Frank Weare

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Frank Gerald Craven Weare
Nickname(s) Weary
Born (1896-06-15)15 June 1896
Southborough, Kent, England
Died 6 July 1971(1971-07-06) (aged 75)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1915–1924
Rank Flight Lieutenant
Unit The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
No. 22 Squadron RFC/RAF
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front
Awards Military Cross
Other work Company director

Flight Lieutenant Frank Gerald Craven Weare MC (15 June 1896 – 6 July 1971) was a British World War I flying ace credited with fifteen aerial victories in forty days.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Weare was born in Southborough, Kent, the son of Frank and Mary L. Weare.[1] His father ran the High Brooms Brick & Tile Company, which had been founded by his father, John Smith Weare, in 1885.[2] In 1910 Weare was sent to Charterhouse School.[3]

World War I service[edit]

Weare attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst as a "Gentlemen Cadet", and on 20 October 1915 received a commission as a second lieutenant in the York and Lancaster Regiment.[4] However, this was later cancelled, and Weare was commissioned into The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) instead.[5]

In 1917 Weare was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps and, on completion of his basic flight training, was appointed a flying officer on 11 July.[6] On 1 September 1917 he was transferred to the General List with the temporary rank of lieutenant while serving in the RFC.[7] On 24 December 1917 he was promoted to lieutenant, with seniority from 1 July.[8]

He was appointed a flight commander with the temporary rank of captain in No. 22 Squadron RFC on 11 March 1918.[9] Flying a Bristol F.2b two-seater fighter Weare gained his first victory two days later, on 13 March, with Second Lieutenant S. J. Hunter as his observer. He and Hunter gained another victory on 16 March, before Weare was paired with Lieutenant George Hayward. By the end of the month Weare and Hayward had gained six more victories.[1] On 1 April 1918, the Army's Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) were merged to form the Royal Air Force and Weare's unit became No. 22 Squadron RAF. The next day Weare and Hayward destroyed two more enemy aircraft, then three on 12 April, and two more on the 22nd, bring Weare's total to 15,[1] and Hayward's to 24.[10]

Weare was awarded the Military Cross, which was gazetted on 21 June 1918. His citation read:

Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Frank Gerald Craven Weare, East Kent Regiment and R.F.C.
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. In the course of eight days' operations he destroyed two enemy machines, drove down one out of control and enabled his observer to destroy two others. During an earlier engagement he carried out two valuable reconnaissances at a low altitude. He showed a splendid fighting spirit and displayed great skill and judgment in leading his formation."[11]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
No. 22 Squadron RFC
1 13 March 1918
@ 1615
Bristol F.2b
(A7254)
Albatros D.V Destroyed SeclinHouplines Observer: Second Lieutenant S. J. Hunter
2 16 March 1918
@ 1155
Bristol F.2b
(B1152)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed South-west of Esquerchin Observer: Second Lieutenant S. J. Hunter
3 18 March 1918
@ 1015
Bristol F.2b
(B1152)
Albatros D.V Destroyed Carvin Observer: Lieutenant George Hayward
4 24 March 1918
@ 1115–1120
Bristol F.2b
(C4828)
Albatros D.V Destroyed Chérisy Observer: Lieutenant George Hayward
5 Albatros D.V Destroyed Vis-en-Artois
6 26 March 1918
@ 1245
Bristol F.2b
(B1217)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed East of Albert Observer: Lieutenant George Hayward
7 Pfalz D.III Out of control
8 29 March 1918
@ 1545
Bristol F.2b
(B1164)
Albatros D.V Out of control Guillaucourt Observer: Lieutenant George Hayward
No. 22 Squadron RAF
9 2 April 1918
@ 1645
Bristol F.2b
(B1164)
Albatros D.V Destroyed Vauvillers Observer: Lieutenant George Hayward
10 Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames
11 12 April 1918
@ 1455–1500
Bristol F.2b
(B1253)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed South-west of Sailly Observer: Lieutenant George Hayward
12 Pfalz D.III Destroyed
13 Pfalz D.III Destroyed Sailly
14 22 April 1918
@ 0940
Bristol F.2b
(B1253)
Albatros D.V Out of control East of Merville Observer: Lieutenant George Hayward
15 Albatros D.V Out of control

Post-war career[edit]

On 1 May 1919 Weare was again appointed a temporary captain,[12] and on 1 August was granted a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force as a lieutenant,[13] becoming a flying officer when the RAF adopted its own system of ranks soon after.

In July 1920, during the annual RAF Pageant, Weare took part in a cross-country race between six Avro 504 aircraft, taking an early lead, and eventually winning.[14] On 1 January 1922 he was promoted to flight lieutenant.[15]

On 6 August 1923 Weare was one of the sixteen competitors in the "Air League Challenge Cup", representing RAF Cranwell. The race took place over a triangular course of about 100 miles (160 km), beginning and ending at Waddon Aerodrome, with all competitors flying the Bristol F.2 Fighter. Other entrants included Wing Commander J. T. Babington, representing RAF Andover, Flying Officer G. W. Hemming (RAF Farnborough), Flying Officer L. Hamilton (RAF Kenley), Wing Commander A. S. Barratt (RAF Spitalgate) and Air Commodore H. C. T. Dowding (RAF Northolt).[16] The eventual winner was Flight Lieutenant H. S. Shield, of RAF Eastchurch, with Air Commodore Dowding second, and Flight Lieutenant E. B. Rice (RAF Halton) third.[17]

On 30 January 1924 Weare resigned his RAF commission, but was permitted to retain his rank.[18]

Weare had become engaged to Eleanor Rachel Cherry-Downes in November 1923,[19] and they were married at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, on 30 April 1924.[20] They would go on to have four children.[21] Weare became a director of the High Brooms Brick & Tile Company, eventually taking control after the death of his father in 1941. The company was finally wound up in the 1960s.[2]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e "Frank Gerald Craven Weare". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Background to the Highbrooms area". Highbrooms Society. November 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Charterhouse Register, 1872-1910 (Vol.2). 1911. p. 847. Retrieved 7 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "No. 29333". The London Gazette. 19 October 1915. pp. 10286–10287. 
  5. ^ "No. 29430". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 January 1916. pp. 324–325. 
  6. ^ "No. 30214". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 July 1917. p. 7892. 
  7. ^ "No. 30315". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 September 1917. p. 10134. 
  8. ^ "No. 30444". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 December 1917. p. 13460. 
  9. ^ "No. 30618". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 April 1918. p. 4283. 
  10. ^ "George Searle Lomax Hayward". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "No. 30761". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 June 1918. p. 7425. 
  12. ^ "No. 31510". The London Gazette. 19 August 1919. p. 10478. 
  13. ^ "No. 31486". The London Gazette. 1 August 1919. p. 9868. 
  14. ^ "The RAF Pageant". Flight. XII (602): 707. 8 July 1920. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "No. 32563". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1921. p. 10720. 
  16. ^ "Air League Challenge Cup". Flight. XV (762): 457. 2 August 1923. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "The Eighth Aerial Derby". Flight. XV (763): 472. 9 August 1923. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "No. 32902". The London Gazette. 29 January 1924. p. 875. 
  19. ^ "Personals: To be Married". Flight. XV (778): 730. 22 November 1923. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  20. ^ "Personals: Married". Flight. XVI (802): 268. 8 May 1924. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "Eleanor Rachel Cherry-Downes". Geneall.net. 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
Bibliography
  • Guttman, Jon & Dempsey, Harry (2007). Bristol F2 Fighter Aces of World War I. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-201-1.