Graham, William (Topsy)
No. 148427, 5 Battery, 2 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
Killed in action on Saturday 26 April 1941 (aged 35)
No known grave
Athens Memorial, Greece (Face 2)
Newtownards and District War Memorial (as Wm. Graham Mark St.)
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Mark’s)
William Graham was born on 11 February 1906 and he was the eldest son of Robert and Mary Graham (nee Cardy) of 30 Mark Street, Newtownards. Robert Graham was a factory labourer and he and Mary Cardy were married on 8 October 1904 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Mark’s). Robert Graham from 30 Mark Street, Newtownards was a son of James Graham, a plasterer. Mary Cardy from Mark Street, Newtownards was a daughter of William Cardy, a weaver.
Robert and Mary Graham (nee Cardy) had at least five children:
William (born 11 February 1906 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
Margaret (Maggie, born 12 March 1909 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
James (born 28 February 1912 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
Jane (born 3 July 1917 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
Robert Graham served as a Sergeant with the Royal Irish Rifles during the Great War and two of Mary Graham’s brothers, James and William Cardy, were killed. Lance Corporal James Cardy (No. 4/7078) died of wounds on 10 December 1915 and Rifleman William Cardy (No. 6751) was killed in action on 27 April 1916.
William Graham joined the Army on the day that war was declared and served with the Royal Artillery. Initially he was reported as missing in action on 26 April 1941 and later it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed.
In the 29 November 1941 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle there were four Killed in Action notices, including one from his sorrowing mother, brothers (including Jim who was on active service with the Royal Artillery, later captured and held as a prisoner-of-war) and sisters and one from his brother Robert, sister-in-law Agnes and niece Jean of 42 Movilla Street, Newtownards. The one from his mother included the verse:
When last we saw him smiling,
He looked so strong and brave,
We little thought how soon he’d be
Laid in a hero’s grave
Other notices included the verses:
The news was sad, the blow was hard,
God’s will, it shall be done;
With a manly heart he did his part,
And a crown of victory won.
Duty called and he was there,
To do his bit, and take his share,
His heart was good, his spirit brave,
His resting-place a soldier’s grave.
There were two Our Heroes – In Memoriam notices in the 2 May 1942 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and they included the verses:
Though for a time is borne away,
The one we dearly love,
Yet through our grief there runs the thought
We’ll meet again above.
He died that others might live.
Sleep on, dear William, in a foreign land,
In a grave we may never see;
But as long as life and memory last,
We’ll still remember thee.
There were Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the 1 and 15 May 1943 editions of the Newtownards Chronicle and they included the verses:
May the heavenly winds blow softly
O’er that sweet and hallowed spot,
Though the seas divide us from your grave,
You will never be forgot.
Although we’re in a far-off land,
And your grave we cannot see;
As long as life and memory last,
We shall remember thee.
There was an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the 29 April 1944 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it included the verse:
We often sit and think of you,
And think of how you died,
To think you could not say good-bye
Before you closed your eyes.
There was an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the 28 April 1945 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it included the verse:
Sleep on, dear son, in your foreign grave,
A grave we may never see;
But as long as life and memory last,
We will remember thee.
There was an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the 27 April 1946 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it included the verse:
Our memories often wander as the twilight shadows fall,
Back to the days of happiness, days beyond recall,
And a vision comes before, so calm, so dear, so sweet,
Of a son whose beautiful memory we never fail to keep.
There was an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the 26 April 1947 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it included the verse:
He is where we cannot see him,
And his voice we cannot hear;
Yet he seems to walk beside me,
Never absent, always near.
William Graham was 35 when he died, he has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Athens Memorial in Greece; on Newtownards and District War Memorial as Wm. Graham Mark St. and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Mark’s).