Baltic Medal 1854-5, Naval Long Service & Good Conduct, VR, Narrow Suspension, Royal Marines Meritorious Service Medal, EVII, Staff Sergeant Joseph Dyer, Royal Marines Light Infantry.
One of only 37 Awards of the Edward VII Royal Marines M.S.M., exceptionally rare with a campaign medal earned aged only 14 over 50 years earlier & his long service medal.
Only about 15 EVII awards are known to be in existence, 4 of which are in the Museum of the Royal Marines.
Joseph Dyer was born in East Stonehouse, near Plymouth on 8th December 1839, the son of Joseph Dyer.
He attested for service with the Royal marines on 8th December 1852 being appointed as a Drummer, this was his 13th Birthday.
He served with the Plymouth Division as a Drummer until 3rd February 1854, when he embarked aboard HMS James Watt for the Baltic Sea on 4th February 1854, at the young age of 14 as a boy Drummer.
On 15th April 1854 HMS James Watt detained the Russian Vessel ‘Aland’, and took part in the entire Baltic Campaign aboard the ship until he disembarked and rejoined the Plymouth Division on 24th April 1857.
His next posting as a Drummer was HMS Euryalus (HRH Duke of Edinburgh’s first ship as a Cadet) on 24th February 1858, with a selected detachment of Royal Marines, now a 17 year old Drummer.
On 22nd January 1861 he was made Private, then a year later on 8th March 1862 he was promoted to Corporal.
Promoted to Sergeant on 16th April 1864, by 1865 he obtained his Hythe Certificate at the School of Musketry.
Now a fully qualified Sergeant Instructor of Musketry he served as such on the Mediterranean Station from 5th February 1866 until returning home on 30th May 1869, serving aboard the ‘Liverpool’, ‘Hibernia’ & ‘Gibraltar.
On 1st March 1871 he joined the Deal Depot School of Musketry, becoming 1st Class Sergeant Instructor on 28th January 1877.
Being discharged from service on 13th May 1879.
He had served 26 years and 157 days including 5 years underage.
17 years and 60 days were spent ashore, with 9 years 97 days afloat.
Upon his discharge he was recommended for the Annuity Award on 15th May 1879, which he finally received after 32 years on 5th October 1911, which was granted following the death of Colour-Sergeant James Smith, following Joseph Dyer’s death in 1920, his annuity was passed to QMS Josiah Snelling.
He died at the Royal Albert Hospital, Devonport on 9th November 1920.
The Globe and Laurel May 1914 Page 81:
“THE MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDALS
The arm of coincidence is said to be a very long one. The fact is fully illustrated in the lives of four of our veteran non commissioned officers who are still living, and in possession of the Meritorious Service Medal.
Firstly, they all belonged to the Plymouth Division R.M.L.I.
Secondly, they have all served concurrently as Sergeant Instructors of Musketry (in 1875 two were serving at Plymouth and two at the R.M. Depot).
Thirdly, on discharge three of them held the rank of 1st Sergeant Instructor of Musketry, two being discharged at Plymouth and two at the Depot.
Fourthly, at Plymouth in 1875, when a rifle party was returning to barracks from Mount Edgcumbe, the boat foundered, and one non commissioned officer and several men lost their lives, the senior non commissioned officer present was Mr George, and Mr Pardon, the next senior to him. (as well as S.I.M. Dyer).
Mr Joseph Dyer is also a veteran. He enlisted in the Royal Marines as a Bugler in 1852, and during the Crimean War in 1854 and 1855 he served in HMS “James Watts” in the Baltic.
In 1858 he joined H.M.S. “Euryalus” (H.R.H. the late Duke of Edinburgh’s first ship as a Cadet), with a selected detachment of Royal marines.
He was promoted to Sergeant in 1864, and in 1865 obtained his Hythe Certificate.
From 1866 to 1869 he was serving with several others as Instructors of Musketry in the Mediterranean Fleet.
In 1871 he was appointed S.I.M. at the R.M. Depot, Walmer, where he served until his discharge as 1st Class I.M. in 1879. He joined the National Reserve