Letter from the Commandant.
No.2 Auxiliary School of Aerial Gunnery No. 2/97/9
ROYAL FLYING CORPS.
No,1 School of Fighting &
Gunnery, Royal Air Force,
27th May 1918
Mrs. George C. Squires,
21 South St. Albans Street,
St, Paul, Minn., U.S.A.
It is with the very deepest regret and
sympathy that I have to confirm the news, which you have
no doubt received by telegraph, of the death of your
son, 1st Liet. George Squires, who was at the time
attached to this School for a Course of Instruction in
Aerial Fighting and Gunnery. I beg to give you the
following brief particulars of the fatal accident and of
the funeral arrangements.
On Saturday May 18th, at 10:30 in the
morning the machine of 1/Lt.G.Squires, who was carrying
out practice in certain fighting evolutions, was seen to
circle slowly and begin descending, the descent taking
place apparently normally until the machine dived at a
steep angle and crashed to the ground. Your son was in
sole control of the machine, no passenger being carried
on the type he was flying.
A Court of Inquiry investigated the
circumstances on the following day, and it was not
established from all the available evidence what was the
definite cause of the accident. There was no structural
defect suspected in the machine, as the latter had been
reported in perfect condition and "OK." for flying on
its descent from a flight undertaken by one of the
instructors immediately before the fatal one.
In view of the evidence given by a farm
hand who witnessed the accident, it is considered almost
certain that your son was endeavoring to make a forced
landing owing to engine failure, and that he lost flying
speed, (i.e., the speed sufficient to maintain a machine
in the air) at a height which did not permit him to
recover from the ensuing dive. The fall took place
about 1000 yards south of
Kirkoswald Village, Ayrshire,
at a point almost exactly two miles eastward of and
inland from this aerodrome.
Immediately upon the report of the
accident happening, the motor ambulance with Medical
Officer proceeded to the scene, and found 1/Lt. Squires
dead, having been extricated from the wreckage by a
local resident who was first on the spot.
The cause of death was fracture of the
base of the skull, both thighs had been fractured and
there were other injuries, and it is considered that
death was practically instantaneous upon the machine
striking the ground.
Units of the Royal Air Force are not
permitted to telegraph or cable direct to the
next-of-kin in cases of fatalities occurring where the
nearest relatives reside out of the country, but you no
doubt heard as soon as possible, after our reporting the
accident to the proper British and American authorities.
In regard to funeral arrangements, the
interment took place at Doune Cemetery, Girvan, at 2
p.m. on Tuesday, My 21st. Girvan is the nearest town of
any size, and is about 5 to 6 miles distant from this
The burial service was conducted by the
Rev. GB.Allen, the Church of England Chaplain to the
Forces Stationed here, and the following American
brother officers of the Aviation Service acted as
pall-bearers:- 1/Lt J A Roth, 1/Lt. E.
Hollander,1/Lt. A.M,Roberts,1/Lt. R,L. Paskill,2/Lt, H.R.Smith,2/Lt. L.T,Wyly
A large number of other American Officers
and British Officers of the School attended, the latter
including the Commandant, Liet Col. 1,.W.B.Rees, V,C.,
A firing party accompanied the cortege,
firing three volleys over the grave at the conclusion of
the service, after which the "Last Post" was sounded by
the bugler, The coffin was covered with the American
Flag and three floral tributes from the American Brother
Officers of your son, the Officers of the Staff of the
School and the Camp Y.M.C.A. Authorities.
The position of the grave is No. 6,
Section M. Fast Division, Doune Cemetery, Girvan,
Ayrshire, and the arrangements for title deed etc, also
for disposal, according to U.S. Regulations, of your late
son's effects, are in the hands of Liet. G.J.Dwyer,
United States Aviation. Headquarters, 35 Eaton Place,
London S.W., to whom all his property at this school
has been handed. As a temporary measure a plain white
wooden cross of the pattern prescribed for a British
Officer or man, is being placed above the grave, pending
later arrangements for memorial.
The interment took place in brilliantly
fine weather, which, indeed, prevailed upon the day of
If there is any further information which
I can furnish, will you please let me know, and be
assured that any assistance which it is, in my power to
afford will be most willingly given.
With the deepest sympathy of all ranks at
this School with yourself, and other relatives of the
late Lt. Squires in the bereavement you have suffered.
Believe me to remain
Yours very faithfully,
Commandant, No. 1 School of
Aerial Fighting & Gunnery Royal Air Force.
||Click on the thumbnail
images to view the letter
in its original format.