Dorothy Squires was once Britain’s highest paid female singer, yet her name has slipped through the cracks of time. Emerging during the 1940s, she went on to achieve glittering success, firmly establishing herself as Britain’s first diva. Elvis was a fan, she nearly replaced one of the Andrews sisters, and she lived a glamorous lifestyle in Hollywood with her husband Roger Moore. Despite reaching the pinnacle of her profession, she was beset by fire, flood, heartache and libel. Dorothy’s dramatic life story ended back in Wales, where she lived as a recluse for the last years of her life.
Despite her humble beginnings as Edna May Squires, born in a traveller’s caravan in 1915 near Llanelli, South Wales, ambition and determination drove her to leave Wales for London on an express train when she was 18 years old. There she met musician Billy Reid. As lead vocalist for his Accordion Band, Dorothy made her first record, ‘When The Poppies Bloom Again’ in 1936. More recordings followed in the late 1930s, as well as appearances at the Saturday Night Revue, until the arrival of World War Two halted the production of any more records. The end of the war in 1945 made it possible to begin recording music again, and blonde, petite Dorothy brought glamour to post-war Britain.