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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Royce Coleman Dyer

In memory of:

Captain Royce Coleman Dyer

December 30, 1918

Bak, Waritza, Russia

Military Service


Age:

29

Force:

Army

Unit:

Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)

Division:

8th Bn.

Citation(s):

Distinguished Conduct Medal, London Gazette # 31128 dated 14 January 1919. " For conspicuous gallantry and resource during the landing at Onega and clearing of the town. He set a very fine example to his men throughout the action, and from a very exposed position, successfully engaged an enemy machine-gun at close range with his Lewis gun. He showed marked courage in taking up new positions with his gun under heavy machine-gun and cross rifle fire, and by his skilful use of it rendered very valuable service." Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal. Captain Dyer was awarded the Order of St. George 4th Class (Russia).

Honours and Awards:

Military Medal

and Bar

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Additional Information


Born:

February 1, 1889
Sutton, Quebec

Enlistment:

September 23, 1914
Valcartier, Quebec

Son of Mr. L.C. Dyer of Sutton, Quebec.

(Excerpt From Stanstead College Yearbook, July 1919) Captain Royce Dyer, DCM, MM and bar, enlisted at the outbreak of the war at Winnipeg as a private in the 90th Winnipeg Rifles, known as “The Little Black Devils”. After training at Valcartier, his battalion sailed for England, in October 1914. He reached France January 1915, and served as a dispatch rider for General Loomis. In the first battle of Ypres, Royce received the Military Medal for “bravery under shell fire.” It was there that the Germans first used gas and the 90th Battalion lost out of their thousand men all except one hundred and sixty.

Shortly after this, Royce was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for having brought back a wounded officer from between the British and French lines at great risk to himself. For some reason the recommendation was not carried out at this time. In the battle of the Somme he was again recommended for the DCM for “bravery under shell fire”, but received instead a bar to his Military Medal.

In June 1918, while riding on his bicycle, with a dispatch, down a rocky hill, he was thrown off and severely injured in his left lung. He was sent to London to the Potter Hospital for treatment. After his recovery, he took a course at Shorncliffe and was given work in England, drilling the Canadian recruits and was promoted to sergeant. While in Seaford in May 1918, he volunteered for service in Russia and left for that country June 15th 1918.

Shortly after his arrival in Russia, Royce was promoted to Lieutenant and was awarded the DCM, for inflicting heavy losses on the enemy, outflanking the enemy and holding a position against greater odds and guns until help was received. He was then transferred to the Imperial Army and made Officer Commanding the Disciplinary Battalion. His work then was to train Bolshevik prisoners and Russians into soldiers. Shortly after this he was promoted to Captain.

But the many hardships through which Royce had come had weakened him physically and when he took the influenza in December 1918, it developed into pneumonia and a telegram reached his home December 30th, saying he had died at Bak, Waritza, North Russia.

Commemorated on Page 586 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:

ARCHANGEL ALLIED CEMETERY
Russian Federation

Grave Reference:

E. 6.

Location:

The cemetery is located on the north-west outskirts of the town of Archangel, adjoining the Lutheran and Russian Cemeteries.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Newspaper Clipping– In memory of the men and women memorialized on the pages of the Winnipeg Evening Tribune during World War One. Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Newspaper Clipping– In memory of the men and women memorialized on the pages of the Winnipeg Evening Tribune during World War One. Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Group Photo
  • Photo of Royce Dyer– Royce Coleman Dyer in mid-1916. He will be awarded the Military Medal and the Bar for his courage on the Somme. After receiving the DCM for his determination during the fight for the city of Onega, he will raise in late 1918 the famous 'Dyer's Battalion' in Russia, made of ex-Red army prisoners. Only pneumonia was able to bring him down, December 30, 1918.

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