George Squires was born in Thame in 1878, one of five children to Benjamin and Emma Squires of 36 Park Street, later of 17 Park Street*. After serving an apprenticeship as a compositor with the Thame Gazette, he moved to Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire in 1901 to work as a print compositor for the John Dickinson Stationery Co (Lion and Basildon Bond) working at their plant at Apsley Mills.
Along with a large number of the firm’s employees he joined up in March 1916, enlisting with the Bedfordshire Regiment.
He was sent to France with the 7th Battalion in July 1916 as part of a reinforcing draft due to the heavy losses sustained by the Battalion in the attack on the Pommiers Redoubt near Montauban on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. After further training and rest and recuperation, the reinforced Battalion further action on the Somme at Thiepval, Ancre Heights and the Ancre.
In 1917 after taking part in the Third Battle of the Scarpe at Arras, the Battalion moved to Belgium to prepare for the Third Battle of Ypres. They were first in action at Pilckem Ridge, followed by Langemark on 16th August. George, having been promoted to Corporal the previous May, was in B Company when they were ordered to attack a German strong point known locally as Inverness Copse.
The British artillery barrage fell short and killed or wounded over 50% of the Company. George, age 39, was one of the casualties and buried in a battlefield grave, before being reinterred in 1920.
27854 Corporal George Squires, Bedfordshire Regiment, is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke. He is remembered in Thame on the War Memorial and on the Memorial Boards of St Mary’s Church and All Saints’ Church.
* Note on address:
The book, “Thame Remembers – the fallen” (page 50) makes reference to his last address in Thame as 71 Park Street, Thame. This was a regrettable typing error and is now corrected to 17 Park Street. His parents continued to live at this address for many years.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to Tyne Cot Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium on 30th October 2015 by Gill Read