Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Know this Squire?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    289
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Know this Squire?

    Sqd Ldr Frank Squire DSO DFC WW pilot, whose son became Sir Peter Squire Chief of Air Staff. Information on his wartime service and prior to that appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Stockholm
    Posts
    1,225
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 41 Times in 39 Posts

    Default Re: Know this Squire?

    DSO while on No. 210 Squadron. Service number 44270

    http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/00013.php

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/.../3094/data.pdf

    No squadron shown in LG for his DFC. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/.../1188/data.pdf

    Regards,

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,406
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 7 Times in 5 Posts

    Default Re: Know this Squire?

    SQUIRE, Frank, F/L (44270, Royal Air Force) - Pembroke Dock - Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 12 March 1943. Following text from Air Ministry Bulletin 9511.

    In December 1942, orders were given for a special reconnaissance involving a flight of over 2,000 miles over the sea. Flight Lieutenant Squire agreed to captain this sortie. A successful take-off was made, despite a very rough sea and high wind, and after a 27 hours flight, Flight Lieutenant Squire landed the aircraft safely. The greater part of the flight was completed in very bad weather and thick cloud, which made navigation particularly difficult. This daring sortie completed in extremely hazardous circumstances was made possible only by great leadership and determination on the part of Flight Lieutenant Squire.

    SQUIRE, Frank, F/L, DFC (44270, Royal Air Force) - No.210 Squadron - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 9 July 1943. A former NCO pilot (562329), granted a Distinguished Pass at No.5 Flying Training School, Sealand, October 1934. Attained rank of Flight Sergeant. Commissioned 1940. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1942. Awarded DFC in March 1943. Home in Bristol. No citation in Gazette. Following text from Air Ministry Bulletin 10770 of 9 July 1943.

    In April 1943, this officer was captain of an aircraft on anti-submarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay when a submarine was attacked. Flight Lieutenant Squire pressed home his attack, diving down to 50 feet before releasing his depth charges. Immediately after the attack an enemy fighter was seen astern and violent evasive action was necessary before it was shaken off. This officer has a long and distinguished record on anti-submarine work, apart from this explot, and has accomplished fine work in training air crews. His exceptional leadership and determination have been an example to the whole squadron.

    Public Record Office AIR 2/8961 has recommendation drafted 17 April 1943 when he held the post of Leigh Light Instructor. He had flown 221 operational sorties (1,563 operational hours).

    On the night of 10th/11th April 1943, Flight Lieutenant Squires was acting as captain of a “Leigh Light” fitted Catalina, with a newly formed crew, engaged on its first anti-submarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

    At 2243B hours, in position 48̊42"N 07̊09"W, S.E. [Special Equipment] contact was made at a height of 2,500 feet. The captain who was out of his seat at the time adjusting a lamp, regained control and dived the aircraft to the direction given to him by the S.E. Operator. At a range of three-quarters of a mile, the Leigh Light was switched on, and a large submarine was seen in its beam. Flight Lieutenant Squire pressed the attack home by diving to a height of only 50 feet before releasing his depth charges.

    In the normal way, Flight Lieutenant Squire would have turned round and swept the area with his searchlight in order to ascertain the damage inflicted, but immediately after the attack had been made, an aircraft was spotted close to his tail, which necessitated violent evasive action, and consequently it was not possible to observe the results of the attack. As the attack was made from such a low altitude, however, would seem little doubt that the attack was successful.

    The Officer Commanding, Station Pembroke Dock, added (18 April 1943):

    This, I believe, is the first attack to be carried out by a “Leigh Light” fitted Catalina, and the fact that it was carried out from such a low altitude reflects great credit on the skill and faring of Flight Lieutenant Squire, whose exceptional leadership and determination have inspired the whole squadron.

    The Air Officer Commanding, No.19 Group (Air Vice-Marshal G.R. Bromet, wrote on 23 April 1943:

    Apart from this particular exploit, Flight Lieutenant Squire has had a long and distinguished record on anti-submarine operations and has lately been responsible for training aircrews in No.210 Squadron in the use of the Leigh Light. He has been a constant example and inspiration to his squadron mates, and I support most strongly the above recommendation.

    Air Marshal Sir John Slessor (Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief) endorsed the recommendation on 31 May 1943, writing only “Recommended” on the form. However, at Air Ministry the recommendation had been boiled down to the following (still longer that which appeared in the Air Ministry Bulletin:

    On 10th April 1943, this officer was captain of a Catalina aircraft on anti-submarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay. During the night, a submarine was discovered. A search was made and by operating the “Leight Light” the U-boat was located at a distance of 3/4 miles. Flight Lieutenant Squire pressed home his attack, diving down to 50 feet before releasing his depth charges. There is little doubt that the submarine was destroyed. Immediately after the attack, an enemy fighter was seen astern and violent evasive action was necessary before it was shaken off. This successful attack was the first made by a “Leight Light” - fitted Catalina and it reflects great credit on the skill and daring of Flight Lieutenant Squire in that it was completed from such a low altitude. This officer has a long and distinguished record on anti-submarine work, apart from this exploit, ad has accomplished fine work in training air crews in the use of the “Leigh Light”. His exceptional leadership and determination have been an example to the whole squadron.

    The incident of 10/11 April 1943 involved M/210 (on patrol from Pembroke Dock, 1922 to 1115 hours); U-465 was picked up by radar at 2241 hours, four miles distant. The submarine was heavily damaged and had to return to St.Nazaire. It was sunk on its next patrol by a Sunderland of No.10 (RAAF) Squadron, 7 May 1943. Other members of this crew subsequently decorated were F/O J.D. Adamson (DFC, 10 September 1943) and Sergeant A.E. Fielder (DFM, 9 July 1943).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    289
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Re: Know this Squire?

    Thank you everyone for an excellent response! I can add that in January 45 Squire flew Walrus on routine flight from Helensburgh to Ayr where he tested Barcacuda MD 830 and a new torpedo mine, which prompted my inquiry regarding MAEE.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,964
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 120 Times in 114 Posts

    Default Re: Know this Squire?

    Hello,

    A bit more information on Frank Squire.

    (No.172 Sqn, Chivenor). Flight Lieutenant Squires [sic] arrived on the station in March (1942), and we could not have had a better instructor. He taught a course on astro-navigation to the navigators and gave a few lectures on the subject to the pilots (Nos 1417 [Leigh Light Trials[ Flight/No.172 Sqn were heavily involved with the introduction of the 'Leigh Light' to operational service).

    See:
    Live To Look Again Memoirs of a Canadian Pilot with the RAF during WW II.
    Fraser,Donald A.
    Belleville(Ont.):Mika Publishing Company,1984.
    p.100.

    As the year (1942), turned, 210 began honing old skills and acquiring new ones necessary for proficiency with a piece of equipment recognized as crucial in the development of A/S warfare and also much valued in humanitarian tasks.

    Known to the opposition as 'das verdammdt light', by the end of 1942, the effectiveness of S/L Leigh's invention had been proven by 172 and later 179 Squadrons. Following the successes of the Leigh Light Wellingtons, approval had been given to fit Catalinas similarly. Progressively equipping with Leigh Lights, 210 conducted experimental night submarine searches from their base at Pembroke Dock. In that work, the guidance of a very experienced man was appreciated.

    Bill Sykes, 210's Engineer Officer in 1943, says of this man: "Modest fellow that he is, he did not mention his DFC. Frank 'Squib' Squire, his DFC awarded for his work with No.172 Sqn (LL Wellington), shows that he came to PD (Pembroke Dock), on 20/11/42 and, with W/Cdr Leigh aboard , first flew in LL-fitted (Catalina) FP155 [later F/210] on 29/11/42. Squire's log book extract reads:

    A/C - Cat FP155.
    Pilots - Self, F/O Howell, F/O Patience.
    Crew:W/Cdr Leigh + 6 crew.
    Duty: ASV Homing and Searchlight Tests.

    and shows exactly the same crew and task for 30/11 and 1.12.42. [P/O W B Howell, American volunteer credited with the first LL sinking on 6/7/42, transferred to USN on 1/12/42] ...

    'Squib' Squire completed his first operational sortie with 210 LL on 2nd January 1943:

    A/C - Cat FP102.
    Pilots - Self, F/O French, F/O Duff.
    Crew - Sgts Allen, French, Beale, March, Meiney, Sales and Fielder.
    Duty: A/S Search Bay of Biscay.)

    See:
    To The Ends Of The Earth 210 Squadron's Catalina Years.
    Seymour,Mike & Bill Balderson.
    Pembroke Dock:Paterchurch Publications,1999.
    pp.55-60 (edited, by me).

    Some more detail needs to be added on the attack, by 210 Sqn Catalina FP252/M on the U-Boat, on 10/11 April, 1943:

    Previously published accounts reflect the confusion of the actions of the night of 10th-11th April 1943. All agree with Frank Squire and squadron Navigator Mike Talbot in that (Catalina) FP252/M was airborne from PD at 19:20 on 'LL Search Bay of Biscay' and 'Enclose 10 patrol. Other contemporary papers report at 22:41 position 4706N 0706W, S/E contact at six miles which disappeared 3 and-a-half miles. Slow circle re-established four miles. sighted at four miles on starboard bow, course 230 degrees/15kts, and at 22:44 in 4642N 0709W attacked U/B (Italian). Four DCs dropped 50-70 ft Estimate straddle.

    De-briefing led to this intelligence report:- Initial contact from 2,500 ft, deck awash and periscope submerging. the only two crew members to obtain clear view whilst U-boat was illuminated, separately identified it as Italian Calvi or Ettore Fiieramosca class. Seen in Leigh Light colour appeared bluish grey. While running up to attack front guns (.30) opened fire at conning tower. The 'run-in' was very good. Four Mk XI Torpex DCs No.16 pistol, spacing 100 ft, setting 25 feet, were dropped from 50-70 feet. After turning away to port following the attack, port blister gun (.50) opened fire at the depth charge explosion. Half a minute later and unidentified aircraft was sighted and evasive action taken. The other aircraft followed closely behind for 9 and-a-half minutes and was then lost. M/210 then made another run over area with S/L on sweeping the sea but nothing was sighted.

    Frank Squire log: 'Pilots Self, F/O Atkinson, Crew FL Talbot Nav. 8 crew.' Franks (1995) names them: F/O Adamson, F/Sgts CL Jones, and SH Leigh, Sgts Ridley, AE Fielder, Simpson, G Miller and GS Brown.

    Mike Talbot records: 'U-boat believed sunk but nothing seen. Later confirmed by Admiralty that the U-boat was sunk.' Early post-war re-assessments credited this attack as damaging U-465 (KL Heinz Wolf). However, Eric Zimmerman says that recent analysis shows that Squire's attack was on U-527 (Uhlig) which was not damaged. The attack by Wellington C/172, formerly credited with sinking U-376 (Marks), is now believed responsible for the damage to U-465, while the loss of U-376 is now listed as unknown cause.

    See: To The Ends Of The Earth/Seymour & Balderson/1999/p.59.

    See also:
    Search, Find And Kill.
    Franks,Norman
    London:Grub Street,1995.
    pp.107-8.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 4th August 2020 at 14:13.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    289
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Re: Know this Squire?

    Thank you once again for the feedback. I now know more about Frank Squire and why he would have been posted to the MAEE, RAF Helensburgh. i.e. His knowledge of anti submarine warfare. Like other operational pilots he was then posted to RAF Helensburgh as a test pilot. Information received via RAF Commands is recorded as stories and archive material for Helensburgh Heritage Trust. We now also have a RAF Helensburgh memorial on the banks of the Gareloch. Only the histories of a few test pilots now remain elusive. I will post their names at a future date.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •