Rev. John Dalby was born in Leeds, England, on 2nd April, 1898. His school life ended at the age of 18, when he joined the military to serve in the 1st World War. He was wounded in the battle field, and then incarcerated by the Germans as a prisoner of war, After securing his release in 1919, he entered Leeds University, passing out with a B. A. in History. He laterjoined Oxford University and obtained a Master’s Degree from Oriel College.
He first arrived in Ceylon in 1924, when the Wesleyan Mission in England chose him to be Vice Principal of Wesley College, Colombo. In 1929 he was elevated to the post of Principal of Wesley and he functioned in this post with great distinction till 1938. In 1939, he was appointed Principal of Richmond. But he remained Principal only for a short time, leaving to devote his full time to missionary work.
Writing in the centenary magazine of Richmond, Rev Dalby describes the years he spent at Richmond (1939-1940) as a very important period in his life.
In 1942 Rev Dalby assumed duties as head of the Methodist Mission in Badulla. He also served as a clergyman of the Galle Mission.
Mr. Dalby, who devoted his entire life to the service of God and Education, passed away on 30th December, 1989, at the age of 91.