Law Dyson


Private 025162, Army Ordnance Corps (EEF)

Died 7th December 1917 aged 48

Buried Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

Husband of Mary Ann Dyson

Lived 16, Back Lane, Heckmondwike

Law was born on 25th February 1869 at Lower Bank End, South Crossland, Huddersfield, the youngest of the twelve children of Henry Dyson a Woollen Spinner from Honley and Mary Heywood (Haywood) from Wigan. They had married at All Hallows Parish Church, Almondbury on May 7th 1846. However Law never knew his mother as she died aged 40, one month after he was born. Law and his older brother Sam were baptised five months later at Holy Trinity church, South Crossland. The family were textile workers and they had moved to Halifax by 1881 when Law, aged 12, was working as a Woollen Spinner. He later became a Blacksmith.

On the 21st February 1891 Law married Mary Ann Wignall of Brighouse Fields, Rastrick at St Mary’s Church Elland. They had moved to Heckmondwike by 1903. On the 1911 census, Law has written the names of their eight children, all of whom were living with them at 27, Croft Street, Heckmondwike.

In 1914 at Cleckheaton, Law enlisted into the Army, joining the Northumberland Fusiliers as Private 16970. He was later transferred into the Army Ordnance Corps, which became the Royal Ordnance Corps in 1918. Law was sent to Egypt in the spring of 1917 with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), to man one of the large logistic supply bases that had been established in the Egyptian canal-zone.

The Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) was responsible for the repair and maintenance of weapons and vehicles associated with weapons, such as gun limbers, gun carriages, ammunition wagons, harnesses, saddles and other leather accoutrements. The Corps also ran mobile repair and maintenance workshops, which were attached to army corps. The men of the Army Ordnance Corps were store-men and clerks, responsible for ordering, storage and issue, tradesmen such as blacksmiths, fitters, wheelers, welders, electricians, carpenters, saddlers tentmakers, armourers and armament artificers who were responsible for the more demanding aspects of weapon wear. Law’s skills as a blacksmith would have made him an obvious choice for transfer to that unit. As with the rest of the British Army the AOC was transformed by the First World War. Both the sheer scale of the war and the increasing technical complexity created an organisational structure that, in its outlines, survives today.

The Cleckheaton Advertiser and Spenborough Times newspaper published on Thursday 13th December 1917 reported that “News has reached Mrs Dyson of Back Lane, Heckmondwike of the death of her husband Private Law Dyson, from dysentery, whilst serving in Egypt. A telegram was received on the 4th inst. saying he was seriously ill, and on the Tuesday of this week another 'wire' followed reporting his death. The deceased soldier joined the army three years ago, and was first attached the Northumberland Fusiliers but later transferred to the AOC. He had been in Egypt about eight months and at the time of his death was in hospital in Alexandria. Before the war he worked for Messrs Broadbent’s, Walkley Lane, Heckmondwike. He was 48 years of age. Two of his sons, James and Harry are in the Army. The latter is in hospital in Derbyshire”.

Law was 48 when he died, one of the oldest of the Heckmondwike men known to have given his life for his country in The Great War.

Medals: British and Victory

Commemorated: St Saviour’s Memorial within Heckmondwike Parish Church; Green Park Memorial and the Vellum Memorial Book.

James Dyson is recorded alongside his father in the Memorial Book as living at 16, Back Lane, Heckmondwike.{PL/KH-041}

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