Graham, William (Willie)
No. T/1475605, Royal Army Service Corps, previously Royal Artillery
Died of wounds on Thursday 6 May 1943 (aged 39)
Suez War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (Grave 2. G. 12)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
William Graham was born on 27 December 1903 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards and he was a son of William and Agnes Graham (nee McCormick). William Graham worked as a car driver and his father, Hugh Graham, operated the transport service between Bangor and Newtownards. Agnes McCormick was a minor and she was a daughter of George McCormick, a soldier.
William Graham and Agnes McCormick were married on 3 September 1901 in Ballyblack Presbyterian Church and they had at least seven children:
Hugh (born 9 June 1902 in Movilla Street, Newtownards; died 14 January 1905 in Movilla Street, Newtownards of shock from burns accidentally received)
William (born 27 December 1903 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
James (born 16 August 1905 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
Elizabeth (born 13 June 1907 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
Samuel (born 30 January 1909 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
George (born 4 February 1911 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
Thomas (born 21 December 1914 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
Their father, William Graham, died on 26 March 1927.
During the Second World War brothers Samuel and William Graham both served with the Royal Artillery and their brother James served with the Royal Ulster Rifles. Their brother George also served. William was the second of the two Graham brothers to die during the Second World War.
William Graham was the husband of Sarah Graham (nee Hamilton) from Carrowdore. William Graham from Francis Street, Newtownards was working as a motorman when he and Sarah Hamilton (aged 19) were married on 8 December 1924 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office. They lived in Greenwell Street, Newtownards before moving to Carrowdore. Having played for the Thistle Football Club and for Boyne Rovers Football Club, William was well-known locally as a goalkeeper. William served with the Royal Artillery before being transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps and he was 39 when he died of wounds in a military hospital on 6 May 1943. He was buried in Suez War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF WILLIAM
BELOVED HUSBAND OF SARAH
OF NEWTOWNARDS, N. IRELAND
HE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE.
After Driver William Graham (No. T/1475605) died there were two Died on Active Service notices in the 29 May 1943 edition of the County Down Spectator. The combined notice (from his wife Sarah and two sons George Arthur and Hugh of Carrowdore, Greyabbey; his mother-in-law Sarah Hamilton and niece Sadie Gregory of Carrowdore; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Agnes Anna and Thomas Gregory of 11 George’s Street, Newtownards and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law G.A. and Matilda Hamilton of Ballyhaskin, Millisle) included the verse:
We were not there at time of death
To hear his last faint sigh,
We only know he passed away
And never said good-bye.
The other notice was from his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Isabella and Stanley Edmunds of 9 Chamberlain Street, Belfast. His brothers James and Thomas Graham lived at 135 Frances Street, Newtownards and his sister Mrs Cree lived in Bangor.
In May 1944, his wife and two sons placed a Roll of Honour notice in the County Down Spectator and it contained the verse:
Your end came suddenly, Willie dear,
You made us weep and cry,
But, oh, the saddest part of all,
You never said goodbye.
Driver William Graham (No. T/1475605) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial as Wm. Graham Greenwell St.