Major John Weir OBE

Major John Weir OBE, born on September 2, 1913, in Westport, Tarbolton, was the third son in a family of three boys and three girls. His father, John Weir, was a highly respected engine winding expert at Tofts Colliery, a place that now exists only as a grassy mound on the road to Monkton, Ayrshire. The Weir family originally hailed from Burnfoothill, Patna, Ayrshire, while his mother, Janet Weir (Cuthbert), was a Coylton native. John’s schooldays were filled with fond memories of the village and the surrounding countryside. Sundays were spent walking with friends from Tarbolton to Failford, along the river, with occasional pranks along the way. School holidays saw John assisting the Sommervilles at Scoutts Farm and the Wilsons of Torcross, preparing horses for Agricultural Shows in nearby villages. As a pupil at Newton Park School, Ayr, football became an integral part of John’s daily routine. He excelled as a goalkeeper, contributing to victories in the ‘Gould Cup’ Ayrshire Schools Medals in 1927 and 1928, as well as securing the League Cup in 1928. Notably, his brother Jimmy played for Celtic football club, and another brother, Bill, achieved international recognition as a referee.

John pursued further education at Ayr Academy and then Glasgow University, graduating with an MA in 1934. In 1938, he was initiated into Lodge Tarbolton (Kilwinning) St James No. 135, eventually becoming its Master in 1948. In November 1983, he assumed the role of Provincial Grand Master (PGM) of Ayrshire, a position he held until 1988.

His personal life intertwined with history when he met his future wife, Mrs. Weir (Nancy Morrison of Cumnock), while both were school representatives selecting a wedding gift for a staff member.

During World War II, John served with distinction in the Scots Guards and later with the 11th Airmobile Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers. He received numerous mentions in dispatches for his actions during the Allied push from Normandy to the Rhine and the daring crossing of the Turnholt Canal in Belgium. His bravery during the drive from Nijmegen to Arnhem was also recognised, as he ensured no loss of life in his company and maintained constant contact with Battalion Headquarters.

John’s civic contributions were notable, serving as a Justice of the Peace for the County of Ayr, a member of the District Licensing Court, Chairman of the Children’s Panel Committee, and actively participating in the Tarbolton Literary Society and the Tarbolton Bachelors’ Club Committee.

An ardent Robert Burns enthusiast, John was widely recognised as an authority on the Lochlea period of Burns’ life and delivered the ‘Immortal Memory’ across Scotland and beyond. His dedication to preserving Burns’ legacy left an indelible mark on those who shared his passion. On 20 January 1971, the first Burns Supper was held at the Bachelors’ Club, resided over by it’s third President and Chairman Major John Weir OBE.

Major John Weir OBE - Composed by John C Grant ( Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

A guide track for ‘Major John Weir OBE’ is available below for listening: -

You can download a PDF of the sheet music here - or braille format here.

The track is additionally available within the following collections and sets: -

Associated Collections: -
4/4 Ayrshire Characters Bachelors Club Bagpipe Reel The Tarbolton Collection

Associated PDF Download Sets: -
Tarbolton Reels 1