Mr Henry Ryland Dyer was born in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India on 21 December 1887.
He was the second son of Henry Thomas Dyer (b. 1856) and Jemima Brown (b. 1855); his father hailed from Penryn, Cornwall whilst his mother was from Dumfriesshire, Scotland and they had married around 1886.
He had three siblings: Samuel Adam (1886-1953), Edward Phillips (1890-1892) and Winifred Mary (b. 1894).
Dyer's father Henry served in the British Army and Henry and his two brothers were born in India. He, his mother and siblings returned to Britain around 1890 and were shown on the 1891 census living at the home of his maternal uncle Samuel Brown (b. 1859), a railway stoker, at an address in Crewe, Cheshire. When his father eventually returned to England the family seemingly spent time in Plymouth where his sister Winifred was born in 1894. They then moved to the Town Barracks in Exeter, Devon, appearing there on the 1901 census when his father was described as a quarter master sergeant and his elder brother Samuel as an apprentice engineer. Following his father's retirement in 1905 the family continued to make their home in Exeter and from 1907 onwards resided at 43 Mount Pleasant Road where his father continued to serve as a clerk for the Devon Regiment.
Around 1903 Dyer began an apprenticeship with Messrs Willey & Co, Iron Founders on Water Lane in Exeter. He also received education at Manual School Exeter, which was part of the Royal Albert Memorial College. Henry, known as "Harry" to the fans, played football for Exeter City FC (Full Back) in eleven matches, the first of which took place on 3 October 1907. He was also a member of the St David's (Exeter) District Committee of the National Deposit Friendly Society of which his father was chairman.
From early 1908 he was in employment with the White Star line based in Southampton. After a short period on the shore staff at Southampton he was appointed to the Adriatic where he stayed for three years before moving, in 1911, to the Olympic. He and his brother Samuel appear on the 1911 census as boarders at 5 Hanover Buildings, Southampton; Samuel is described as an engraver and Henry as a marine engineer for the White Star Line.
"The Exeter City team which competed in the Plymouth & District League in the final season before the Grecians joined the Southern League.
Back row (left to right)., Mr C.Fey [obscured], Mr W. Bastin, E. Eveleigh, H.Dyer (who went down on the Titantic [sic], W. Bunker' Wells, S. Bastin, Percy Warner, Sgt Mould, Mr S. H. Thomas (secretary) [out of shot].
Sitting: Ben Massey, R.Fenwick, J. Sellick, H. Singlehurst, W. Letheren."
(Courtesy: Exeter City Football Club / Steve Coombes, UK)
The following year Dyer, who was unmarried, was appointed to the Titanic as Senior Assistant Fourth Engineer. Prior to joining the ship he paid a visit to his parents in Exeter before he travelled to Belfast for Titanic's delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed on again on 6 April 1912 for the maiden voyage he gave his local address as 53 Middle Street, Southampton. As Senior Assistant Fourth Engineer Dyer could expect monthly wages of £11.
Henry Ryland Dyer lost his life in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. He is remembered on his family gravestone in Higher Cemetery, Exeter:
His parents continued to live at 43 Mount Pleasant Road for the rest of their lives; his father died on 20 September 1914 and his mother on 26 June 1923.