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A photograph of Bill Budge

Bill Budge

Life in Wick in the early 20th century – part 1

Born: 1915

Duration: 31m 43s

Type: Audio

Filesize: 43.4 Mb

Recorded: 1 July 1985

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About this recording

William Budge (Bill) 1915-2003, was born in Wick and was involved in the family coal merchant business throughout his working life.

In this interview Bill describes his early years at Wick North School and remembers that, If you were good in either your lessons or behaviour you got a sail on this big rocking horse.”

Bill describes school uniform, the music festival, childhood games as well as the sweeties he enjoyed. He talks about the opportunities to earn a few pennies through scaffing for herring or helping farmers herd their sheep through the town to the mart.

The coal business was a family concern and Bill talks about joining the business during the thirties, when times were particularly hard for the miners. He vividly describes the busy scenes around Wick harbour and explains how as a young boy he helped deliver messages to the fisher lasses on Saturday evenings, while his cousin drove the lorry.

In May 1940 Bill was called up to the army. Sadly in 1942 he was taken prisoner at Tobruk, on Libyas eastern Mediterranean coast and he describes the horrific conditions in the prisoner of war camp. He explains how his mother received notification of his whereabouts many months after his capture.

This interview was conducted in the mid 1980s, part of a Job Creation Project funded by the Manpower Services Commission. The aim of the project was to collect memories of life in Caithness in spoken and written form.

With sincere thanks to the family of William Budge for making this tape available to Wick Voices.

Thanks also to the staff of Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archive.


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The Wick Society
18 - 27 Bank Row, Wick, Caithness, KW1 5EY

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