Joanna Yorke Dyer was one of four British military personnel who were killed together with a civilian interpreter in the early hours of the morning of Thursday, 5 April 2007 west of Basra City, Iraq, when a roadside bomb exploded beneath the Warrior Armoured vehicle they were travelling in. The others were Corporal Kris O’Neill, Private Eleanor Dlugosz and Kingsman Adam Smith.
Second Lieutenant Joanna Yorke Dyer was born in Berlin in 1983. After completing a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, she went on to Officer Training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. A keen and talented hockey player Jo, from Yeovil, was a popular member of her Sandhurst Platoon. Commissioning into the Intelligence Corps in December 2006, she was attached to the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in order to gain operational experience in Iraq on Operation TELIC 9 before completing her Young Officer Training.
An enthusiastic and charming officer Jo quickly made her mark as the Battalion’s ISTAR officer, a post normally reserved for a more experienced officer. Jo was keen to get the most out of her attachment and was soon developing a wide ranging portfolio of skills. These skills enabled her to be tasked with supporting the planning and conduct of ground operations alongside the other officers and Kingsmen of the Battalion.
Her Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Kenyon MBE, said of her:
"From a very early stage it was evident that Jo was a talented and energetic officer who was determined to make the most of her deployment to Iraq. Her enthusiasm was boundless and her contribution to our operations, even within a few short weeks, was invaluable. We very quickly came to think of her as one of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time."
Friends and colleagues from the Battle Group said of Jo:
"Jo was a genuinely selfless person who seized every chance to get involved. She had a thirst for knowledge and really wanted to experience all she could, whether it was in the office or on the ground with the soldiers. She embraced every challenge of being on an operational tour with us.
"Jo always managed to amaze us with the amount of mail she received – this is testament to just how loved and popular she was. She always spoke with great pride of her family, her partner and her friends back home. We will remember how she could have banter with anyone and was always fun to be around. To those who she lived with, she will be remembered as the girl who could light up a room. Jo was a privilege to have known and we will sorely miss both her and her infectious smile."