CWG: Private John Dyer

Private John Dyer

John Frederick Dyer was born in Crediton, Devon, on 3rd July 1864. He was one of twelve children to William Dyer, a shoemaker, and his wife Sarah.

When he left school, John initially found work as a tanner – presumably helping with his father’s business. He soon moved on from this, however, and worked as a labourer and then a stone mason.

In 1888, aged 24, he married a woman called Emily; they went on to have four children. By the time of the 1901 census, John was a fully fledged mason, and the family had moved to Weston-super-Mare in Somerset.

From this point in, there is little information available relating to John’s life. The 1911 census records him as living in the centre of Weston-super-Mare, in a six-room house with his wife, two of his children and his niece.

Storm clouds were on the horizon in Europe, but not much documentation records his military service. He was 50 years old when war was declared, and he was old enough to be exempt from volunteering or conscription. However, he did put his name forward, and enlisted at some point at the beginning of 1915.

Private Dyer joined the 4th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry. This was a primarily territorial force, that served in India and the Middle East, although there is no confirmation that he was anywhere outside of the UK during his time in the army.

In fact, Private Dyer’s service was not destined to be a long one; the next available record shows that he died on 9th July 1915 at the 2nd Southern General Hospital in Bristol. He had just turned 51 years old. Sadly, no details of the cause of death exist.

John Frederick Dyer’s body was brought back to Somerset for burial. He lies at rest in the Milton Road Cemetery in his adopted home town of Weston-super-Mare.


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