Topic: Edgar Allan Graham (WWI and WWII)

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Bruce Graham is descended from a defiant warrior clan stretching back to the days when the Romans constructed two ‘great walls’, Hadrian’s and Antonine, to keep the Caledonians (Scots) at bay.

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Following this tradition his grandfather, Edgar Allan Graham, enlisted in both the First and Second World Wars.


Bruce has discovered that  as Chief Engine Room Artificer on the HMS Glasgow during WWI Edgar was mentioned in dispatches.

 Photo right: Edgar Allan Graham in the uniform of an Engine Room Artificer. He was born in 1880 and this photo is believed to have been taken close to 1900. An Artificer is a Tradesman Rank equivalent to a Petty Officer, a non-commissioned Officer. Edgar’s trade was initially Shipwright, later he took on general engineering as well.

 Edgar’s brother George was killed in 1917. He was a woodwork teacher who enlisted in the Infantry.

Bruce has tried to trace his records too and has discovered that there were 64 other George Graham’s lost in the trenches. Making it even more difficult is the fact that during WW2 60 percent of British Army WW1 Service Records were destroyed by fire. In one battle (perhaps the Battle of Coronel?) he “stood by his post” and was mentioned in despatches. Standing by his post meant that as Artificer in charge he remained working in the ship’s Boiler Room, and did not order “Clear the Boiler Room!” until the water reached his waist! Any deeper and the boilers would have exploded. I believe they got enough pumps going to control the level”

Full portrait photo.  Thought to have been taken around 1917 when he had been promoted to Acting Chief Engine Room Artificer.


Sadly Edgar would  suffer another great loss during this war when his youngest son Donald went down with hundreds of others on the HMS Hood during the Battle of Denmark Strait. The HMS Hood was struck by a shell while pursuing the German Battleship Bismarck causing a large explosion that broke the ship up. It sunk it in three minutes killing 1,415 men, only three survived.

A treasured memento of the family’s military service is an old brass tin. “Many years ago I spotted this little brass tin in my Dad’s office. I asked him about it and he simply replied that it belonged to “Pop”. On my Dad’s death the tin came to me and I always wondered what the significance of “1914” on the lid was. Recently we were watching Antiques Roadshow and saw the identical box so I googled “Princess Mary’s Christmas Box” and learnt all about it”.




This article was archived at Perma Cc on August 10, 2016 (

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Edgar Allan Graham (WWI and WWII)

First Names:Edgar Allan
Last Name:Graham
Date of Birth:1880