Lieutenant Reginald Squarey MACIVER
Date of birth: 10 May 1892
Date of death: 1 July 1916
Killed in action aged 24
Buried at Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps. Plot I. H. 5
Reginald Squarey was born in Cheshire, the eleventh of the twelve children of David MacIver and Edith Eleanor Squarey of Birkenhead.
David MacIver owned ships carrying out a coastal trade between England, Ireland and Scotland. He became a Member of Parliament and a partner in the managing owners of the Cunard Shipping Company.
Reginald was educated at Shrewsbury and came up to Christ Church in 1911. At the time of the 1911 census, he was staying at the Strand Palace Hotel in London with his mother, a sister and his younger brother.
He joined the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers at the outbreak of war, served in Belgium and France, and was killed in action on the Somme.
He is commemorated on the Great War memorial at Ambleside, with his brother Andrew who had been killed in April 1915. Robert, a brother by their father’s first marriage, was also killed.
Probate was granted to his mother on 19 September 1916. He left £247-18s-9d.
“The first visitors to the battlefields, initially an expensive and complicated business, were gentry who had the resources to make the journey. In July 1920 Edith Squarey MacIver of Wanlass How, Ambleside, widow of David MacIver of Birkenhead set out to visit the graves of her two sons and a stepson. She was accompanied by Albert, the chauffeur, her surviving son, Alan McIver M.C., late of the 20th Lancashire Fusiliers and Hugh ‘Cherry’ Sanderson. Edith kept a journal of the trip. We went into Ypres by the West entrance and then out by the south to see a farmhouse, called by the Brigade Woodgate House, where Alan's Brigade H.Q. were for a time in 1918. The ruin of Ypres is indescribable, there are no houses left in the town and the place us full of Army huts of all sorts and sizes. At Pilckem Ridge, Barbed wire and all sorts of debris, bits of accoutrement, broken trucks, dud shells lay about, and here and there tanks pounded out of all likeness to themselves, and here and there a solitary cross among the grass. Silent and solemn tokens of what the place was like two years ago and since 1914. These remains were even more frequent when we went to Langemarck along the Poelcapelle road. Before getting to Langemarck we turned off along a little road to look for a concrete German pillbox, which was Alan's Brigade H.Q. for about two months in 1918, which they called "Varna Farm". Here the shells etc lay about thickly. It was some time before Alan found it but he did at last. He picked up a rusty English rifle and I an English helmet, but it had a hole in the side and a bullet must have gone through it into the man's head, so I put it down again and left it.
They made their way to La Clytte and the grave of Captain Andrew Tucker Squarey MacIver, Edith's eldest son. The cemetery is not so near the church as I expected and is of course full of crosses in neat rows. English soldiers were working in it: one soldier was an inspector of cemeteries. An Englishman married to a French woman is in charge now. We soon found Andrew’s cross in the earlier part. His cross has been touched by shell fire, a bit of the circle broken and the top too. The grass is long but it is the light flowering kind and there were tiny pansies and pimpernel among it. The soldier got a bit of turf off in front of the cross for me to put in the Manor Hill pansies and Wanlass earth. He stood beside me all the time. I sent one or two wild pansy roots to Wanlass and they have flourished in the rockery.
They went on to visit the graves of Robert & Reginald MacIver. Edith acquired Reginald’s cross and put it in the garden at Wanlass How. All three MacIver brothers have brasses in the small and now redundant church at Wray, above Windermere and are commemorated on various other memorials around the Lakes and in the Wirral.”