Corporal Ainsworth Dyer 1977 - 2002
Soldier, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Killed in Afghanistan
Plaque located at: 203 Sackville Green, Toronto, ON, Canada
Corporal Dyer, the son of the late Paul and Agatha Dyer, was born in Montréal, Quebec. He grew up in Regent Park, a downtown neighbourhood in Toronto. Raised by his strict Jamaican grandmother, he had a strong sense of right and wrong.
In February 1996, Ainsworth Dyer enrolled with the Militias 48th Highlanders of Canada as an infantryman. In October 1997, he transferred to the Regular Force. When completing battle-school he became a member of the Edmonton-based battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. After joining the 5 Platoon in 1998, he quickly developed into a mature and responsible soldier. He served as a Rifleman and was deployed on Operation Palladium to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2000.
Always looking to challenge himself, Ainsworth trained for the “Mountain Man” competition, the blood and guts of the light infantry soldier. He also conquered the skies and became a paratrooper. His sense of adventure complemented his strong temperament.
Corporal Dyer was one of four Canadians killed during a “friendly fire” incident in Afghanistan in 2002. Eight other soldiers from the Battalion were injured. This tragedy is referred to as The Tarnak Farm Incident. An American F-16 fighter jet piloted by an Air National Guard dropped a laser-guided bomb on the Canadians who were conducting a night firing exercise at Tarnak Farms. The deaths of these Canadian soldiers were Canada’s first during the war in Afghanistan and the first in a combat zone since the Korean War.
Corporal Ainsworth Dyer was buried with full military honours in the Necropolis Cemetery in Cabbagetown. In a touching moment, his parents released a box of doves.
In February 2003, Corporal Dyer was commemorated on the Rakkasan Memorial Wall at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The Ainsworth Dyer Bridge, a footbridge in Edmonton’s Rundle Park , has special meaning for both the Dyer and Von Sloten families. It was at this spot that Ainsworth proposed to his girlfriend Jocelyn Von Sloten before he left for Afghanistan. After Ainsworth was killed, Aart Von Sloten, Jocelyn’s father, began making wooden crosses for all the soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Each cross is inscribed with the name and rank of the 158 men and women who died while serving in the Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Over the years, a ceremony has been held on Remembrance Day and the names of those who have died are read aloud and a cross placed in the ground in their honour. The ceremony began with a small group but has grown to include many people who wish to pay their respects to these fallen soldiers.
Ainsworth Dyer is described by his colleagues as a thoughtful leader, his own man, and one who had strength of heart that was unparalleled. He will be remembered as a brave soldier. In the words of retired Sgt. Oswald Reece, who trained Ainsworth as a young recruit, “he was a standout person; he was always ready to step up to the plate; he was the perfect soldier.”