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MarkH206

Arma Hobby 1/72 Hurricane Mk I and the tragedy of a military family

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Archibald Nigel Weir joined 145 sqn at RAF Tangmere on 12th May 1940 as a Pilot Officer. It seems that he did not use his first name and was referred to as Nigel - so I am doing the same.

 

On 1st June, one day before his twenty-first birthday, he claimed one Bf110 confirmed and one Bf109 ‘possible’ over Dunkirk.

 

On July 18th 1940, he shared a He111 and on 22nd, he shared a Do17. He signalled a motor boat to rescue the crew of the Dornier.

 

On August 8th 1940 a battle took place over convoy Peewit off the Isle of Wight. Peewit was 20 merchant ships with 9 escorts sailing from the Medway to Swanage in Dorset. 145 squadron was heavily involved and Nigel Weir claimed three that day: two Bf109s and a Ju87. Of these, however, only the second Bf109 had been witnessed, and so his tally was one ‘confirmed’ and two ‘unconfirmed’. For this fine work – and his earlier victories over Dunkirk – Nigel Weir was awarded the DFC, although he was to never know of the award.

 

After a period of recuperation at Drem and then Dyce in 13 Group the squadron returned to Tangmere on 9th October.

 

On 7th November 1940 eleven Hurricanes were over the Isle of Wight when they found themselves being shadowed by approximately fifty Bf 109s. In the words of the squadron's ORB the 109s “picked off” B flight planes. The result was not as bad as it might have been with 3 pilots slightly injured and 2 uninjured – including P.O. Weir who was flying Hurricane Mk I serial no. P2720.

 

However Nigel Weir did not return to the squadron and three days later the military authorities on the Isle of Wight advised 145 squadron that they had been mistaken and that in fact he was missing. Apparently the confusion had arisen because another pilot had been carrying a piece of armour plating with his name on (I found this strange but it is in the squadron records). They also reported that one of the squadron's planes had been seen crashing into the sea and sinking immediately. This was P2720.

 

News of his promotion to Flying Officer came through ten days after his death

 

Flying Officer Nigel Weir, DFC is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial and on the Battle of Britain London Monument.

 

Six months later, on 30th April 1940, Nigel's father, Wing Commander Archibald Graham Weir, was on board SS Nerissa sailing from Halifax when it was believed that she had reached safe waters off the coast of Ireland.  U552 fired one torpedo followed by two more and Nerissa sank quickly - taking with her 83 Canadian servicemen, virtually an entire graduating class of RAF British Commonwealth Air Training Program pilots, 3 pilots of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, 11 American ferry pilots and 43 members of auxiliary organizations artillerymen, civilians and crew.

 

Wing Commander Archibald Weir's grave is in Kilcommon Erris, County Mayo.

 

Nigel Weir's younger brother, Adrian John Weir, (he too used his second name) was an officer in the Scots Guards and had been awarded the MC in April 1943 when in North Africa. His Commanding Officer’s comments included: “The outstanding officer of the Battalion is John Weir”.

 

On 28th February 1944 at Anzio his battalion had just been moved to a rest area to await being shipped away and re-organized. As a long-serving officer, he qualified for return to England, and an eagerly-awaited marriage. Two stray shells hit nearby trees and John Weir died instantly.

 

Major John Weir MC is buried in the Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio.

 

The Times of April 26th 1944 carried this announcement:

“A service will be held at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Shaftesbury, at 1215 on Monday, May 1st, 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.”

 

I find myself thinking about Mary Weir, wife and mother.

 

 

When I started this build I knew of Nigel Weir – but only his name and that he was a Hurricane pilot. I had no idea of the story of the Weir family. I always do some research to understand more about the plane I intend to build and of the pilot - using such resources as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Operations Record Books of RAF squadrons held by the National Archives.

 

I'm sorry if this is rather wordy but, having stumbled across their story, I wanted to tell it.

 

 

F.O. Nigel Weir's Hurricane was a Mk I, serial no. P2720, built by Gloster Aircraft Co and had a 3 blade Rotol prop and a Merlin III.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to find the individual code letter of his plane so I have left that blank – at least for now.

 

This is the 1/72 Arma Hobby Expert Set Hurricane Mk I which comes with some nice p.e. and canopy masks. I enjoyed the build which was free of any problems worth mentioning. It's a great kit with plenty of good detail and options – even without the p.e. - and (although I'm no Hurricane expert) I'd happily recommend it.

 

P2720 probably had the full height type of fin flash but I found the kit decal for that was slightly oversized so I used the rectangular type instead. The kit comes with a lot of decal choices and two sets of stencils. The code letters and serial no. came from xtradecal and aviaeology sets.

 

Paints are acrylics: ultimate grey primer and xtracylix and tamiya for the camouflage. Pastels for the exhaust and gun stains and a little bit of silver pencil for weathering the walkway area and some panels  – probably a bit subtle for the pics.

 

all the best

Mark

 

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Thank you for the sobering tale of the Weir family. 'Wordy' is not a problem if the words are good, and they were.

 

I really appreciate models with a story attached, to serve as an entrance point for imagination.

 

Beautiful Hurricane, too!

 

Please forgive me for being a spoilsport. pointing out that the Hurricane wingtip lanterns had clear glass covers, with only the actual light bulbs being tinted. Doesn't detract from the overall impression, to be sure!

 

Kind regards,

 

Joachim

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Mark,

 

What a great, but sad story of the sacrifices made by the Weir family- thank you so much for sharing it with us. One of the most satisfying yet sad parts of doing research for a model project is finding out about the crews and their loved ones. Your Hurricane is a wonderful tribute to the man. It is the one small thing we modelers can do to preserve the history of these young men and their machines. Beautiful Hurricane! 👍 (Off-topic, to be sure, but the Arma kit is so nice, I sure hope they will do IIc's and IId's at some point as well as Sea Hurricanes.)

Mike

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A lovely tribute to a brave family and a cracking Hurricane.

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1 hour ago, Silver Fox said:

A lovely tribute to a brave family and a cracking Hurricane.

:ditto: to what Silver Fox said.

 

Mark, I too love the research and find it a very satisfying part of our hobby. Great work! :goodjob:

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Lovely model and an excellent tribute to Flying Officer Weir DFC. Very poignant opening story too.

 

Keith

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That's a very nice Hurricane - very well done. Very sad story - we sometimes forget the tragic circumstances these aircraft hold in our wartime past. Your model is a lovely tribute. 

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I think sometimes we all are so intent on the kit then the build and all the other things involved with the project that we tend to forget the human side of the story. Thank you for researching and bringing this to our attention as I was captivated with the story behind the model. I like the model and now knowing the story behind it and what the family went through really brings it home for me. 

 

Again Thank you

King regards

Ken D

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Terrific Hurricane beautifully photographed, a fine tribute to FO Weir and his family.   Well done.

 

AW

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What an incredible piece of history and sacrifice at the altar of freedom. Great build of a Hurricane. :worthy:

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A magnificent build, made poignant by your excellent research. Well done.

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13 hours ago, MarkH206 said:

I'm sorry if this is rather wordy but, having stumbled across their story, I wanted to tell it.

No apology necessary. These stories need always to be retold and remembered!

Lovely work on the Hurricane, to be sure.

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A beautifully built model there Mark, with a well told but sad & sobering back story, it is so easy sometimes to forget the human cost behind some of these models that we build & enjoy.

 Steve.

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Very nice Mark and, as others have said, a very poignant story.

I have one of these in the stash and your post has encouraged me to, unusually for me, build it wheels down and take some more time over it.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

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As others have said, how easy it is to be unaware of the human toll behind some of the models we build. Your tribute is thoughtful and your Hurricane beautifully constructed and painted.

 

SD

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That's a spectacular build, wonderfully done

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A very fine build to one of so many tragic stories. When reading reports and the mundane words which describe the fact that a life of a comrade has ended, always make me think what really had happened for his family and friends .

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Lovely Hurricane and a very moving story.

Your build is a nice tribute to the Weir family's sacrifices.

👍

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I do think it's more satisfying when you build a model of an original aircraft that has a history attached. A memorial of sorts. 

Personally I have two projects in mind to depict a Wellington and a Whitley that came down very close to where I'm sitting. 

Hopefully I do as good a job as you. 

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A superb model and a moving story, 'nuff said.

 

:goodjob:

 

 

Davey.

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What a superb post. Interesting story, and a fantastic build. 

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