LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant John Manuel SQUIRE

Service No: 407952
Born: Glenelg SA, 16 June 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 104 Squadron (RAF), Kabrit (Landing Ground 213), Egypt
Died: PoW from Illness (Pneumonia): Air Operations (loss of No. 104 Squadron Wellington aircraft Z8649 on 15 July 1942), Tobruk, 19 July 1942, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frank Stockley Squire and Lillian May Squire, of Kensington Park, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Glenelg SA
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On the night of 14/15th July 1942, Wellington Z8649 took off for night operations against Tobruk, Libya. Nothing was hard from the aircraft which failed to return to base. It was later learned that the aircraft had been hit by flak and had become uncontrollable and that the crew members were forced to bale out over the Mediterranean.

The crew members of Z8649 were:

Sergeant Gordon MacDonald Frostick (403573) (RNZAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant J A Kilner (1067754) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW
Pilot Officer G Richards (100605) (RAFVR) (Pilot) PoW
Sergeant W E Seward (405377) (RNZAF) (Observer) PoW
Flight Sergeant John Manuel Squire (407952) (Air Gunner) Died 19 July 1942
Pilot Officer D P Williams (number, service unavailable – possibly from USA) RAFVR) (Second Pilot) PoW

Pilot Officer Richards later reported: “While flying over the sea the aircraft caught fire and was impossible to control. I gave the order to bale out, and this was acknowledged to the best of my knowledge. Flight Sergeant Squire also said he was about to leave. I landed in the water and managed to reach the shore about three hours later. “

Sergeant Howard reported: “We were hit by anti-aircraft fire at about 0200 hours on the morning of 15th July 1942 while over Tobruk and was forced to bale out at 8,000 feet into the sea about 20
miles east of Tobruk. Squire left the rear turret and he told us over the intercom he was going to jump. Sergeant Frostick had his chute on when I left the aircraft. While in the sea I met Flying Officer Richards but neither of us saw any of the others.”

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/163/436

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