Henry Ryland Dyer, or Harry, was born in Jhansi, India on 21 December 1887 during the time that his father was serving with the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment as a Quartermaster Sergeant.
Harrys father, Henry Thomas Dyer was born at Penryn, Cornwall in 1856 and had joined the Devonshire Regiment in the mid 1870s. Previously he had worked in Penryn as a telegraph messenger.
The 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment were mobilised to India in 1881 and were based initially at Jullundur, in the North West Provinces before moving on to Jhansi in early November 1884.
Henry Thomas Dyer had married Jemima (born Lanarkshire, Scotland 1855) either in India or perhaps during a leave period in the UK in the early 1880s and their first son, Samuel Adam Dyer was born at Jhansi in early 1886. Their second son, Henry Ryland Dyer was born in late 1887 and their third son Edward (k/a Eddie) a year or two later but he was to die when only 20 months old. There were quite severe problems with cholera at the time in India and this may have been the cause of his early death.
The Devonshire Regiment left India in September 1899 bound for South Africa but Henry snr, then in his mid 40s moved to the regimental headquarters at Higher Barracks, Howell Road, Exeter, Devon where he, his wife and 2 sons were provided with accommodation. The 1901 census taken in the April of that year confirms their presence at the barracks. It was from here that Harry would have travelled the short distance to Longbrook Street to attend the Manual School (see main biography).
Henry Dyer appears to have retired from the army when reaching age 50 in 1905. He and his family then moved to a house at 43 Mount Pleasant Road in Exeter which remained the family home until Jemima Dyer died there in 1923.