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Wings Over Wick Index

Wings Over Wick
1939 - 1945
Additional Information, Requests Etc
It may be that other people have information they would like to add or have requests to make regarding the period.  We will add any new material to this page

6 Novermber 2013
From Margaret Copley
Re 86 Squadron
Hello Bill, Could you please tell me if it is still possible to add messages to your "Wings over Wick" web page where information about former RAF personnel is displayed? My uncle Sgt Walter Duckworth was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner flying aboard Beaufort AW368 of 86 Squadron on March 28th 1942. He was quartered at RAF Skitten, but flew from Wick.The aircraft never returned from its ROVER mission. Two crew members were never found, but the bodies of Sgt Duckworth and the other W/Op/Air Gnr, Sgt E.W. Martin were washed ashore in Norway and are now buried in the War Graves section of Sola Churchyard, Stavanger, Norway. I should like to get in touch with anyone else whose relatives served in 86 Squadron at around this time I must say, how good it was to find the "Wings over Wick" website, with its comprehensive content. Congratulations to Hillhead school and its Headmaster. I would like to contact him directly, if possible, to express my thanks, With All Good Wishes, Margaret Copley Southwood Tel.01646 636295 South Street Dale, HAVERFORDWEST, Pembrokeshire SA62 3RE

28 February 2011
From D Preston
RAF "Y" Section - Wick

Just some more information for your site "Wings Over Wick" My Uncle Mr Harry Varley now in his 90th year spent almost the entire duration of the war at Wick as a radio operator - he was not attached to the "flying boys" at the aerodrome, but in a little hut set away from the main RAF Depot - it was here he says he spent time eavesdropping on the enemy. The section was called "Y" section and I think I am right in saying this was a very secret affair that even today he feels that he should not be talking about it.

I have not seen any information as to this section of the RAF at Wick but if anybody has any recollections of this or pictures perhaps. It would be good for me to show him on my next visit to him. I do have some pictures of him in uniform with the special insignia on his arm relating to his section and I can send them to you if they are of interest.

I can also tell you that even now at 90 years old - he has not forgotten the Morse code that he learned at Bletchley Park  nor indeed his love of Caithness which he has visited many times over the years.

The radio shack was a wooden hut affair and there would be around 30 operators working on a three shift system. The whole setup was at FOSS HEAD FARM - he recalls several radio aerials there and has fond memories of the farmer that owned the land - he says he was a perfect gentleman.

Harry Varley 

Kind Regards D Preston (Morecambe)

12 February 2010

From Joe Daly  jnrc1@optusnet.com.au
Good afternoon Bill,
I am trying to gather as much information together as I can on my late Uncle, Flt Sgt M J Daly (RAAF), a pilot who lost his life along with his entire crew of 4 in Wick. I am aware he is buried in the War Graves Section of one of the Wick Cemeteries.

I did notice that the Caithness Field Club has some research with regard to what remains of the military installations from WWII are in the Caithness area and I will try to get in contact with them unless you can forward this email on to them as their email contact details do not appear on their web page.

The very unfortunate accident was as follows:

On 27 May 1942 after a routine patrol near the fjords of Norway, my uncle and his RAF crew from 86 Sqn Wick, were returning home in bad weather.

After returning from patrol, and over home soil, the aircraft, Beaufort AW345 collided with the 225 foot Tannach Chain Home Radar Station tower. The collision removed a wing and 50 feet of the tower taking the life of all the crew.

I am trying to gather as much information together as possible. I am looking for any remnants, records or photographs of RAF Wick and the Tannach Chain Home Radar Station and any reports from the radar crew or the RAF. I am also trying to trace any local news paper reports of the accident, as it was an unusual occurrence for both Wick and 86 Sqn.

As no-one from my family have ever visited the grave site, any information on this tragedy would be priceless to my family. I do intend to travel to Wick in the not too-distant future to pay our family’s well overdue respects.

Very kind regards,

Joseph Daly
22 Bethlehem Tce
Yeppoon, Queensland, 4703

22 November 06
From Alfred Catling - alfredcatling@yahoo.com

Subject: Sergeant Robert William Catling
On the 8th March 1941 he took off from Wick airfeild with three other crew in a Hudson T9334. Sometime later the plane came down. My uncle and another man were drowned and the other two were picked up by a patrol boat. Can you offer any help in finding more information about this and anything that will tell me about how the airmen lived at that time.
It would be wonderful if anyone is alive to remember anything.

Sergeant Catling was my uncle, probably known as Bobby or Bob. The other crew members, serving in 269 squadron, were sergeants N Child, W Dodds and Deacon, who was lost with my uncle. The patrol boat was 'Northern Chief'.

9 April 04
Is British Helmet connected To Wick Asks American Collector
I am a collector of military antiques.  I have a British helmet dated 1941 which has the number "1" and the word "WICK" painted on its front.  I am wondering if this helmet is related to the Wick RAF airbase.  Did aircrews or ground personnel paint "WICK" on their helmets in this way?  Any information is greatly appreciated.
Jeffrey P. Magut
Trumbull, Connecticut, U.S.A.

4 February 2004
I am looking for information about my father Robert Dickie who was with 269 Squadron at Abbotsinch at the start of the war. I know he was at Sumburgh, Iceland, Pembroke and eventually Castle Archdale in N.Ireland where he died in 1945 just before the end of the war. I was just one year old so never knew him and it would be great to find someone who did. I know 269 went to Wick, but I do not know if he was with them. Any information from any ex 269 squadron who knew him would be great. He was a sergeant when he died so in '39/'40 he would probably have been no more than a corporal.
Many Thanks,
Robert Dickie  email Transportraining@aol.com 

10 December 03
Ross Wellington Akey (J/19916) 519 squadron
My name is Wesley Spafford I live in Picton, Ontario, Canada. I am wondering if you could please post this message for me on the request page on your website ? I am looking for anyone who might have known my great uncle Ross Wellington Akey(J/19916) who was part of the 519 squadron and lost his life October 10, 1944 when his crew had engine trouble (Hudson III L/519) and the went down position 60o41’N 01o30’W, about 8 miles from Scatsta.
No.519 Squadron was formed at Wick on 15 August 1943,and disbanded on May 31 1946.
The info I have on My great Uncle's Last Flight is -
Hudson V9195, coded L, took off from RAF Skitten at 14:03 hrs on the 10th October 1944 tasked with a Recipie sortie, it’s mission was to head due north from RAF Wick/Skitten to about 69N then to return on course due south.
At 23:00 hrs an engine cut, the aircraft lost height and was ditched 15 miles north west of Yell, Shetland, in position 60 41N 01 30W.
The crew was:
F/O T N McNulty RCAF
Lt W S Helms USAAF
P/O J Blair RCAF
If anyone has any information on RW Akey please email Wesley Spalford computethis@sympatico.ca 

16 November 03
Coastal Command Hudson lost over Åndalsnes, Norway
The search for a name of an umarked grave in Norway.  does anyone have any information on this RAF man who died on a mission.  Check the web site and let them have any suggestions

31 March 03
Hudson P5132 269 Squadron - From Tina Watters
These are photos of my uncle Jack Sharvin and other crew members of Husdon p5132,of 269 Squadron RAF, Coastal Command, Wick.

5 February 03
From Andrew Dawson
Regarding Fl. Lt David Walker 608 Squadron

I am writing a book about the Oxford University and Norfolk cricketer Flt. Lt. David Walker who was stationed at RAF during January and February of 1942. He was killed off the coast of Norway when flying with 608 Squadron. If you have any memories of this man, pls. e mail me.
many thanks
Andrew Dawson