From Mac & Shad
Lieutenant and Adjutant Henry Julian Dyer, who was killed at Isandhlwana on 22nd January 1879, was the eldest son of Henry Julian Dyer, Esquire, and Emma, his late wife, eldest daughter of the late Francis Glass Esquire, of Beckenham, Kent, and Grandson of the late James Holland Dyer Esquire, of Blackheath, Kent. He was born on 21st October 1854, Red Hill, Surrey, and was educated at the Institute Taplin, Lohnstein-on-Rhine. He entered the Army in 1876, being gazetted in the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Regiment on 11th October of that year. Joining his corps at Dover, he served with it at that station and at Chatham, and in 1877 subsequently passed through the School of Musketry at Hythe. On the 2nd of February 1878, he embarked with the Regiment for South Africa 2nd February 1878, where, after arriving he served through the whole of the operations in connection with the suppression of the Galeka outbreak.
In November 1878, Lieutenant Dyer proceeded with the Regiment to Natal, to join the force being prepared to act against the Zulus in the event of their refusing to comply with the terms of Sir Bartle Frere’s ultimatum. While at Durban, he held an appointment as principal officer. He took part with the Regiment in the subsequent advance of Colonel Glyn’s column into the enemy’s country in January 1879, and was present at the storming of Sihayo’s stronghold in the Bashee Valley. On the morning of 22nd January 1879, he left Isandhlwana with the main body of the column, under Lord Chelmsford; but subsequently rode back on special service with Major Smith, Captain Gardner and Lieutenant Griffith, to convey the General’s order to advance the camp. Arriving at the very crisis of the tragedy which was being enacted, Lieutenant Dyer yet managed to make his way to his company; he was seen on horseback, in the thick of the engagement, directing his men where to fire, and he fell doing his duty to the last. Colonel Degacher, 24th Regiment, in a letter written at Rorke’s Drift, bearing date 27th January 1879, making reference to the loss he had personally sustained on the fatal day, said: “They all (viz, his brother, Major Smith, Lieutenant Griffith and Lieutenant Dyer) died like gentlemen: not one of them, although they might have done so, left their men.” On revisiting the ill-fated camp five months later, for the purpose of burying the dead, Colonel Black found Lieutenant Dyer’s body, pierced to the heart with an assegai, lying in a group with those of sixty others who had formed a rallying point in the retreat and fought desperately to the end.
In the death of Lieutenant Dyer a promising career was brought to an untimely close. “He would have made,” wrote one of his comrades, “A first-rate officer. The men of his Regiment would have done anything for him.”