Francis John Dyer served in the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) as a Lance-corporal with the East Kent regiment (the ‘Buffs’).
His father had been a Royal Marine and married Francis’ mother, Mary Millman, who was also from Devon, in 1889. Francis, their second son, was born in the Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth on 11 July 1893.
By 1911 the family had moved to Chatham. His father now worked as a labourer. Francis’ youngest brother was aged 4 and had been born in Stonehouse Barracks, so the move to the Medway towns must have taken place after the younger boy’s birth.
In 1911 Francis lived, aged 18, with his parents and younger brother, Albert Edward, at 5, Mount Terrace Road, Borstal. The three men in the family all worked as general labourers.
Francis died on 26 May 1915, aged 21. By the time of his death his mother had moved to 26, Amherst Road, Delce, Rochester. Francis was in the 2nd Battalion and his service number was L/9851. The 2nd battalion were in Madras, India at the outbreak of war and returned to England before swiftly moving to France as part of the 28th division to reinforce the BEF. Francis would have fought and lost his life in the Second Battle of Ypres, which was the first battle in which poisonous gas was used as a weapon. His body was not recovered so he is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial in Ieper (Ypres).
1901 England Census [database on-line]. Class: RG13; Piece: 729; Folio: 124; Page: 27
1911 England Census [database on-line]. Class: RG14; Piece: 3889; Schedule Number: 314
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Royal Marines, Plymouth Division: Order, Discharge and Letter Books, Registers and Returns.; Class: ADM 184; Piece: Piece 043; Piece Description: Piece 043 (1862 – 1894)
Ancestry.com. UK, De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 [database on-line].