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Wings Over Wick
Ray Weir, Bury, Lancs
I was stationed at RAF Wick for approximately 1 year in the period 1944/45 but I was not in the RAF. I was in the Royal Engineers, Bomb Disposal and a small detachment from the main company, was stationed on the airport at Wick in RAF quarters.
Our purpose was the removal of anti-tank mines laid on the beach in the Keiss area at the beginning of the war. This was achieved in the first instance by personal location and defusing. This method proved expensive in lives and injuries, so subsequently it was achieved by using high pressure jets of water from specially armoured Bren Gun Carriers and exploding mines were uncovered.
Myself and 4 or 5 of the RAF boys who played instruments formed a small dance band, and played for dances in the NAAFI, local barns etc and several occasions in the Rifle Hall in Wick. The drummer in the small band was an RAF "Met" man called Wilf Nicholls. Wick, as I recall in those days was a "dry town", with a table licence being held by the Station Hotel. During my time in Wick I became friendly with a girl, and through her, the family. She was called Muriel Calder, she worked in a drapery shop in town, but her father was a baker, with a shop in a block of cottages on the right hand side of the road to the Airport, beyond the houses. I used to visit a pub occasionally with her brother George, in a little van, at weekends. The pub was called I think, Maggie Don’s, at Lybster. During the evening I spent many hours walking the coastline around the Old Man O’ Wick area.