Edwin James Dyer was born in Kennington or Lambeth, London in 1865, son of Edward Wilson Dyer an Office Keeper and Jane Dyer (nee Parsons). One of six children. He was Baptised on 12th November 1869, at St Mary's Church, Lambeth. His mother Jane died in October 1871, aged 48.
1871 Census records Edwin aged 6, his sister Jane 14 and brother Andrew 10, living with their Aunt and Uncle, Jacob and Caroline Dyer, in Swan Yard, Church Street, Lambeth.
His father Edward remarried in May 1872, to Rachel Goode. He died in August 1876, aged 53.
1881 Census records Edwin aged 15, an inmate of the Middlesex County Industrial School, Feltham, Middlesex, he was detained under the Industrial Schools Act. (A training establishment for wayward children, designed to give then a training and to keep them on the straight and narrow).
1891 Census records Edwin aged 25, working as a Shoemaker and a visitor at The Grove, Lambeth, London.
He married Emma Helen Perry on 29th October 1900 at the Strand Registry Office, London.
1901 Census records Edwin as married and his occupation is given as a General Labourer. He and Emma lived at 85, Medway Road, Croydon, Surrey. His nephew Albert Newman was living with them.
Edwin and Emma lived in Grover Road, Oxhey, Bushey, Herts, at the outbreak of the war.