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Remembered Today:

Royal Flying Corps - help with identification


SteveS54

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The attached photograph has turned up at Luton Museum, and I was sent a copy because the gentleman in the picture appears to share my surname.

The only information on the back is the name SQUIRES, but with no initial. I presume there is a family connection with Luton for the museum to have the picture - Squires was quite a common surname in the town in the late 1800's and most of them were related to each other.

As far as I can can tell from the MIC roll there were very few men with this surname in the RFC, so I wondered whether anyone on the forum might be able to use the image to identify which one this could be. I know he doesn't come from my own branch of the Squires family in Luton, but with a first name or even an initial I might be able to work out who he is.

Many thanks

Steve

edit July 2015 - image deleted to free up disk space

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Hi Steve

There are quite a few Squires on the RAF muster roll at Findmypast: http://tinyurl.com/q2l75yw including two with a stated Bedfordshire birthplace - William John Squires, born 1873, (age 45) and James Squires, born 1872 (age 46), both attested in 1918. I have to say though that I would doubt that either gentleman was the subject of this photo because both only joined in 1918 and they would have been unlikely to have risen to sergeant by 31st March 1918, when the RFC ceased to exist. There are numerous other RAF Squires whose places of birth are not stated - and of course someone living in Luton might have been born anywhere (or they may have lived elsewhere and sent their photo to family or a girlfriend living in Luton). I regret I don't have a subscription to findmypast so can't look at these records further. There are a couple of Squires in "A Contemptible little Flying Corps" http://tinyurl.com/pt6e8yb but the one who one can see on the preview spent much of his career in the RNAS and the other is on a page which isn't previewed so I can't see it (I don't have the book).

There is not a great deal to go on in the photo; I would say he could have been in his late twenties/early thirties maybe? He is not wearing pilots or observer's wings or any medal ribbon in the photo. The photo is maybe a little less formal than some of those at the very beginning of the war - so might be guess that it was taken in 1916/17 perhaps? So in order to get the Sergeant he maybe joined in 1914/15? I make these suggestions simply to try to establish a starting point to try to eliminate less likely possibilities. Is there any indication of how Luton museum acquired the picture? For example, might it form part of an archive which came from a particular source? Just writing someone's surname on the back doesn't sound very personal to me, so it probably wasn't written there by a family member. Might it be a photo which accompanied an obituary perhaps? Were there any local newspapers in the area which may have published photos of men who were casualties or who made the news in some other way (eg medals?)? Or a school which published photos of former pupils? On the other hand since men often referred to each other just by their surnames it may just have been scribbled on the back by a friend. I suppose the first question is, where did the photo come from before it got to the museum and if they can't answer that, the second one is are there any similar ones in the same sort of filing series?

Cheers

Piers

Edited by pierssc
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Hi Piers

Many thanks for your comments and suggestions - very much appreciated, and plenty of food for thought!

I agree that it is probably not possible to get much further without more information from the museum. The picture came to me via a cousin who has a friend who helps out at Luton Museum, and who spotted the surname. I will get back to him to see whether there is any more contextual information at the museum that might help with the identification of this man.

Thanks also for the link to the muster roll on FMP - wasn't aware that such a list existed and will definitely check this out.

Regards

Steve

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