Blk 3D River Valley Road, Clarke Quay

Wings’ History

Wings Bar was established in 2012. It was built for people who enjoy good times, great ribs and what we believe are the very best wings in town.

In addition, Wings Bar pays tribute to the golden years of aviation in the 1940’s.

Just 36 years after the wright brothers took their first 12 second flight at only 20 feet above a beach in North Carolina, the skies above northern Europe became the battle ground for the British RAF in defence of their sovereignty.

The second world war developed a new breed of airman, who’s courage and bravery helped to secure freedom in europe and the western world.

The following is dedicated to one of them.

Warrant Officer John A Higgs (1922 -2004).

Lancaster ND349 took off from RAF Upwood in England at 2120 hours on the night of 22nd April, 1944, detailed to bomb Dusseldorf, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.

Diary of a Hero

W/O John A Higgs 1922 – 2004

The following are the unedited extracts from a personal diary written by one of the many WW2 pilots who’s bravery is beyond compare and yet remain to this day, just another unsung hero of Europe’s freedom.

Warrant Officer John A Higgs wrote the following in his personal diary whilst in a German prison after being shot down in a raid over Dusseldorf.

John was not a great writer, artist or poet, yet at the tender age of 22, he was risking his life as the pilot in command of a four engined Lancaster Bomber and after being shot down and captured, managed to scribe the following in a scrapbook whilst held captive as a prisoner of war.

This is a tribute to John, a very modest, unassuming man and a privilege to know. A true hero.

These are his words and his illustrations.

Approaching Dusseldorf

It was a glorious night, cold and clear with a cloudless star studded sky. As we flew on towards our target, I thought how the beauty of this night would soon be shattered.

As we turned onto the new course to cover those few remaining, never to be forgotten miles, to the target. How fitting it seemed to compare us with the lamb that had strayed from the flock, but if that search light, which was so systematically probing the sky found us, then the comparison would cease and the ending would not be a happy one.

Bomb Run

Our estimated time of arrival was nearly up when the sky was lit up by hundreds of search lights, and soon, the shells fired from countless guns below transported the beauty of seconds ago into a flaming hell. The time had now arrived when evasive action was necessary, so easing the nose slightly forward thereby increasing the speed, we continued on an erratic course towards the rapidly approaching target.

I asked my wireless operator who was busily engaged fighting the fire to go to the rear turret and see if anything could be done but he replied that owing to the intensity of the fire, it was impossible to get further than the rear door.

Direct Hit

That menacing beam of light suddenly moving nearer caught one wing of our aircraft and it was only a matter of a split second before we were completely cornered.

The anti-aircraft gunners making the most of this golden opportunity sent up a terrific barrage – shells were bursting all around us, many coming uncomfortably close, despite violent evasive action, suddenly an ear rupturing crash, and the aircraft oscillated drunkenly across the sky.

Fire On-Board

The wireless-operator calling over the inter-communication informed me that a direct hit had started a fierce fire in the fuselage but luckily none of the control mechanisms had been touched. The aircraft , although a little slow in answering to the controls was still manoeuvrable.

Fighter Attack

I asked my wireless operator who was busily engaged fighting the fire to go to the rear turret and see if anything could be done but he replied that owing to the intensity of the fire, it was impossible to get further than the rear door.

The silence that followed this announcement was shattered by a sudden shout of warning from my upper gunner “fighters. fighters, corkscrew to starboard, GO!”

Acting immediately upon his words, I flung the aircraft violently to starboard, diving at the same time. The fighter was too close however for this evasive action to be totally successful, as coming round on the turn, I could see tracer and incendiary bullets tearing into the starboard wing causing the two engines to burst into flames.

Engine Fire

I promptly feathered both engines in a series of automatic moves and pressed the fire extinguisher buttons, but success was only partial for while the fire in the outer engine was completely quelled, the inner burned with even greater ferocity as the petrol tanks caught fire.

I was compelled to give the order to jettison the bomb load. This helped considerably in the control of the machine but the damage caused was so extensive that we were rapidly loosing height. I gave the order to “Bale Out”.

Sgt G F Woodhead – Sticking to his guns

The Bomb-Aimer, Navigator and Engineer went out in quick succession through the front escape hatch and whilst waiting for the wireless-operator to follow them, we were attacked again.

Now occurred an action of courage such as I shall never forget.

Although we were blazing from nose to tail and rapidly loosing height, the mid upper gunner stuck to his guns and fired burst after burst at the attacking fighter until it was compelled to back off, and not until then did my very great friend bale out closely followed by the wireless operator.

A moment later the control rods burnt through and the aircraft went into a crazy uncontrollable dive.

Seconds to Spare

Hurriedly scrambling out of my seat, I dropped (or rather fell), down to the escape hatch. – How small an opening it looked – more precious seconds were lost when I found myself jammed in the exit. After what seemed like an interminable length of time, I was dragged out by the force of the slipstream.

As soon as the flaming aircraft had passed over me, I pulled the rip-cord, there was a slight tug on my shoulders and I was swinging gently, like a pendulum. Perfect peace and quiet seemed to reign after the turmoil of a few seconds before.

After baling out, John was lucky to catch a gust of wind that took him away into a local woods were he landed safely. Living off the land, he evaded the Germans for 13 days before being captured near Köln on May 4th.

He remained as a prisoner of war for nearly a year before managing to escape with his POW friend Charlie, on a march to Hamburg, eventually meeting up with the 7th armoured division.

John lost four members of his crew when he was shot down that night. In a tribute to their bravery and with limited resources as a POW, he drew this in his journal in their honour.

Letters from Home

Despite his unfortunate predicament as a Prisoner Of War, John managed to kept his sense of humour by recording in his diary some of the more insensitive but amusing letters received by his fellow prisoners whilst being held captive by the Germans in 1944.

Letters from girlfriends back home

“Dear Jack, You were missing a month so I got married”

“The first contingent of repatriated POW’s terribly maimed arrived today – praying you will be on the next”

POW received a roll-neck pullover (via Red Cross) and wrote thanking the woman sender.

REPLY – “Dear Sir, I am sorry to hear you received my pullover, as I meant it to go to a fighting man in one of the active services”

Letter from home

“I am glad you met a nice set of chaps, I hope the Germans will keep you there”

“Sandals are very hard to get here, so I am sending the coupons for you to buy your own.