Everyday Life at Wickenby

RAF Wickenby was built as a bomber base in late 1942 and early 1943. It had three hangars, three runways, a watchtower and quarters for staff and crew.

In September 1942, 12 Squadron arrived at Wickenby with Wellingtons, but during the winter of 1942/43 they converted to Lancasters. The Squadron flew Lancasters throughout the rest of the war. On November 7th 1943, C Flight was expanded to become 626 Squadron, also flying Lancasters. More details can be found on the Wickenby Museum site which has been recently updated and improved.

Wickenby airmen took part in many big raids including Munich, Nuremberg, Essen,

Maillie-Le-Camp, and Caen. They also raided the German capital; Dave Brown's final raid was to Berlin. Constant night bombing raids meant life could be very wearing, but it was sometimes relieved by the unexpected such as the snow clearing shown below.

The log for 2.3.44, states: "Weather: Fine. Visibility good. Wind W'ly 10/15 MPH. STAND DOWN. Aircrews were employed in snow clearing."

But not all was serious work - relaxation was essential if the aircrew were to remain at their peak.

Aerial photo of Wickenby

Aerial view

Taken during its time as a bomber base.

Wickenby map

Wickenby, Lincolnshire

Wickenby was just one of several aerodromes built on the flat lands of Lincolnshire.

Snow clearing

Snow clearing at Wickenby

This picture was taken in early 1944 and possibly shows my uncle on the extreme right.

Wellington bomber

A Vickers Wellington

The first type of bomber based at Wickenby.

Maintaining Morale

Relaxation must have been important for men whose lives had become several hours of stretched nerves and terror in the air interspersed with long periods of boredom on the ground. One of the ways in which commanders tried to keep morale high was by arranging for concert parties or shows to take place.

The illustrations are from a programme of one of the concerts that took place at Wickenby. Crummy, whose name is at the foot of the front page, was the station commander when Dave was based at Wickenby so we identified it as one of their concerts. I think I found the programme being used as a bookmark by Dave's twin brother, Les.

Ad Astra prog cover

Ad Astra

Per Ardua Ad Astra - the RAF's motto.

AdAstra inner left

The Concert

Does anyone recognise the performers?