Harry Dyer

Harry Dyer,  the third son of William and Sarah Ann, was born in Brixham, Devon in 1884 and lived most of his life in there. His father was a fisherman as were his two older brothers, so when Harry left school before he reached the age of 15 he also joined the fishing fleet, sailing in a Devon Fishing smack.

In 1907 Harry married Mina Brewer, a local girl.  Their three children (Leslie) Jon, Mary and (Harry) Jackson were all born in Brixham, but the fishing stock began to run dry and the whole fleet moved to Milford Haven shortly after 1914. Harry moved into the larger boats powered by engines being away at sea for 12 days at a time. They lived in a tiny house in Hakin village.

It is well known that all fishermen were commandeered to join the Royal Naval Reserves in WW1 to become engineers on the larger ships and Harry Dyer was no exception. He left his family once again, and fatefully ended up on the Laurentic. On the night of January 25th, 1917, he would have been on the lower decks—with very little chance of surviving. Harry Dyer’s body was never found.

He died leaving Mina to return to being a Laundress and bringing up his three children. As Harry’s body was never found, Mina was not entitled to any pension for 30 years. Her son Jon tried to help out at the tender age of six by doing a paper round before and after school. Mina wore black for the rest of her life and the family remained in Milford Haven.

Harry Dyer is remembered on the memorials in Plymouth, Brixham and Milford Haven.

(The photograph shows Harry & Mina on their wedding day in 1907)

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