Weir, Archibald Nigel Charles
Nigel Weir was the elder son of Wing Commander Archibald Graham Weir (lost at sea in April 1941) and Mary Evelyn Oldfield Weir (daughter of Canon Charles Oldfield Bartlett, Canon of Gloucester Cathedral) of Pensbury House, Shaftesbury. His younger brother – Major Adrian John Anthony Weir MC (B1933-1939) – was killed at Anzio in Italy in February 1944 (see individual entry). The family had paid a high price in the space of four years, as can be seen from a notice in The Times of April 26th 1944: “A service will be held at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Shaftesbury, at 12.15 on Monday, May 1, in memory of Major John Weir MC, Scots Guards, recently killed in action, and of his father, Wing Commander A.G. Weir RAF, lost at sea on active service in April 1941, and of his elder brother, F/O Nigel Weir DFC, RAFVR, killed in action, November 1940.”
A keen linguist he went for a year to Christ Church, Oxford to study Modern Greats, before switching to Medicine. An enthusiastic pilot, a slight problem with his eyesight looked likely to prevent him being accepted into the RAF but this did stop him being accepted into the University Air Squadron and on the outbreak of war being commissioned full-time into the RAFVR. He was posted to 145 Squadron at RAF Manston on May 12th 1940 as a Pilot Officer. He achieved his ambition by bringing down two Messerschmidts over Dunkirk on the eve of his twenty-first birthday. Weir claimed one Me110 confirmed killed, and one Me109 ‘possible’ – though it is more likely that this was actually only damaged.
His next combat report was filed on July 18th 1940, after a successful engagement twenty miles south of Bognor Regis when he brought down a Heinkel He111 bomber.
Four days later, on July 22nd, he took off at 0620 and saw combat again twenty miles south of Selsey Bill, when he shared a “kill” of a Dornier Do17, which landed in the sea. He signalled a motor boat to rescue the crew.
On August 8th 1940 a battle took place over a large British convoy off the Isle of Wight. Weir played a prominent part in this action. He claimed three “kills” that day: two Me109s and a Ju87 Stuka. Of these, however, only the second Me109 had been witnessed, and so his tally was one ‘confirmed’ and two ‘unconfirmed’ kills. For this fine work – and his earlier victories over Dunkirk – Weir was awarded the DFC, dated August 30th 1940, though he never knew of the award.
The RAF lost thirteen aircraft defending the convoy, Weir’s Hurricane was one and he had had to make a forced landing. After these losses 145 Squadron was in no condition to carry on fighting. On August 14th it moved north to Drem in 13 Group for a rest; at the end of the month it moved to Dyce (also in 13 Group).
News of Weir’s promotion to Flying Officer (dated September 5th 1940) came through ten days after his death in action near Ventnor on November 7th 1940 at the age of twenty-one. His Hurricane I (P2770) had gone missing over the sea after a combat with an Me109. Weir was posted missing in action, and in May 1941 this was changed to missing, presumed killed in action.
He is commemorated on Panel 6 of the Runnymede Memorial.
- Surname: Weir
- Forenames or initials: Archibald Nigel Charles
- House: I
- Years in School: 1932-1937
- Rank: Flying Officer
- Regiment: Fighter Command, RAF
- Date of Birth: 2nd June 1919
- Date of Death: 7th November 1940
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Inner A1
- Decoration: DFC
- Burial Site: Commemorated on Panel 6 of the Runnymede Memorial