Herbert Frank Dyer

Date of birth: 1896
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Sherwood Foresters
Battalion: 15th
Rank / Service No: Private, 102266
Died: 14th October 1918, aged 23 years
Buried: Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Belgium (Plot V, Row A, Grave 1)



This is a strange story, mainly because of the lack of official records to do with the parents.


Herbert’s father was William Richard Dyer, and he was born in Langport, Somerset in 1863. It is believed that his mother was called Nelly, and she was born in 1877 in Kent.

There is no readily available 1911 Census for the parents, no record of their marriage and no record of their deaths !


William appears to have had a son and a daughter before his association with Nelly…


William RICHARD b. 1886 Langport   d. ??   Married Kathleen McGarvey in Southampton in 1924.

Ada Lilian M.   b. 1888 Southampton   d. 1917 Yeovil   Married Randolph Legg in Yeovil in 1912.


Herbert appears to be the oldest of 5 siblings born to William and Nelly. Interestingly, the four youngest siblings are shown as being residents of an “institution” in St. Mary’s at the 1911 Census.



Herbert Frank 

Mabel Gertrude M.   b. 1897 Southampton   d. 1980 Southampton   Married Frederick G. Binstead in Southampton in 1920.

Hilda Gwendoline   b. 1900 Southampton   d. 1978 Southampton   Married Maurice Connolly in Southampton in 1920. Married Clayton G. Fanstone in Southampton in 1938.

Winifred Alice   b. 1901 Southampton   d. 1997 Bishop’s Stortford   Married Charles C. Watts in Southampton in 1927.

Edward Frank   b. 1902 Southampton   d. 1973 Southampton   Married Dorothy A. Hillyear in Southampton in 1925.


Herbert married Nellie Cornish in 1916 in Southampton They lived at 3 Bell’s Court, Queens Street and the couple had a son……..


Herbert William   b. 1916 Southampton   d. 2000 Southampton


The 15th Sherwood Foresters were originally raised as a Bantam Battalion, for troops who were under the normal regulation minimum height of 5’ 3”.


After final training on Salisbury Plain in August 1915, the battalion was ordered to Egypt. This order was soon cancelled, and the battalion landed in France on 1 February 1916.

The battalion lost many men on the Somme, and the replacements were found to be not of the same physical standard as the original Bantams. These were men of small stature from the towns, rather than the miners and farm workers who had joined up in 1915.

In 1917 the battalion was in action during the pursuit to the Hindenburg Line and the Second Battle of Passchendaele.


Herbert had originally been in the Royal Berkshire Regiment…records show that he spent much of 1916 at home with “trench fever”. This would explain his marriage in 1916, as well as the birth of his son.

Having survived most of the war, Herbert succumbed on the first day of the Battle of Courtrai.


The village of Dadizeele was in German hands for much of the war until it was taken by th 9th (Scottish) Division on 29 September 1918.

Severe fighting followed at Hill 41, a little south of the village, on 1 October.


The cemetery was made after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from surrounding cemeteries.

Herbert was probably originally buried in Railway Crossing Cemetery, just outside the village.


The cemetery contains 1,029 Commonwealth WW1 burials.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 13th July 2016


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