Rank or Title
Date of Birth
19 Apr 1894
Date of Death
23 Apr 1917
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Acting Cpl David Dilley, 33620, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on April 23rd, 1917. He had celebrated his 23rd birthday just four days previously.
A pal wounded by the same shell that killed David wrote to parents William and Mary Ann Dilley at 8 Milton Road, Luton: "Your son was killed in the same shell hole I was in. I was wounded and managed to crawl from the hole. He did not suffer at all, but died quickly." The letter was written from a base hospital.
Another friend at the front wrote in another letter: "Your son David was killed in action on the 23rd April while we were making an attack on the German lines. I saw him a few moments before he fell and he was then fighting like the good soldier he was. After that I got separated from him and the next I heard was that he had been killed. He was killed instantly and suffered no pain whatever."
David Dilley was born in Gravenhurst, Beds, in 1894 and attended the village school there. He was a farm labourer before he came to Luton with his parents and was employed at the C.W.S. Cocoa Works in Dallow Road,where the flag was hoisted at half-mast on receipt of the news of his death.
After two unsuccessful attempts to join up he was accepted in the Beds Yeomanry and was promoted to corporal after training at Bedford and Colchester. In December 1916, owing to demands for drafts to the infantry, he was transferred and became a private in the Bedfordshire Regiment. He went to France on Christmas Day and did several spells in the trenches before taking part in the attack in which he was killed.
David Dilley belonged to the Park Town Primitive Methodist Young Men's Bible Class.