CWG: Private Bernard Dyke

Private Bernard Dyke

Bernard Dyke was born in 1897, the oldest of three children to Albert and Edith Dyke from Bridgwater, Somerset. Albert worked for a brewery, and the young family lived in a house on the main road west out of the town.

Bernard received a scholarship to attend Dr Morgan’s School, a grammar school in the town, and he was a pupil there from autumn 1910 to spring 1913. He left at the age of 16, and became a merchant’s clerk.

War was on the horizon, however, and Bernard joined up. Full details of his military service are not available, but he enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment. Private Dyke spent some time at the Tregantle Fort, near Plymouth, and it was here that he was caught up in an accident.

It has transpired than a rather remarkable shooting fatality occurred at Tregantle rifle ranges, near Plymouth, on Friday, when Private Bernard Dyke, aged about 24, of the Devon Regiment, received a gunshot would in the left side, and almost immediately expired.

The soldier was acting as an observer for a Lewis gun section when he received the fatal injury, the section being at the time out of action awaiting the appearance of a moving target. On the deceased’s left hand side was a musketry party of nine carrying out an exercise, and when he received his injury only one or two rounds had been discharged by this party.

When the first shot or so had been fired deceased suddenly shouted “Oh! Oh!” and dropped. An officer and NCOs ran to assist him, but found that life was extinct. A military doctor was soon on the spot, and found the bullet had entered the deceased’s left side below the ribs and made its exit at the top of his right arm.

As the musketry party was 80 degrees to the right of the firing party it is strange that a shot could have been fired so wide, but the explanation may be found to be in a ricochet or a soldier’s erratic action.

Western Morning News: Monday 21st January 1918.

Private Bernard Dyke died on 18th January 1918, aged just 20 years old. He lies at rest in the Wembdon Road Cemetery in his home town of Bridgwater, minutes’ walk from his family home.


Bernard Dyke (from ancestry.co.uk)

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