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Wings Over Wick
Flt/Lt Thomas Hasty, Blackpool, Lancs
I was stationed at RAF Skitten and RAF Wick from 12 September 1942 to 20 November 1942 with 179 squadron Coastal Command. Whilst there I converted from Whitley Bombers to Leigh Light Wellingtons.
These aircraft were specially adapted for coastal command work and were fitted with searchlights. They were used for detecting enemy submarines. Whilst I was at these stations, we practised anti submarine sweeps. After the completion of my training I flew one of the adapted aircraft to Gibraltar, via RAF Chivenor, where the squadron carried out anti submarine warfare in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
It was a big change to find myself in the bleak north of Scotland after the busy, bustling holiday resort which was my home town, but in spite of the weather and the acute shortages I enjoyed my time in Wick. The townsfolk were very welcoming and in spite of the scarcity of food the waitresses at the local cafes used to hide an egg under our chips. Unfortunately at that time Wick was a "dry" town and we could only buy alcoholic drink in the Camp Mess although the local dances were held in a disused distillery.