PFC Willard Chester Dyer was born 9 Aug 1916 in Knoxville, Tennessee to William Richard and Eliza M (Arms) Dyer.  William was a city policeman whose 1939 income (after at least 20 years service) was $1800.  In 1940 Willard was clerking in a store.  The family lived at 2033 Linden Avenue.

After Willard began his service he was assigned to Headquarters 116th Infantry and was with that unit on D-Day.  The headquarters embarked on 2 boats (LCVP) and one was struck by 1-3 artillery shells destroying the boat and killing all aboard.  Willard was on this boat and died on 6 Jun 1944.  Fortunately for the command, the 116th’s commander, COL Canham, was on the other boat.  Only one occupant of that boat was killed in the landing, an officer, although COL Canham was himself wounded.

PFC Willard is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery.  There is a cenotaph for him in Berry Highland Memorial Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Some apparently believe Willard was assigned to M Company 116th Infantry.  It is possible that he was assigned to that unit at one time and correspondence from him bears that unit as a return address but the morning report shows him as being assigned to the regimental headquarters.

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 29 August 1916
  • Date of death: 6 June 1944
  • County: Knox
  • Hometown: Knoxville
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 116th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Battles: Normandy Campaign
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XIV, Bottom Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Willard C. Dyer

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