Topic: George Graham Duff (1835-1878)

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Lieutenant George Graham Duff led a storming party during the Battle of Gate Pa (29 April 1864). He received two gunshot wounds to the back which he survived.

George Graham Duff was born on 29 August 1835. His father was Adam Duff, Sheriff of Wigtownshire. Adam married Eleanor Eraser, eldest daughter of Captain Thomas Eraser of Woodcote and Checkendon, Oxfordshire, on 29 June 1829, at Christchurch, Marylcbone. Adam and Eleanor had five sons and three daughters together.

Duff became a naval cadet in 1848. He was midshipman and acting mate in H.JLS. Sidon during the Crimean War, and had the Crimean and Turkish medals with Sebastopol clasp. He was made Lieutenant on 14 January 1857. From 17 July 1857 he was Lieutenant in Sparrowhawk, commanded by John Clarke Byng, East Indies and China where he took part in the capture of the Taku forts.

In 1863 he served on HMS Esk under John Fane Charles Hamilton, during the New Zealand Wars. During the Battle of Gate Pa in 1864 he led a storming party and received two gunshot wounds to the back which he survived. He was promoted to Commander that same day.

He married Mary Kayll (1843-1913) on 4 July 1867. She was the eldest daughter of the Mayor of Sunderland, JP John Kayll of Bishopwcarmouth. They were married at the Parish Church, Bishopwearmouth, by the Rev. Andrew Welch, uncle of the bride, assisted by the Rev. W. Cockin.

The four children of George and Mary Duff:

  1. Ida Duff (1868-?). She married Robert Law.
  2. George Graham Kayll Duff (1869-?). Royal Artillery. He married on 15 July 1912 to Louise Reecheroft, second daughter of W. E. Beechcroft of New Zealand and Wroxham, Norfolk.
  3. Hilda Duff (1871-?). She married William Kayll.
  4. Enid Duff (1874-?). She never married.

From 28 September 1869 to 13 December 1870 he was Commander in Cruiser (until paying off at Portsmouth), Mediterranean. In 1870 he was promoted to Post-Captain, but in 1871 he developed paralysis as a consequence of his wounds from Gate Pa.

He died on 21 November 1878. His memorial at Saint Mary Cray churchyard, Kent. "George Graham Duff, Captain R.N., born 29th August 1835 died 21st November 1878 from the effects of wounds received whilst leading a storming party at the Gate Pah during the war in New Zealand. Mary Duff wife of the above born 7th January 1843 died 28th January 1913."




Funeral Pages (

Marriages (Daily Southern Cross, 2 October 1867, p. 7).

Museum of New Zealand (photograph)

The Book of the Duffs

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George Graham Duff (1835-1878)

First Names:George Graham
Last Name:Duff
Date of Birth:29 August 1835
Date of death:21 November 1878
Place of burial:Saint Mary Cray churchyard, Kent, England
Spouses name:Mary Kayll
Spouses date of birth:7 January 1843
Spouses date of death:28 January 1913
Date of marriage:4 July 1867
Place of marriage:Parish Church, Bishopwearmouth
Fathers name:Adam Duff
Mothers name:Eleanor Eraser
Name of sibilings:Thomas Fraser Duff, Robert William Duff, Adam Duff, and Arthur Meredith Duff
Name of the children:Ida Duff , George Graham Kayll Duff , Hilda Duff , and Enid Duff
Military Service:Battle of Gate Pa and Royal Navy