No. 4451503, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
Killed in action on Friday 13 August 1943 (aged 31)
Previously, no known grave and commemorated on the Cassino Memorial in Italy (Panel 11)
Now, known to be buried in Catania War Cemetery, Sicily (Grave IV. F. 25)
Ballyphilip Church of Ireland Church Portaferry
Rood screen in St. John’s Church, Chopwell, Co. Durham
Edward Graham was born on 18 July 1912 in the mining village of Chopwell in County Durham. He was the only son of Sarah Ann Graham, and his grandfather, uncles and cousins were all engaged in the mining industry. Aged 22, Edward Graham joined the 9th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (Territorial Army) on 2 May 1935. After being called up for military service on 1 September 1939 he was transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers and posted to Ballykinler in County Down. It was while he was stationed there that he met Eveline McBride from Portaferry and they were married on 25 January 1941 in Ballyphilip Church of Ireland Church, Portaferry.
Their home address was 31 High Street, Portaferry and their first son, John Joseph Graham, was born on 1 December 1941. He died the same day.
In November 1942, the Regiment was posted to North Africa and subsequently took part in the Allied landings in Sicily. The Fusiliers were at the forefront of intense fighting as the Allies fought their way up the East Coast of Sicily against fierce resistance from the enemy. On 13 August 1943, the Regiment cleared the village of Maletto and was preparing to advance towards the town of Randazzo in the foothills of Mount Etna. Fusilier Edward Graham (No. 4451503) was one of several soldiers killed by enemy machine gun fire when they were sent out to reconnoitre the area. The following day the town of Randazzo was taken and the Royal Irish Fusiliers were withdrawn to rest and regroup. Previously the location of his grave was not known, and he was commemorated on the Cassino Memorial. Now his grave in Catania War Cemetery has been located and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
DEAR HUSBAND OF EVELINE
FATHER OF JOHN JOSEPH
EDWARD AND SYDNEY
FAUGH A BALLAGH
On 22 July 1943 Eveline Graham gave birth to twin boys, Edward and Sydney Graham and it is highly unlikely that Fusilier Edward Graham ever received this news.
Fusilier Edward Graham (No. 4451503) was 31 when he died, and he is commemorated in Ballyphilip Church of Ireland Church Portaferry and on the rood screen in St. John’s Church, Chopwell, Co. Durham.