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  • Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 7th September 1915. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
10 May 1881
Liverpool Lancashire
William Christian's parents were both born in Germany and were German subjects: Christian Ludwic DREYER and Ada Louisa (née Reinhard). His father later used the first name 'Charles' and his mother the first name 'Edith' and by 1881 they were using the surname 'Dryer'. They gave their nationality as British on the 1911 Census. Christian Dreyer and Ada Reinhard were married in London in 1875 (J/A/S Stepney) and had twelve children of whom nine survivied infancy or childhood: Louisa b. London abt. 1876; Charles Fritz b. Liverpool 1877 (Dreyer, J/F/M Liverpool); William Christian b. Liverpool 10 May 1881 (A/M/J West Derby Lancs) bap. Liverpool St Peter 19 June 1881; Alfred b. Nottingham July 1883 bap. Nottingham St Ann 2 September 1883 d. 1886 (J/A/S Nottingham); Edith Annie Minnie b. Nottingham 25 July 1885 bap. 31 May 1886 d. 1886 (J/A/S Nottingham); Ernest Henry b. Nottingham May 1887 bap. Nottingham St Bartholomew/St Ann 12 September 1892; Albert Christian b. Nottingham January 1890 (J/F/M Nottingham) bap. Nottingham St Bartholomew/St Ann 28 January 1890; Edith Dorothy b. Nottingham 12 August 1892 bap. 12 September 1892 (no registration of death traced) and also Edith b. 12 August 1895 (O/N/D Nottingham, DOB also recorded on 1939 Register); Lena (prob. Lilian) b. Nottingham 1896 (O/N/D Nottingham); Herbert Christian b. Nottingham 31 August 1898 (O/N/D Nottingham) and Arthur Percy b. 15 August 1901 (J/A/S Nottingham). In 1881 Christian Dryer (31), a cabinet maker, and Ada (25) were living at 7 Hardwick Street, West Derby, Lancashire, with their two children Louisa (5) and Charles (4). William Christian was born in May the same year and the baptismal record shows that the famiy was still living on Hardwick Street. The family has not yet been traced on the 1891 Census but Christian and Ada were living in Nottingham by 1883 when their son Alfred was born. Alfred's baptismal record gave their address as 27 Turner Street. However, by the time of their daughter Edith Annie Minnie's baptism in 1886 they were living at 22 Campbell Grove and at 16 Beacon Hill, Crown Street, by 1887 when Ernest was baptised. They were still at 16 Beacon Street when Edith Dorothy was baptised in 1892. By 1901 Christian and Ada were living at 11 Salford Street, Alfred Street South, Nottingham, with five of their eight surviving children: Ernest (13) a suger boiler, Albert (10), Edith (8), Lena (6) and Herbert (3). William Christian had joined the Royal Navy in December 1896 and served until 9 May 1911. The two oldest children, Louisa and Charles, have not yet been traced on the 1901 census. Their youngest child, Arthur, was born later that year. The 1911 Census gives Christian and Ada's names as Charles and Edith. They were still living at 11 Salford Street but only Albert a carter, Edith a machinist (neckwear), Herbert and Arthur (10) were in the home on the night of the census. The family was living at 11 Salford Street when William was killed in 1915. His father probably died in 1919 (Charles C Dryer, J/A/S Nottingham) and his mother in 1920 (Edith Dryer, J/F/M Nottingham).
He was a furniture packer when he joined the Royal Navy on 13 December 1896. He served in the Royal Navy until 9 May 1911. He was later employed by the Nottingham & District Post Office.
02 Aug 1915
1610644 - CWGC Website
286
Gunner
8th Bty (Motors) Machine Gun Corps
William Christian entered the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class at the age of 15 on 13 December 1896. He joined on a 12 year continuous engagement on 10 May 1899, his 18th birthday and served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Impregnable, 13 December 1896-28 June 1898 (Boy 2nd Class, Boy 1st Class 2 September 1897); Victory III, 29 June 1898-2 September 1898; HMS Royal Arthur, 3 September 1898-16 April 1901 (Ordinary Seaman 10 May 1899, Able Seaman 1 September 1900).; Duke of Wellington I, 16 April 1901-1 September 1901; Victory, b 2 September 1901-14 January 1902; Duke of Wellington 15 January 1902-25 January 1902; HMS Excellent, 26 January 1902-26 April 1902; HMS Vernon, 27 April 1902-25 October 1902; Duke of Wellington, 26 October 1902-27 November 1902; HMS Bellona, 28 November 1902-30 August 1903 (10 Days Cells), 10 September 1903- May 1903 (Cells) May 1903-1 December 1904; HMS Egmont, 2 December 1904-12 May 1905; HMS Implacable, 13 May 1905-9 July 1906; Victory I, 10 July 1906-11 August 1906; HMS Vernon, 12 August 1906-23 February 1907; Victory I, 24 February 1907-23 March 1907; HMS Vernon, 24 March 1907-19 March 1909; HMS Invincible, 20 March 1909-27 March 1911; Victory I, 28 March 1911-30 March 1911; HMS Revenge, 31 March 1911-9 May 1911. In 1901 he was serving in HMS Royal Arthur, a 1st Class Cruiser, on the Australia station, at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The census gives his rate as Leading Seaman although his service record shows he was only rated able seaman; he may have been awarded local acting rate. He was serving as an Able Seaman (HMS Revenge) in 1911 when he was recorded on the census as a visitor in the household of Alfred and Elizabeth Liles at St James' Road, Southsea, Portsmouth. His service record was annotated ‘Strongly commended by CinC home Fleet for his promptness in endeavouring to save the life of Brown AB (167999) on 19 April 1909’. William left the Royal Navy in May 1911 on the expiration of his 12 year engagement. However, he joined the Royal Fleet Reserve on 4 November 1911. He was serving in a merchantman that was captured by the S.M.S. Emden although he was only held prisoner for a few days. William joined the army after his release, serving with 8th Battery Machine Gun Corps. He landed in France on 21st May 1915 and was killed in action less than three months later on 2nd August 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
Nottingham Evening Post, 'Roll of Honour, 23rd August 1915:- DRYER. – Killed in action, August 2nd, William Dryer, Motor Machine Gun Section, dearly beloved son of C. Dryer, 11, Salford-street, age 35. Gone, but never will he be forgotten. He was one of the best. Sadly missed from his sorrowing family.” Above courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918. Nottingham Evening Post, 7 September 1915: photograph with caption: 'WC Dryer, 11 Salford Street, Alfred Street South, Nottingham. Killed with Motor Machine Gun Section August 2nd, was 15 years in the Royal Navy and 6 in the Merchant Service.' Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 2 August 1916: ‘Dryer. In loving memory of my dear son, William, killed in action August 2nd, 1915, after 17 years’ service. Gone from my side, but not from my heart. Sorrowing mother, father, brothers, and sisters, 11 Salford-street.’ (www.britishnnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 2 August 1917 ‘Dryer. In loving memory of Gunner William Dryer, Motor Machine Gun Section, killed in action August 2nd 1915. Ever in our thoughts, From mother, father, sisters, brothers, Albert in France.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 2 August 1917 ‘Dryer. In loving memory of our dear brother Will, killed in action August 2nd 1915.Fondly remembered. Brother Charlie and family.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 2 August 1918: ‘Dryer. In loving memory of Gnr William Dryer, killed in action August 2nd 1915. Fondly remembered. From mother, father, sisters, brothers, Albert & Sam (in France).’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 2 August 1919: ‘Dryer. In loving memory of Gnr. William Dryer, killed in action August 2nd, 1916. Ever in our thoughts. From mother, father, sisters, brothers, Albert in Germany.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his father Charles (sic) was his legatee. WW1 Pension Ledgers Index Cards: names his mother, Edith Dryer.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 7th September 1915. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    William Dryer - Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 7th September 1915. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918