A First War Pair to Pilot Weller; Shot Down Over Vlamertinghe
A First War Pair to Pilot Weller; Shot Down Over Vlamertinghe - British War Medal (LT W H WELLER RAF DUPLICATE); Victory Medal (LT W H WELLER RAF DUPLICATE); Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; and War Medal 1939-1945. Naming is impressed on the First World War Medals. Un-mounted, dark patina on the BWM, surface wear on the VM, light contact, better than very fine. Accompanied by a Junior Eights 2nd Place Rowing Medal 1909 (two-piece construction, sterling silver and red enamels, suspended from a sterling silver and red enamelled pinback hanger, inscribed "1909 BACK TO MONTREAL" and engraved "JUNIOR EIGHT OARS 2nd PRIZE", 31.5 mm x 36.5 mm, original ribbon), a Photograph of Weller in his First World War RAF Uniform (sepia-toned, with retouched RAF insignia on his left breast, board-mounted and maker marked "SWAINE" on the reverse, 126 mm x 178 mm), an Association of Professional Engineers of the Province of Ontario Certificate (announcing that he had been enrolled as a Registered Professional Engineer in the Branch of Civil Engineering, dated April 26, 1935, 296 mm x 408 mm) and a Binder containing two small photographs of Weller in Uniform, his Royal Military College of Canada Cadet Report Card (for the term 1908-1909, dated June 25, 1909), along with copies of his First World War Royal Air Force Log, Wireless Telephony and Altigram/Record of Height, his Second World War Royal Canadian Air Force Officer's Application and Record Sheet, plus Service Records, his Statement of Service in the Canadian Armed Forces and assorted research papers. Footnote: William Henry Weller was born on October 23, 1888 in Cornwall, Ontario, the son of Major John L. Weller (Canadian Militia) and Madeleine Weller (nee Whitehead). In regards to both his military and civil lives, young Weller would follow in his father's footsteps. His father, John Weller, was born in Cobourg, Ontario and was in a class of thirty-three that graduated in 1883 from Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, finishing fourth in his class and receiving a First Class Certificate in Engineering. He won awards in marksmanship, canoeing and golf. The senior Weller's military career spanned four and a half decades, highlighted by his participation with the 57th (Midland) Battalion during the Northwest Rebellion in 1885, serving as a Staff Adjutant to Major-General J.W. Laurie. As a young engineer, John Weller was first assigned to survey for locks on the Trent Valley River system in 1883 and the Murray Canal near Brighton, Ontario in 1884, which launched his lifetime career in canal engineering. He was promoted to Assistant Engineer for the Cornwall Canal enlargement in 1887 and became Resident Engineer in 1892. During his time in Cornwall, he joined the 59th Stormont and Glengarry Battalion of Infantry and was promoted to Major in 1887. In 1900, he was transferred to the Lake Erie shore of the Niagara Peninsula, bringing his family with him, where he was assigned to the Port Colborne Harbour Improvement, and later that year to Superintending Engineer of the Third Welland Canal. His greatest achievement was his role as Engineer-in-Charge of the planning, surveying and construction of the Fourth Welland Ship Canal between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie from 1912 to 1932, with the canal ranking as one of the outstanding engineering feats of the twentieth century. Weller designed a straight path over the Niagara Escarpment, creating a more efficient and direct route, incorporating reinforced concrete in his design and initiating the use of massive machinery, to support and operate his massive construction. The town of Port Weller, Ontario was named in his honour. His only son, William Henry Weller, would continue the family tradition set out by his father. He was educated at Cornwall Public School (1893 to 1902), St. Catharines Collegiate Institute (1902 to 1905) and Bishop Ridley College (1902 to 1905, where he earned a Diploma). He entered the Royal Military College of Canada as a Gentleman Cadet in 1906 and was in a graduating class of thirty-one students in 1908-1909. In his Report Card, dated June 25, 1909 and signed by the RMC Commandant, his marks revealed good academics: Excellent (Physics), Very Good (Drills and Exercises, Chemistry, Surveying), Good (Military Engineering, Civil Engineering) and Fair (Reconnaissance, French). He was also on a team that placed Second in the Junior Eights Rowing Competition in Montreal in 1909. Weller was named a Lieutenant in the Canadian Militia on June 24, 1909, followed eleven days later by a posting to the St. Catharines Regiment on July 5th with the same rank. He was later named Captain in the 19th Lincoln Regiment on September 20, 1911, then Captain in the 2nd Battalion, Corps Reserve on October 2, 1913. Before enlisting with the 19th Infantry Battalion CEF, he was employed by the St, Mary's Cement Company, which was supplying cement for construction of the Welland Canal, with his father instrumental in securing the contract. It is worthy to note that when he later joined the Royal Flying Corps, he stated his occupation as Contracting Engineer. Weller became a Captain in the 19th Infantry Battalion CEF but did not go overseas with the Battalion in 1915. After his resignation from the Battalion, he was accepted as a candidate into the Royal Flying Corps by Captain Lord A.R. Innesker, sailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the S.S. Olympic on October 13, 1916 for service overseas. Weller was appointed as a 2nd Lieutenant on probation with the Imperial Army (Royal Flying Corps, Special Reserve) and posted to Oxford on October 19, 1916, for Ground School Instruction. In the new year, Weller sailed for Egypt on January 16, 1917, where he trained at Heliopolis with 21 Reserve Squadron and at Suez with 58 Reserve Squadron in March. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (Flying Officer) with the Royal Flying Corps, Special Reserve (Military Wing, Aeroplanes) on May 15, 1917. Upon his return to England, he was posted to No. 58 Reserve Squadron, Royal Flying Corps on May 19th, where he trained on BE 2Es and Bristol Fighter Falcon 3s at Croydon, followed by a move to Port Meadow, Oxford on June 3rd with 17 Reserve Squadron. Weller was part of 15 Squadron Expeditionary Force that left for overseas service in Western Europe on June 16, 1917. He arrived in St. Omer, France and was posted to 15 Squadron at Courcelles-le-Comte on the 19th with "A" Flt. under Officer Commanding Bill Barker. Three weeks later, he was posted to 4 Squadron at Abeele, Belgium with "B" Flt. on July 8th. The RE8 pilots were required to fill the need for replacements in Flanders. Weller was one of those chosen and like most "young turks", he wanted to be a "dime-a-dozen" fighter pilot. His Commanding Officer at 17 Training School tried in vain to have him transferred to scouts. During the month of July 1917, he documented mishaps that occurred along the way, including losing his way and landing in Dunkirk (July 12th), puncturing a tire, which forced him to overshoot the aerodrome and land in a potato patch (July 17th) and describing his first crash as a "bad landing" (July 19th). Weller was piloting an RE8 (A/4220) over Belgium on September 16, 1917, when his formation was broken up by "Archie" (slang for anti-aircraft gun or gunnery). His aircraft was shot down by five enemy aircraft, killing his Observer. Although Weller was wounded with machine gun bullets in his right leg, he successfully landed the damaged aircraft in Vlamertinghe, Belgium. He was invalided to England and after finishing his convalescence, he was given leave to Canada, in order to marry. He married Irene Gordon Morrison, who was from St. Peters, Nova Scotia, in St. Paul's Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 15, 1918. Upon his return to England, he was appointed as a Lieutenant in the Administrative and Special Duties Branch, in the newly formed Royal Air Force, on April 1, 1918. The British Army's Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), which was the air arm of the Royal Navy, merged to form the new service, the first of its kind in the world. He was taken on strength at Headquarters 53 Wing and posted to "C" Flt. 141 HD Squadron at Biggin Hill on April 15, 1918, then attached to 189 Night Training Squadron (Temporary), to instruct on RE8s, in addition to acting as a Temporary Flight Commander on May 10, 1918. Seventeen days later, he returned to 141 Squadron and was posted to "B" Flt. on May 27th. During the month of June, he was on air raid patrol, before assigned as a Temporary under instruction for Wireless Telephony at No. 2 Wireless School at Penshurst, Essex during July and August. He also participated in local searchlight patrols beginning in July, until the end of the year. Weller returned to 141 Squadron in September, with his last flight with them taking place on January 25, 1919. He was posted to 44 Squadron at Hainault Farm on February 11, 1919, where he ceased to be attached, followed by his demobilization on February 12th at the Crystal Palace Dispersal Centre. After the war, he returned to Canada and took employment with his father's company, Concrete Pipe and Products in Hamilton (1919 to 1923), followed by a stint in self-contracting in the United States (1923 to 1927). After his American enterprise, he was attached to several contractors in the course of nine years (1927 to 1938). During this period, Weller continued his construction industry education. The Association of Professional Engineers of the Province of Ontario announced that he had been enrolled as a Registered Professional Engineer in the Branch of Civil Engineering, on April 26, 1935. His new degree enabled him to get a job as an Assistant in Charge of Bridge Construction with the Ontario Department of Highways in Toronto (1938 to 1941), followed by a position as a General Supervisor with a firm in Montreal, Quebec (1941 to 1942). Weller signed his Royal Canadian Air Force Officer's Application and Record Sheet, on January 19, 1943 in Hamilton, Ontario, naming his next-of-kin as his sister, Miss O.E. Weller of Hamilton, as both his parents were deceased (his father in 1932), stating that he had previous military service with the 19th Lincoln Regiment (1907 to 1913), the Royal Flying Corps (1916 to 1918) and the Royal Air Force (1918 to 1919), that he was Married, along with documenting his Contracting Career in Concrete. He also stated that he enjoyed Golf and Curling, in addition to listing his hobbies as Curling and Concrete. He was excepted into the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Flight Lieutenant (C-24085), on February 19, 1943, in Hamilton, Ontario. He was named a Temporary Flying Officer/Pilot Officer on March 1st, then posted to No. 5 Manning Depot in Lachine Quebec on March 3rd, followed by a transfer to No. 1 Operational Training School at Ste. Marguerite, Quebec the next day. After seven weeks at Ste. Marguerite, he was transferred to Air Force Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario on April 22nd. His previous employment in the construction industry as a Contractor and knowledge of concrete made him a valuable asset to the RCAF. After ten weeks in Ottawa, he was transferred to No. 1 Construction and Maintenance Unit in Toronto, Ontario on July 1, 1943, then returned to Ottawa for one day on September 8th, before arriving at No. 1 KTS (Composite Training School) in Trenton, Ontario the next day. By the latter part of October, he was posted to No. 3 T.C. in Montreal, Quebec on the 22nd, named Acting Flight Lieutenant on the 24th and transferred to No. 3 Construction and Maintenance Unit in Montreal on the 25th. Weller was transferred to No. 8 Construction and Maintenance Unit in Tufts Cove, Clarence Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 18, 1944. He is documented as being at "Y" Depot in Moncton, New Brunswick, at St. Paul's Island (July 19 to 22, 1944), Sydney and St. Paul's (August 9 to 14, 1944), Summerside, Prince Edward Island (December 8 to 12, 1944), Debert, Nova Scotia (February 7 to March 28, 1945), before being transferred back to Tufts Cove on April 16th. He returned to Summerside, PEI on May 10, 1945, with stops later in Moncton and Debert, before being transferred to the RCAF Station at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on November 25, 1945. Eleven days after arriving in Dartmouth, Flight Lieutenant Weller was honourably discharged on Medical Grounds, on December 6, 1945.