Dryer, David Frakes

Regimental Number: M537274 (Reserve) & M6057 (Regular Army)
Rank: Private

David, born on May 14, 1925 at Hanna, Alberta, was the 4th youngest in John (1890) and Margaret (nee Frakes) (1892) Dryer’s family of nine children. He had four brothers; Arnold, Robert, William, Jack and four sisters; Mabel, Fay, Iris, Daisy. John and Margaret were both born in the USA; John had immigrated in 1909 and Margaret, in 1902. The “dirty thirties” actually began in 1929 in Hanna. By 1931, as once again there was not any crop to harvest, the Government passed a bill whereby a boxcar would be provided as well as transportation costs paid for any farmers who were willing to move to Northern Alberta. The Dryer’s took advantage of the program and arrived in Grande Prairie in August 1931. John, Bob and Bill travelled with the household effects and machinery in one box car along with a car load of horses. The rest of the family, Mabel, Fay, David, Iris, Jack and Margaret, arrived by passenger train. They settled on the Eldred farm which is now where the Eldoe’s Trailer Court is located. John and Arnold found employment with Herman Wendt’s threshing outfit for $3 per man and team for a 13-hour day. Once the threshing was completed, the Dryer’s rented the Morrison farm (NW 25-71-4-W6) at Glen Leslie and lived there for 10 years. The first winter, a horse was traded for a wagon load of potatoes and the family lived on those along with rabbits that were very plentiful. All the children attended the Somme School where David’s best friend was Bobby Kimble. Entertainment consisted of local dances at Bezanson and Crystal Creek where admission was 25 cents. House parties were mainly held at Bredeson’s and Dorscheid’s. In 1941, John and Margaret Dryer decided to purchase land from the Voz family that was located slightly east of what is known as Patterson Place in Grande Prairie. The younger Dryer children completed their education in Grande Prairie. On March 9, 1945 David enlisted in the Army where he served as a Private during World War II guarding prisoners in Canada. He also served in the Army Reserves which was a part-time force that provided a responsive capability at home or abroad. David was discharged on demobilization on September 10, 1946 and returned home to Grande Prairie. Private David Dryer received the following medals: War Medal 1939-45 and the Voluntary Service Medal. In 1946, David married Mary Hollier who was originally from Rycroft. They had one child, a daughter Shirley, who was born in 1946. The Dryer’s lived in Grande Prairie where David worked for Coca-Cola as well as assisting his father on the farm. He also worked for local farmers when needed. David also worked for McGavins delivering their various products. The family stayed in Grande Prairie until 1959 when they moved to Calgary as David’s brother, John, lived there. David again worked for Coca-Cola in Calgary until they decided to move to Victoria in 1965. Once in Victoria, David found employment with the Royal Jubilee Hospital where he remained until he retired in 1986. David enjoyed hunting when he retired; often in the company of his grandson who was a guide. Bobby Kimble and David remained close over the years and Bobby often visited in Victoria where they enjoyed many fishing trips. David passed away in 2010 and was cremated. His ashes are in the possession of his daughter, Shirley.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie pp. 426-427
1926 Census records
Sharon Kimble – Dryer land information at Glen Leslie
Interview with Shirley (Dryer) Freeman 250-724-1904