mentioned Mrs Sinclair we managed to rent a house in, I think, Ackergill Street. In due course we had two daughters. Unhappily my wife passed away in 1968.

My friend and I used to borrow a couple of .22 rifles from the armoury and go out shooting rabbits which we passed on to friends in the town, to help with the meat rations. We also had a permit to fish on Loch Watten and we fished Wick River too. I must say the fish were never in much danger of being caught. (There was an ancient cannon on the riverbank; we called it Wick's Anti-aircraft Gun. Is it still there?)

I do remember the night the Heinkel 111 crashed on the airfield. The outcome of this was that we all had to parade by our beds next morning while our lockers were searched for all the souvenirs, which had been taken from the wreckage. I had a few machine gun bullets while others had instruments and other bits and pieces. They were all taken back but nobody was punished for anything.