Sergeant Jack Squire - 101 Squadron  
   

Sergeant Jack Squire - RAFVR

 

 Sergeant Jack Squire  was serving as rear gunner on board Lancaster Mk.III JA715 coded SR-C for an operation to Ludwigshafen on February 1/2 1945. The aircraft departed from Ludford Magna  at 1544hrs with F/Lt Harrison at the controls. It proceeded on course towards the target when it encountered another Lancaster at the same height 100 yards on the starboard beam, on a course directly at right angles to them.

 At the time a shout was heard and F/Lt Harrison’s Lancaster went into a steep dive which he could not control. F/Lt Harrison remembers being rolled over and his face being forced against something and his helmet being ripped off. He managed to pull the ripcord on his parachute and made a safe landing in a field near the village of Bezanc-Le-Grand. During his descent, he saw two large flashes  and heard  the sound of explosions with pieces of the stricken Lancaster falling around him. The Wireless Operator, Sgt Whiteford, also managed to make a safe landing in a ploughed field about 5 miles away from where the F/Lt Harrison had landed. They were both picked up by the U.S. Army, all other crew members including Sgt Jack Squire perished.

 Whilst at US Divisional H.Q. a number of escape aids, whistles etc were brought in together with a list of four names which Captain Harrison recognised as being 101 squadron members (Sgt Widdows & Sgt O’Donnell). The other Lancaster I ME 863 SR-K was Captained by Flight Lieutenant Robert Boyd RAAF, also of 101 Squadron, both Lancaster’s crashing at 1906hrs near to Sorneville. It is believed that their funerals were held at Epinal by the 7th US army. The crew members who perished were later re interred in Choloy War Cemetery. Sergeant Whiteford who survived this collision was in charge of the specialist equipment

The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown  Age
F/L Robert  Harrison  RAFVR Pilot - -
F/Sgt  John Breare  RAFVR Flight Engineer - -
F/Sgt Richard Swain  RAFVR Navigator Barking Essex 24
F/Sgt Geoffrey Hillman  RAFVR Bomb Aimer - -
Sgt Robert Whiteford - EVD RAFVR W/Op/AG - -
F/Sgt David Mackay  RAFVR M/Up Gunner Craigie,Perth.  26
Sgt Frank Smith  RAFVR Special Duties - -
Sgt Jack Squire RAFVR Rear Gunner Hammersmith,London  20

 

 Sergeant Jack Squire RAFVR was the son of Henry and Kathleen Squire of  40 Mall Road, Hammersmith, London The house was bombed during the Blitz and happily the family were uninjured and later moved to 21 Flanchford Rd, Hammersmith. He was one of nine brothers and four sisters and had a fiancée, Lily. Jack  had served in the Air Training Corps and then started his tour in July 1944. His  regular  crew was piloted by Walter Hrynkiw (DFC) RCAF. They had already  finished their tour so Jack then joined the Harrison crew as rear gunner filling in for their normal gunner who was ill.

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Jack (far right) with orignal crew.

101 Squadron was the only Lancaster squadron in Bomber Command to be fitted with "ABC" (Airborne Cigar) counter measures. They were to fly more missions than any other Squadron in 1 Group on Lancaster’s 101 Squadron was one of the first Squadron’s to be equipped with the new Rose Rice rear turret fitted with twin .50 inch Browning Machine Guns, instead of the standard four 303’s in a Frazer Nash Turret.

Photos and information courtesy of Jack Taylor, research by Linda Ibrom