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Biography - Part 1
George Frank Dyer was born on Monday 2 August, 1915 at 25 Rosebank Cottages, Westfield, in Woking, Surrey. His mother Rosina Dyer (nee Daborn) recorded the birth at the Woking Registry on 10 September, 1915. Frederick Joseph Dyer (1875 – ) was recorded as the father, however there is some doubt to this.
George married Gladys Violet Bates on 25 July, 1936. At the time he was working as a nurseryman, and was living at Hawthorn Cottages, Woodside Road, Chiddingfold in Surrey. In 1937 the birth of their first child, Michael John Dyer was recorded.
On 27 June 1940, following Dunkirk, George enlisted in the Territorial Army and was given the number 6099233. At the time of his enlistment he was living at 11 Sunny Hill, Wheeler Lane, Witley in Surrey. He was posted to the Queen’s Royal Regiment’s Infantry Training Centre, which was at Inkerman Barracks, Guildford.
Following his training, George was posted to the 1/6th Battalion of the Queen’s Royal Regiment, which at the time was based in Lincolnshire as part of the 1st Division and the East Coast Defences.
In October 1940, 131 Brigade, of which 1/6th Battalion was a part, left the 1st Division, moving in February 1941 to Kent as part of 44th Division and it’s responsibility for the defence of the south coast, in October 1941, the 131 Brigade moved to Dover as part of the Dover Garrison.
It was whilst based at Dover that it is reported George injured his shoulder (this is not borne out by notations in his Military Records and more research is needed).
The 1/6th Battalion sailed with the rest of the 131 Brigade on 24 May 1942 from Gourock in the Clyde Estuary, near Glasgow, aboard the P&O vessel, and troopship, SS Strathallan. George’s Army records show that he was no longer serving so he, according to this, at “Home” from 25 May 1942, sailed with the Brigade. The ship held approximately 5,000 troops. Fourteen days after sailing the ship docked at Freetown, Sierra Leone; here it stayed for several days, although no-one was allowed to land.
The Strathallan set sail again on 20 June, and arrived in Cape Town, South Africa fourteen days later. Here all troops were allowed ashore, and route marches were organised. Three days later they sailed from Cape Town and into some ‘intense rollers causing the ships to roll alarmingly.’ The 16 July, saw the ship dock at Aden with the voyage ending five days later at Port Suez.
Following disembarkation, the 44th Division entrained for Kathalba Camp, approximately sixty miles east of Cairo. There the time was spent in training for Desert warfare.
George’s posting record within his Military records, shows him on the X(iv)a list on 14 August, 1942, which indicates he was posted as a reserve. On this day the 131 Brigade was attached, with the rest of the 44th Division to the Eighth Army, and orders were received for this to occur ‘immediately’.
The Brigade was posted to the Alam Halfa Ridge with 133 Brigade, also with the 44th Division. 131 Brigade was allocated the eastern end of the Ridge, and 133 Brigade the western end. The disposition of 131 Brigade was such that:
1/7th Queen’s was on the right, nearest the centre of the Ridge near Alam El Khadim
1/6th Queen’s was on the forward southern slopes, covering the defences of airfields in the area and the western gaps in the minefields
1/5th Queen’s was on the reverse slope to the north.
These positions were visited by Winston Churchill on 20 August, and by the 25 August the new preparations were complete.
Orders were received on 29 August for the 44th Division to change places with the 2nd New Zealand Division. Advance parties left to take over the New Zealand Positions, however, an Ultra Intercept changed the situation and at 01:30hrs on 31 August, the move forward was cancelled.
The Battle of Alam Halfa started later that day, ending on the 3 September. The 131 Brigade did not actually come into contact with the enemy, but were dive-bombed several times and shelled to the front. The Brigade was well dug in so there were few casualties.
The 132 Brigade, which had been on attachment to the 2nd New Zealand Division, returned to the 44th Division on the 5 September, with the 131 Brigade organising rest and food for them. By the end of the 6 September, the Axis forces were back through the minefields but retaining Munassib and the twin peaks of Himeimat.
The 44th Division relieved the 2nd New Zealand Division on 10 September, and were themselves later relieved by the 51st (Highland) Division. The 44th Division was over the next few days altered, 133 Brigade was transferred to the 10th Armoured Division, and the 151 Infantry Brigade and the Greek Brigade were attached to the 44th Division.
The 131 Brigade prepared new positions to the south-east, later known as the ‘Hog’s Back’. These positions were occupied by thr Brigade on 13 September, where some shelling was experienced but which did not produce casualties. Many Patrols were carried out over the next few days through the ‘Nuts’ minefield.