When James Robert Squires was born on March 1, 1872, in Chester, Cheshire, England, his mother, Sarah (nee Webb) (1842-1915), was 30. Although James Robert appears to have been named for Sarah’s husband James Squires, James Sr. died in 1866, effectively ruling out the possibility he was Jr.’s father.
Our James Robert Squires disappears after the 1881 Census. Born in 1872, by 1891 he certainly would have been old enough to leave home. So that leaves multiple possibilities:
- He died.
- He changed his name.
- He emigrated.
- He joined the military and was sent abroad.
- No records have been found confirming James Robert died between 1872 and 1891. This does not mean he did not die, it just means that I haven’t been able to locate a record confirming.
- If he changed his name, there’s no way to trace him unless he’s found living with one of his relatives in the future. No such records have been found.
- No records have been found confirming (or not confirming) his emigration.
I have found records indicating that a James Robert Squires born in 1872 in Cheshire served in the British Army in India. A probate record dated 1917 indicates that this James Robert was a lance-sergeant with the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
It’s odd though that there’s no indication that his meager estate was left to his family (his mother, Sarah (Webb) Squires died three years later in 1915).
There is a burial record that indicates that the same James Robert Squires was buried on May 18, 1912, in Quetta, Bengal, India.
There’s also a record of his effects after death which indicates his next of kin was a “Miss S.A. Ackerley” (which doesn’t match anything we know…but does not mean that it’s not the same person). (Side note, JR’s brother William Richard Webb married Elizabeth Dutton who was the daughter of Edward Dutton and Mary Ackerley – but this may just be a coincidence).
The RWF JR was also born in Chester, that he enlisted on August 15, 1890 (which would solve the issue of not being found on further censuses after 1881). It suggests he was a butcher at the time of enlistment (again, something we didn’t know…but doesn’t necessarily rule out a connection).
He’s also listed on the 1911 England Census Return of All Commissioned Officers:
I found a Google book entitled Quetta: Monuments and Inscriptions, Baluchistan, Pakistan. The book is not available online, but I was able to locate a copy in the Toronto Public Library’s stacks. The entry for James Squires reads:
Squires, James (921-M26) In Memory of No 2406 Lance Sergeant James SQUIRES. B Company 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers who died at Quetta on 16 April 1912. Aged 40 years. Erected to his memory by the officers, his brother NCOs and men of his company. (82) (89) (90) (p).
The date on this entry does not match the previous entries regarding the RWF James Robert Squires, but the rest of the information does (there’s probably just an error between the burial/death dates).
So it appears it’s still unknown whether or not “my” James Robert Squires joined the RWF, but I’ve found information to rule out another James Robert Squires born the same year matching this one, and no other information to rule him in or out. Despite several information requests, I’ve still been unable to confirm.
Image credit: Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Image via Wikimedia – Captions on album page: Col. Stockwell, Lt (?) Royal Welsh Fusiliers stationed Tien Tsin, 1901-1902; Royal Welsh Fusiliers loading gun on train; Picnic given by Mr Stockwell in Chinese grave yard [i.e. graveyard] outside of Tien Tsin, 1902, party went by horseback and by boat on the river; Departure of Royal Welsh Fusiliers from Tien Tsin Railway station, 1902)