Flying Officer Anthony William Wicking - Cold War Hero

Anthony William Wicking CWG

The Second World War finally came to an end in 1945, but peace was still very fragile and in 1946 we entered a period of approximately 45 years known as the ‘Cold War’.
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its Satellite States (Eastern Bloc.) and the United States with its Allies (Western Bloc.)
Though there was no actual fighting between the two major antagonists, accidents still happen and lives were lost.
Anthony William Wicking of Peace-Haven, Pembroke Avenue, (Lee Chapel), Laindon was killed on 24 June 1955 while flying a Gloster Meteor F.R.Mk. 9 on a tactical reconnaissance exercise, part of a NATO exercise code name ‘Carte Blanche’.
It appears that he hit an obstruction. The aircraft caught fire and he had to abandon it 2 miles SSE of Limburg. He ejected through the canopy at 200ft but separated from his parachute and was killed.
CARTE BLANCHE was part of the Cold War Nato exercise that included aircraft from the UK, Canada, Denmark, Greece, France, Norway and the USA. It was held in West Germany and included the simulated use of tactical nuclear weapons against airfields and troop concentrations.
It took place in the last two weeks of June and in 2 days 300 atomic bombs had been simulated by tactical aircraft, which would have caused an estimated 4.5 million civilian casualties. The result of the exercise made it clear that the use of battlefield nuclear weapons would render any supporting military operations meaningless.
Anthony was born in 1935 (Hackney) and his service in the RAF commenced on the 12 August 1952 at the tender age of 17. A memorial service was held on the 29 June at the church at Laarbruch. Burial followed at the British Military Cemetery – Cologne Southern Cemetery – Row B, Grave 14 – Memorial ID 138362936.
One of Basildon Borough Heritage researchers contact his friends Marion and Oliver Süss who live just a couple of miles away from the Cemetery and they kindly visited the cemetery found the grave and sent us a few pictures of the grave.
A Trophy/Plaque in his memory was presented to the Laindon Air Training Squadron, based at the time in Church Road, Laindon which is now part of the Basildon and Laindon Squadron No. 2243 based in Cherrydown, near the town Centre. Unfortunately, it has since been lost.
Anthony was just 20 years of age.


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