John W. Squire (33-36C)
Remembering John Squire
John joined WBS in 1933 in what was the 3rd generation of his family to attend the School in its first 75 years of existence. His Grandfather, also John, was one of the six original boys at the School when it started on the Taddiport site in 1858, and his Father was at WBS from 1903-05.
John was born in Essex and bought up in Harrow as his Father, an electrical engineer, moved from North Devon to follow his career. He was never far away from his family roots however and with a significant number of relations farming locally, he maintained an inextricable link to Swimbridge and the surrounding communities.
His time at WBS was a happy one and he once commented that his interests lay in academics and in wildlife rather than on the sports field. On one occasion, he was wrongly accused of releasing snakes in the classroom for which he was put on report! He was also a prominent member of the CCF Band and was one of six Buglers to play at the Memorial Service on Remembrance Day.
He was positively influenced by a master called Pavey at WBS and on leaving went to Regent St Polytechnic to study Engineering & Architecture before going on to gain a Teaching Certificate to teach Woodwork and Maths. His tertiary education was interrupted by the outbreak of WWll where upon he joined the Royal Artillery and served in India and Burma. A life influencing and poignant part of his life, he remained a great supporter of the Burma Star Association and its events and the Hill 629 commemorations at Castle Hill, Filleigh.
The middle part of his life was spent teaching at Windsor Grammar School where he would go on to spend 33 years before retiring in 1982. He was hugely involved in extracurricular activities there and started the Judo Club (both at the School and in the town) and was their CO of the CCF for 11 years. He headed the Contingent that lined the route at Windsor Castle for George VI funeral in St George’s Chapel.
When John’s son, Richard (66 -72C), joined WBS he was coincidentally reunited with two of his old school friends, Gordon Kingdon (1933 -37C) and Jim Conchie (1927-37G), who both had sons in the same year and so was able to renew what became lifelong friendships. In 1982, John returned with his wife Barbara to Gunn to live permanently in the cottage they had had since the mid 1960’s, but was coaxed out of retirement by Paul Thornhill to teach Woodwork part-time at WBS for tow years. He re-joined the CCF, took charge of Shooting included trips to Bisley, and supervised the schools last Shoot at the Filleigh Long Range.
He remained Welfare Officer for the Burma Star Association in the North Devon area up until quite recently and continued to be a great supporter of the School, the OWBA and all things related to his military life up until his death in August 2016 at the age of 96.
John was an affable and a highly approachable man, with a gentle demeanour and a light hearted style. He greatly cared for and supported the causes and interests that had shaped his life and these remained highly influential within him until the end.
He leaves behind, Barbara, who he was married to for over 60 years, daughter Elizabeth, sons Richard and Christopher and his grandchildren.
Jamie Conchie (1969-76G)