When he enlisted in London Arthur James Squires was recorded as living at South Woodford. His background is
rather vague, but he is the Arthur J Squires, nephew, who along with his brother Albert lived with Arthur (Council Gardener), and Sarah Ridley & family at Buckhurst Hill. In 1901 they were at 2 Chatford Terrace, Lower Queens Road, and in 1911, at 3 Albert Cottages, Queens Road.
John James Squires lived in the Borough area of south London and was a Market Worker. On 24th December 1893 at St George’s Southwark he married Domestic Servant Eliza Gunn, and they had two sons. Albert was born in October 1894 and Arthur in late 1896 or early 1897, but for whom no records seem to have been created. The family then became fractured, Eliza returning to her roots in Ockendon, and the boys being looked after by her sister Sarah who had married Arthur Ridley and lived in Buckhurst Hill. At some time before late 1917 she and her husband moved to 34 Cleveland Road, which was just over the South Woodford border in Wanstead. This explains how Arthur Squires appears on the Roll of Honour for Holy Trinity Church. It is unclear whether he ever lived in Cleveland Road with his relatives.
He served with the London Rifle Brigade in Europe from 2nd September 1915 to 1st July 1916. During this latter date, the Battalion participated in the diversionary attack at Gommecourt. This was intended to divert German resources from the main attack on what was the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. The well constructed and defended German positions at Gommecourt had survived an intensive artillery bombardment - which was not apparent until the British attackers walked into hail of machine gun fire. The “Diversion” cost 6769 casualties, 2206 of whom were fatalities, over 60% of which came from the 56 (London) Division. Gommecourt was not captured and there was little to show for the cost in men.
Arthur Squires was reported missing and his death was in due course “presumed” to have occurred on this day.
The Army noted that his personal effects had been forwarded to his father John J Squires, so some level of communication had been maintained between them.
Arthur, who was never recovered, is also commemorated on the Wanstead War Memorial.
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian
Michael Thompson (researcher of Wanstead’s war dead)