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James Henry Dyball was born in Carshalton, Surrey in about 1880.

On 12th May 1902, at Hounslow, James enlisted in the Army on a short-service term of 3 years with the Colours and 9 years in the Reserve. He was 22 years old and had been working as a labourer. James was posted in the 1st Battalion, Royal Dragoons with the service number 5633.

At his enlistment medical he was described as being 5ft 6in tall, of fresh complexion, with Hazel eyes and brown hair.

On 27th September 1902 at Shorncliffe, James was confined to barracks for 7 days as a punishment for being drunk.

Christmas 1902, James was absent from reveille on 26th December and didn’t return until the following day. On the 28th he was ordered to attend the defaulters parade as punishment – he was late, improperly dressed and was untidy. He was further punished by being confined to barracks for another 3 days.

In March 1903 he was posted into the 7th Battalion, and then into the 5th Battalion on 10th April 1904. He had a new service number each time; 6442 then 5287.

Throughout 1904 his disciplinary record did not improve, cases of drunkenness, taking a horse from the troop stables without permission and stating a falsehood to the Serjeant Major, all were recorded on his permanent record.

On 4th July 1904 James was awarded 168 hours in prison for being drunk and asleep whilst on duty as a sentry.

The next month, 20th August 1904, another 168 hours was spent in prison. Then the following month he forfeited one days pay for being absent.

From March 1905, James served a period in South Africa, in Bloomfontein.

On 11th May 1905, James was transferred to the Reserve as his term of active service had been completed. On 11th May 1914 he was fully discharged as his term of reserve service had now ended.

On 3rd October 1908, James married Ethel Evelyn at Bromley registry office, Kent. Their son, Sidney James was born on 20th January 1910.

On 12th December 1914, James now 35 years old, enlisted in the Army Special Reserve at Woolwich. Due to his civilian occupation as a horsekeeper, he was posted into the Royal Veterinary Corps, service number 1736.

At this time they had been living at 39 Marlow road, Anerley, S.E London; he elected to allot 1/6 of his daily pay to his wife, Ethel.

On 22nd December 1914, James set sail for France to join the British Expeditionary Force. He embarked at Southampton, and disembarked at Havre the next day. He held the post of ‘Horse Keeper’. James returned to England on 10th August 1916.

Shortly after arriving home he was transferred to the Royal Field Artillery, changing from Private, to the rank of Gunner. He was part of the 76th Training Reserve Battalion.

On 12th January 1917, James again set sail for France. This time he embarked at Folkestone and landed at Boulogne. Shortly after his arrival he was transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, joining the 1st Battalion in the field. His new service number, 35953.

In July 1917 he was attached to number 2, Machine Gun company.

James was killed in action on 8th September 1918, his wife Ethel, as his next of kin receiving the unfortunate notification of his death. None of his personal effects were recovered.

At the time of his death, the Battalion were supporting the Canadian Corps in the Drocourt-Queant sector at Arras.

Ethel moved address within months of her husbands death, to 31 Railway Terrace, Diss, Norfolk; she received a widows pension of 20/5 a week for her and their one child.

For his war service, his Ethel took receipt of the 1914/15 Star, the British War and Victory medals.

James Henry Dyball is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois memorial.

Rank: Private
Service No: 35953
Date of Death: 18/09/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Memorial: VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL, Panel 7.

Paul McCormick
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