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Old 22nd September 2019, 18:24
keith A keith A is offline
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Claude Weaver - dispute over his claims?

I have read (possibly) in "Spitfire Year- Malta"? and in FFYL that some of Weaver's claims were disputed by his squadron mates (if gladly accepted by higher authority).

Reading his character assessments by his training instructors and by his last squadron leader Hugh Godefroy (undisciplined, cocky, smart-alec, wise-guy, bags of courage...) I wonder if he was a popular member of the squadron?

Certainly his remarkable record of eleven claims over Malta (eight were awarded during just four combats) deserves credit - his enthusiasm and courage were evident in every episode of his career. Malta was perfect for him.

He reminds me of McLeod and Beurling, but both of these have more post-war confirmations over Malta! Has anyone any log-book entries that dispute his claims?

regards

Keith
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Old 22nd September 2019, 20:47
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Bruce Lander Bruce Lander is offline
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Re: Claude Weaver - dispute over his claims?

Hi,
I posted this some time ago but without answer:-

On 21 December 1943 a Ju.87 of I/SKG.10 was shot down by Canadian Spitfires over it's Airfield at Peronne. According to Hugh Godefroy in his book "Lucky 13" the pilot who finished it off was Claude Weaver, however neither "Aces High" or "Stars and Bars" credits Weaver with this victory also in "2nd TAF - Vol 1" and John Foreman's "FCWD - Vol 4" it is credited to F/O Hodgson and P/O Myers of 403 Squadron.
As Godefroy's account is very detailed I wonder who is correct?

Also as I recall in "Lucky 13" Godefroy was not too critical of Weaver

Cheers

Bruce Lander
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Old 23rd September 2019, 19:39
keith A keith A is offline
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Re: Claude Weaver - dispute over his claims?

Godefroy seems to have considered him brave but undisciplined. However Godefroy also accepted Weaver's claim to have flown a sortie over France alone, while on a training mission....surely this event would be substantiated by Observer Corps reports, LW records?

My question is based on a comment I read by a contemporary on 185 Squadron who (perhaps unfairly) questioned his claims. Fighter pilots being what they are an element of competition is not surprising, but the inference was that by his account he shot down an enemy aircraft every time he fired his guns. He certainly seems to amass a high score (eleven) on Malta in a short time (two months). Were Spitfires on Malta fitted with camera guns?

His last victory flying from Malta could not possibly have been confirmed in the absence of no other witness other than himself. He is not alone in this. RRS Tuck, Douglas Bader, John Voll and countless others shoot down an enemy 'plane (or two, three or four) on their last flight. Many of his previous credits have the same doubtful provenance. One claim was generously donated to him by Keith Kuhlmann, another only slightly damaged but awarded none the less.

The circumstances of his capture on 9 September 1942 seem open to debate. He perhaps could have evaded capture by bailing out into the sea and awaiting an HSL but instead decided to crash-land in enemy territory. Good sense would indicate his decision was wise.

My thoughts are not to question his bravery, but perhaps to introduce an element of rational debate about a collection of events accepted with only Weaver's version to substantiate them.

regards

Keith
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Old 23rd September 2019, 21:14
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Bruce Lander Bruce Lander is offline
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Re: Claude Weaver - dispute over his claims?

Hi Keith'
I agree with you completely, Tuck , Bader etc as you say and many others did get carried away with some of their claims.
I would recommend "Paddy Finucane And The Legend of the Kenley Wing 1942" by Anthony Cooper which is a brilliant book on this subject. As you say it is not about bravery and indeed many factors influenced this over claiming.
( in most cases)
The 109 diving away belching smoke and flame from it's boost, a plane seen going into the sea which was in many cases one of our own or a parachute, all in the frantic excitement of combat

Bruce Lander
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Old 24th September 2019, 06:57
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Claude Weaver - dispute over his claims?

Hello,
Ok, so Claude Weaver may not have been liked by his fellow airmen. Perhaps it was because his parents were German, so he was a German Yank from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Anyway in his short life I feel that he achieved much.
He, being an American, joined the RCAF.

On the 15th July 1942 flew a Spitfire off the deck of HMS Eagle in Operation Pinpoint flying it to Malta.
The next day, 16th flying BR292 he claimed an e/a.
On the 22nd in EP122 he made a claim for 2 e/a.
On the 23rd in EP122 he claimed "a brace" of Bf109's.
On the 24th in EP122 he jointly claimed a Ju88
On the 26th a bombing raid could not find target , returned with bombs.
On the 27th, bombing again.
On 31st in EP343 crash landed.
August 42
On 2nd in EP139 claimed a Bf109.
On 17th in BR374 claimed 2 Bf109's - no losses ?
On 25th in BR374 claimed 1 e/a probable.
On 27th in BR374 airfield attack, claimed 2 Ju88's and 1 Bf109 damaged.
September 42
9th in BR112 'X', claimed 1 Bf109, was shot down by an Italian.

Either with Italy's capitulation or at he rejoined allied forces.
Being returned to the UK he joined 403 RCAF Sqn.

On 30/12/43 claimed a Bf109.

On 21/01/44 claimed an FW190.
FTR 28/01/44 flying Spitfire MA642. On a Ranger to Amiens. Met by Fw190's of II/JG26, being shot down by Feldwebel Gerhard Vogt.
Who reported that Weaver attempted to bail but was caught on the Spitfire's tail. He died in Hospital several hours later.

He rests in the British plot, grave 9, Meharicourt Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.
His age when killed was just 19 years of age.
He was awarded the DFC, DFM & Bar.

His brother David aged only 20 years was killed at Iwo Jima on the 5th March, 1945.

Both remembered with honour and respect.

Alex

Last edited by Alex Smart; 24th September 2019 at 12:46.
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Old 24th September 2019, 10:39
keith A keith A is offline
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Re: Claude Weaver - dispute over his claims?

Cheers Bruce. I have read Tony Cooper's book and it's a great and fair account about the controversy over the issue of claims by Commonwealth squadrons in 1941. He highlights the effects on members of other squadrons who find themselves unfairly judged and on RAF intelligence.

Alex, with respect I don't think his German parents would have been an issue. His bravery is also not open to debate. To fly in action (especially over Malta) required character. My question harps back to the Billy Bishop controversy of WW1. Was he just careless about his claims? I doubt it. If he didn't care about scores he would not have made regular high estimates of his results. If I am honest I believe he was exactly the person identified during his training. A boastful individual with no desire to work as part of a team. Once identified as such I expect his squadron mates just rolled their eyes when he returned with claims of another double kill.

regards

Keith
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