HARRY DYE

Private 44194, 12th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Died 8th November 1917 aged 26

Buried Oxford Road Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Son of Robert and Ada A Dye

Lived 18, Kaye Street, Heckmondwike


Harry was from Lower Wortley in Leeds. In 1911 the Dye family were living at 12 Artist Terrace, Lower Wortley and consisted of his father Robert (from Pentney, Norfolk) who worked in a forge, his mother Ada (from Spalding, Lincolnshire), William aged 21 a Drapery Shop Assistant, Harry aged 19 a Milk Deliverer, Osborne  aged 18 an Iron Worker (Turner), Frederick aged 15 a Shop Assistant (Boots) and Edith aged 13.  Before joining the army Harry
was lodging with Walter Firth who lived in Kaye Street, Heckmondwike and worked at the Yorkshire Tramways Company based at Frost Hill.  This type of work carried on into his military service and he was involved in transportation and small gauge rail transport in particular. He was working on the light railways when his unit was shelled. The group of seven of which he was a member were all casualties with 4 passing away either at the scene or shortly after.

He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers but was later transferred to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry; he had been in the army for over 18 months when he was killed.  All of his brothers served in the forces, his two younger brothers Frederick (Fred) and Osborne were killed in 1915.  His older brother William survived.  Harry died of wounds in a field ambulance in Belgium.

The 12th were a Pioneer Battalion which was originally made up of miners from the South Yorkshire coalfield.  From 1st July to the 30th November 1917 they were attached to the Fifth Army to work on the light railway.  The true nature and functions of a Pioneer Battalion were never fully understood during the war either by military or laymen.  Little is known, or understood, of the contribution made by the many thousands of men who served with the original Pioneer Battalions.  Building and repairing roads, bridges, railway lines, gun emplacements and laying barbed wire to protect the Front Line, were just some of the tasks that they carried out.
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