Flash vacuum pyrolysis (FVP) of aryl 2-(allyloxy)benzoates 5 and of the corresponding aryl 2-(allylthio) benzoates 6 at 650 degrees C, gives dibenzofurans 19 and dibenzothiophenes 20, respectively. The mechanism involves generation of phenoxyl (or thiophenoxyl) radicals by homolysis of the O-allyl (or S-allyl) bond, followed by ipso attack at the ester group, loss of CO2 and cyclisation of the resulting aryl radical. Synthetically, the procedure works well for p-substituted substrates, which lead to 2-substituted dibenzofurans 19b-f (73-90%) and dibenzothiophenes 20b-c (90-94%). Little selectivity is shown in the cyclisation of m-substituted substrates and competing interactions of the radical with the substituent-and ipso-attack-complicate the pyrolyses of o-substituted substrates. FVP of related radical precursors including 2-(allyloxy) phenyl benzoates 43 gave no dibenzofurans, whereas 2-(allyloxy-5-methyl)azobenzene 44 gave a much reduced yield. No carbazoles were obtained by FVP of 4-methylphenyl 2-(allylamino) benzoate 42.