Weir, James Kenneth (No. 133093)

Weir, James Kenneth

Flying Officer

No. 133093, 15 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed on active service on Thursday 15 June 1944 (aged 31)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 209)

Rockport School Craigavad

Campbell College Belfast

BIOGRAPHY

James Kenneth Weir was born on 20 July 1912 and he was a son of William and Mabel Florence Weir (nee Edwards) of Roseneath, Cranmore Gardens, Malone Road, Belfast and then The Cottage, Glenavy, Co. Antrim.  They were married on 23 February 1911 in Belmont Presbyterian Church, Belfast.

William Weir was one of the first pupils to attend Campbell College, Belfast in 1894 and he worked as a master cotton spinner before becoming Managing Director of the Springfield Spinning Company Ltd., Belfast and later the Standard Finishing Company Ltd.

James Kenneth Weir’s mother, Mabel Florence, died in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast on 12 July 1936 (aged 51) and his father William died in Whiteabbey Sanatorium on 7 January 1944 (aged 64).  Both were buried in Dundonald Cemetery (Grave D3. 414).

James Kenneth Weir was educated at Rockport School, Craigavad and Campbell College and after he left school he worked as an inspector for the Beacon Insurance Company, Belfast.  James Kenneth Weir joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and in 1943 he visited Campbell College at Portrush.  He served with Bomber Command and he died on 15 June 1944.  He was one of a seven-man crew aboard an Avro Lancaster Mark I aircraft (LL889) that took off at 11.31 pm from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk on a mission to bomb E-boat facilities in le Havre.

E (Enemy) boats were fast attack craft of the Kriegsmarine (Nazi German Navy). 

Their aircraft crashed and all but one were killed.

Flight Sergeant R.M. Gilleade survived and managed to evade capture.

In addition to Flying Officer James Kenneth Weir the other five crew members who died that night were:

  • Flight Lieutenant Ronald Leonard Purry (aged 21), Royal Australian Air Force
  • Sergeant Ronald John Rolfe (aged 21) from Slough, Buckinghamshire
  • Pilot Officer Noel Goodridge (aged 20), Royal Australian Air Force
  • Flight Sergeant Thomas Lowry Nixon (aged 19) from Omagh, Co. Tyrone
  • Sergeant Christopher Felix Cantwell (aged 24) from Liverpool

Flying Officer James Kenneth Weir was 31 when he died and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey; in Rockport School Craigavad, and in Campbell College Belfast.

In a tribute published in the July 1945 edition of The Campbellian (Vol. 11, No. 3) he was described as a boy of unassuming character and pleasant disposition.