Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 3, 1876
Place of BirthWest Cowes, Hampshire
Marital StatusMarried
Trade / CallingMercantile Marine
Service Details
Regimental Number48687
ForceBritish Expeditionary Force
BranchRoyal Garrison Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentNovember 2, 1914
Age at Enlistment38
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 7, 1956
Age at Death80
Buried AtRiverside Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario

Dyer, Francis Joseph

Francis Joseph Dyer was born on 03 June 1876 in West Cowes (Isles of Wight), Hampshire, England. His parents were Albert Dyer and Harriett Mary Turner.

Francis spent his childhood on the Isle of Wight and went to sea at age 11. He earned his masters papers in sail in 1898 and was master of vessels owned by the Duke of Westminster and the Earl of Crawford.  He served in the naval brigade during the Boer War.

Francis married Gertrude Shapcott on 25 December 1899 in Hampshire.  They had five children: Francis John (b. 1900), Gertrude Louisa May (b. 1901), Lilian Maud (b. 1904), Beatrice Nellie (b. 1905) and Nora Helena (b. 1907).

On 02 November 1914, at age 37, Francis enlisted in the Imperial Army with the Royal Garrison Artillery (service #48687).  He listed his occupation as 1st Officer in the Mercantile Marine.  He was sent to France on 01 June 1915 and posted as an AC/ Bombadier with the 17th Heavy Brigade at Royal Garrison Headquarters.  Francis was hospitalized in the latter part of 1916 with rheumatic fever and invalided to England. He had achieved the rank of Corporal by this time.  Francis transferred to the Royal Engineers in March of 1917 and was taken on by the Inland Water Transport section (service #553530). He embarked for Mesopotamia on 18 April 1917. His service records show he was hospitalized on 12 November 1918 in Baghdad with Neuritis.  When Francis was demobilized on 11 March 1919 he held the rank of Acting Sergeant.

Francis and his two oldest daughters, Gertrude (age 22, occupation – cook) and Beatrice (age 19 – occupation – domestic) immigrated to Canada in November of 1924 aboard the Ausonia.  He listed his occupation as ‘mariner’ and indicated he was coming to Canada to go ‘lumbering’. Immigration records show the destination of the three members of the Dyer family was D. George Gow in Toronto, Ontario. The following summer, on 05 July 1925, Francis’ wife Gertrude, son Francis John and daughter Nora sailed to Canada aboard the Ascania. They were joining Francis whose residence was listed as YMCA, Kenora, Ontario.  The Kenora Legion has membership application forms for both Francis Joseph Dyer and Francis John Dyer  who were residing at 331 Gould Street in Kenora.

The family didn’t stay in Kenora long. They moved to Port Arthur where Francis Joseph got employment with the United Towing and Salvage Company. In the 1930’s he was appointed sub agent for the Department of Marine and he eventually became Harbour Master. Francis organized the sea cadets in Fort William and became the Lt. Commander of the Royal Naval Reserve.

Francis Joseph Dyer died in Thunder Bay on 7 May 1956.  He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Thunder Bay.

Dyer-Francis-Joseph-2 Dyer-Francis-Joseph-3


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