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3197 cqms james edward graham-smJames Edward Graham was born in London in about September 1874 and was the son of James and Emma Graham.

James had married to Elizabeth Ellen Gregson in Preston on 27th March 1897 and in 1914 they were living at 7 Tennyson Road with their three children; Elizabeth Emma (b. 20/02/1901), Margaret Alice (b. 08/01/1904) and Albert Edward (b. 25/05/1907).

He had first enlisted in the Army on 28th December 1892 and served for 21 years with the 1st Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 3865. Prior to joining he had been employed as a weaver and for reasons unknown had enlisted under the name of James Hartley. This was discovered in September 1901 when he made a declaration stating his true name and that he had used an alias when enlisting.

During his first term of service James had been a signaller, he had qualified as an instructor of signalling and been awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal with gratuity (1911). He had also worked for 15 months as the regimental clerk and company accountant and was recommended by the Commanding Officer (Lt. Col. G. C. Knight) upon discharge in October 1913 to be given a position of responsibility in civilian employment who said he was ‘..an honest, sober and intelligent man.. and should do well’. His rank upon discharge was Colour Serjeant.

James was recalled to the Army as a Special Reservist when war broke out in August 1914. He was 39 years 11 months old and since his discharge had been working as a clerk at the County Insurance Offices, Preston.

He was made a Company Quartermaster Serjeant in the newly raised 6th (Service) Battalion and during their training his former experience as an instructor was said to be of great service to the unit. He sailed out with the 6th Battalion as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force from Avonmouth on the Braemar Castle on 15th June 1915.

On the 6th July 1915 the 6th Battalion landed at Cape Helles via ‘River Clyde’ and to camp in Gully Ravine and a day later moved forward to the reserve in Eski Line. On 8th July they moved forward to the support line and were attached to troops of 29th Division. This sector rested on Aegean Sea and was on the extreme left of the British line.

On the 9th Jul7 1915 the Battalion was relieved by 6th East Lancashire Regiment, and it was during the relief that James Graham was killed by a sniper. The circumstances of his death are mentioned in ‘My experiences in Gallipoli‘.

On being relieved from the trenches, and on our way to this resting place, our Company officers were warned to keep a sharp look-out for snipers, who at that time were active in the vicinity of the Eski redoubt, near a junction of gullies called “Clapham Junction”. As we were marching along one of the gullies, we were suddenly attracted by the continuous ping of the snipers’ bullets. One of these bullets struck Quartermaster-Sergeant Graham, a good fellow, through the head. What a spectacle he looked. He lay where he fell and bid his comrades farewell, a few minutes afterwards being called to God’s care.

A little further on we were aware of the fact that one of our best officers, Captain C. C. de Fallot, shared the same fate as that of Graham; but this officer fought hard for life for four and a half hours*. He was vainly trying to cheat death, poor fellow, but the hand of God intervened. Quartermaster-Sergeant Graham and this gallant officer were laid to rest near where life was so brutally snatched from them.

James’ effects were received by his wife at 129 Acregate lane, Preston in March 1916 which consisted of;

  • 1 pouch
  • 1 pipe
  • 1 knife
  • 1 pr nippers (pliers)
  • 1 watch and strap
  • 1 charm
  • 1 disc
  • and 4 photos

Elizabeth then asked to be sent what James had in breast pocket and was sent his whistle and strap.

She would later receive her late-husband’s 1914/15 star, British War Medal and Allied Victory medal in addition to a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name and in recognition of his sacrifice.

James Graham laid in this makeshift grave until 1928 when his body was exhumed and laid to rest in the Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Cape Helles.

Rank: Company Quartermaster Serjeant
Service No: 3197
Date of Death: 09/07/1915
Age: 40
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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