Pilot Officer Claude “Weavy” Weaver III DFC, DFM & Bar, MID

DoB: August 18, 1923

DoD: January 28, 1944

Cause of death: Unknown, presumed dead after being MIA

Awards:

Distinguished Flying Cross

Distinguished Flying Medal and Bar

Mentioned in Despatches

Confirmed kills: 

12.5, 3 probable

Sqn. History:

No.1A Manning Depot, Picton

No.3 ITS, Victoriaville

No.17 EFTS, Stanley, Nova Scotia

No.8 SFTS, Moncton

No.3 PRC

No.56 OTU, Sutton Bridge

No.185 Squadron

No.421 Squadron

No.412 Squadron

No.403 Squadron

Photo of P/O Weaver taken prior to 1944

Used with permission from acesofww2.com

Biography

Claude Weaver was an eager young man, reportedly fighting to convince his parents to let him enlist as part of the RCAF. At 17 he was “very bright” and the “athletic type”. In his time training, he had many misdemeanours on his file for being a little rebellious. Despite being very bright and clever at his young age, he also happened to be a bit of a “smart alec”. However, his superiors noticed his immense amount of courage and interest in aviation. After having a forced landing, in which he struck his plane into trees, and ran into a ditch, his logbook shows general improvement in his flying abilities, getting “Exceptional” and “Above Average” gradings on his flying. Out of the plane however, he supposedly still needed improvement in his discipline.

On the tenth of October, 1941, LAC (at the time) Weaver was presented his wings. On the 17th of July, 1942, he shot down and destroyed a Me109 with his Spitfire BR292. Five days later, on the 22nd, he destroyed two German fighters on a single flight and then repeated this performance the very next day. The day after that, he claimed the shared destruction of a German bomber. By the time he became a Sergeant, Weaver had destroyed 5 enemy aircraft and assisted in another kill. All these kills occurred in his first week of air fighting over Malta, an achievement that was not overlooked by his seniors. Even though he was relatively inexperienced, he was viewed as an inspiration to the other fighter pilots in his unit.

In September of 1942, Weaver was a prisoner of war in three separate camps. After two unsuccessful attempts, he was finally able to escape by climbing over a 16ft wall and two layers of barb wire. He had spent just over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he was thoroughly inspected, beaten, and put into solitary confinement. Accompanied by Liet Harlod Rideout, they travelled around 300 miles through various methods, often in disguise. They were eventually found and returned safely. After his long journey, Weaver was finally reunited with his old squadron.

After being posted to a few other squadrons, it was at No.421 squadron when he came into contact with the enemy again. On his first day, he was told to get familiar with the Spitfire IX and the local airspace. However, P/O Weaver decided to fly into France and do some strafing, against orders. He returned to base with a spinner missing from its prop, having been shot off. He was nearly transferred back to Air Force Headquarters, but Wing Commander Hugh Godefroy decided to let him stay, provided he didn’t pull another stunt.

After being transferred to no. 403 squadron, he briefly flew with F/L Beurling, assisting in another destroyed plane over France with a separate pilot. Later, a bombing raid led to the second-highest losses over Berlin. It was after this that Weaver was “missing after the air operations”. While missing he was awarded the D.F.C. and M.I.D. He was presumed dead later that year. At 19, he was a courageous inspiration to those he flew with, and the youngest Allied WW2 Ace.

Trivia

  • At 19 years old, he was the youngest Allied ace of WW2

  • Flew in Spitfire Mk.IX when he decided to fly into enemy territory alone. You can see a Spitfire Mk. IX in the Museum of Flight

  • Flew with Beurling for a short period

 

References

Claude "Weavy" Weaver III. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2020, from https://acesofww2.com/can/aces/weaver/