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Arthur Vigers

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Dec 15, 2021

Captain Arthur Whitehair VigersMC, DFC (20 January 1890 – September 1968) was a British World War I flying ace credited with 14 aerial victories.[1] He was the third ranking of the 27 aces who flew the Sopwith Dolphin,[2] and the highest scoring ace in his squadron.[3]

Arthur Whitehair Vigers
Nickname(s) Wiggy
Born (1890-01-20)20 January 1890
Isleworth, Middlesex, United Kingdom
Died September 1968 (aged 7778)
Bunbury, Western Australia
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1908–1919
Rank Captain
Unit London Cable Signal Company
No. 15 Squadron RFC
No. 87 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
  Western Front
Awards Military Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross
Other work Commercial pilot in Australia and served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II

. . . Arthur Vigers . . .

Vigers was born in Isleworth, Middlesex, the son of Thomas William Vigers and Margaret Mary (née Whitehair), and was educated at Mill Hill School, London. In 1908 he enlisted into the London Cable Signal Company, part of the London District Signals, a Territorial Force unit of the Royal Engineers Signal Service.[4]

Vigers was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the London Cable Signal Company on 5 September 1914,[5] and on 9 December 1914 he was one of the many officers from the London Signal Companies who were seconded to the regular army.[6]

On 11 July 1915 Vigers was appointed a temporary lieutenant.[7] He received a mention in despatches for “gallant and distinguished service in the field” from Field-Marshal John French, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in France on 30 November 1915,[8] and on 14 January 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross.[9]

On 12 May 1917 Vigers was seconded for duty with Royal Flying Corps,[10] being appointed a flying officer (observer), with seniority from 1 February 1917.[11] He flew as an observer in No. 15 Squadron RFC,[4] and was promoted to lieutenant on 1 July 1917.[12] He then trained as a pilot, and was appointed a flying officer on 16 November 1917.[1][13]

He was posted to No. 87 Squadron RAF to fly the Sopwith Dolphin single-seat fighter. He gained his first victories on 3 June 1918, shooting down two enemy fighter aircraft. On 10 August he accounted for three more, taking his total to five and making him an ace. He shot down three in August,[4] and was appointed a flight commander with the temporary rank of captain on 1 September,[14] going on to account for six more aircraft that month.[1][4]

On 1 November 1918 Vigers was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. His citation read:

Lieutenant Arthur Whitehair Vigers, MC.
“A gallant and skilful airman. During the recent operations whilst leading a formation of eight machines he saw a group of twelve Fokker biplanes; without hesitation he attacked them, and, in the engagement, crashed two and shot down another out of control. Since June last he has crashed three enemy aeroplanes and driven down three out of control.”[15]

Vigers remained with No. 87 Squadron after the Armistice, receiving a second mention in despatches from Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig on 16 March 1919,[16] and was again appointed a temporary captain on 1 May 1919.[17]

. . . Arthur Vigers . . .

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. . . Arthur Vigers . . .