Diamond War Memorial Project

Private William Graham

'B' Company, 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Regimental Number 15556
Born: ---- Died: 1916-04-17 Aged: 21 Enlisted: Londonderry.

Interred in Authuile Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Name inscribed on St Columb's Cathedral (Church of Ireland) Memorial to the men connected with that cathedral who died during the 1914-18 War. Name also commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Only son of Samuel and Agnes (died April 16, 1930, and was interred in Londonderry City Cemetery) Graham, 13, Albert Place, Londonderry. Brother of Jessie Caldwell, 5, Albert Place, Londonderry (who married John, second son of Mr George Caldwell, 28, Ewing Street, on December 29, 1920, at St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry. Brother and brother-in-law of Jeannie and Harry Robinson, 10, Albert Place, Londonderry.

Private Graham was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, and was serving his apprenticeship as a pattern maker in Brown's Foundry when he volunteered. He was also a member of the Salvation Army.

Writing to deceased's father, Canon King, offering his sincere sympathy, said ? 'Your son was a brave soldier and a Christian man. He was thoroughly respected and greatly liked by those who knew him, and they bear testimony to the high character he bore amongst them. He was in the battalion, and all had been very quiet. He just went out of his dug-out to get some firewood, when a shell burst near, and a fragment hit him on the head, killing him instantly. We buried him this morning in a military cemetery near, where seven or eight of his own battalion lie already and a few of the 9th. While you have one less to bid you goodbye here you have one more to greet you beyond the River. He might have lived longer, but could not have died more nobly. And had he lived and died as men at home live and die he might never have won for himself the verdict of these eternal words, ?Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.? May God visit you and yours with His comfort. May He give you joy both now and then through the assurance of reunion in a life unclouded by death and parting.'

Captain Robertson, in a sympathetic letter, wrote ? 'He was a good soldier, always cheerful and willing, and we miss him greatly.'

Deceased's father also received touching letters from Sergeant Irwin and Lance Sergeant Hamilton.

The name of William Graham was read out at a memorial service held, in St Columb's (Church of Ireland) Cathedral, Londonderry, on Sunday, July 30, 1916, to pay homage to the memory of the men of the city of Derry, who had died during the second year of the First World War. On the first anniversary of his death, his family had the following lines inserted in a Londonderry newspaper:

It was hard to lose you, Willie dear,

But God, who knoweth best,

Held wide His loving arms and said,

?Come unto Me and rest.?

One year later, on the second anniversary of the death of Private William Graham, his family placed the following tribute to his memory in a Londonderry newspaper:

'Days of sadness still come o'er us,

Silent tears do often flow,

But memory keeps you ever near us,

Though you died two years ago.

Only those that have lost are able to tell

The pain at the heart at not saying farewell.'

On the third anniversary of Private Graham's death, his father, mother, and sisters had the following in memoriam lines inserted in a Londonderry newspaper:

'We who loved you sadly miss you

As it dawns another year;

In our lonely hours of thinking

Thoughts of you are ever dear.

One of the best that God could send,

A loving brother and a faithful friend.'

William, Samuel, Agnes, Jessie and Agnes Graham, 13, Albert Place, signed the 1912 Ulster Covenant pledging resistance to Home Rule for Ireland.