An­zac ser­vice to re­mem­ber Charleville’s bravest

Western Times - - LIFE -

SOL­DIER Ed­ward Gra­ham’s legacy lives on in the hearts of many, with the brave Charleville man to be hon­oured in the up­com­ing An­zac Day ser­vice.

This year’s ser­vice will be special, as it com­mem­o­rates 100 years since the end of World War I.

Mr Gra­ham, known to friends as Ted, came from hum­ble be­gin­nings to fight in some of the fiercest bat­tles of the war.

It was late-Fe­bru­ary 1916, while train­ing at Bir el Habeita Camp, that Ted was trans­ferred to the 9th AIF bat­tal­ion – a move that would start his jour­ney across the world.

On March 27, 1916, the unit em­barked from Alexan­dria to join the Bri­tish Ex­pe­di­tionary Force (BEF) on board HMT Sax­o­nia, ar­riv­ing seven days later at Mar­seilles, France.

On ar­rival, the 9th Bat­tal­ion, 3rd Bri­gade was de­ployed to the Somme, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing its first ma­jor ac­tion at Poz­ières in July 1916.

Ted was called into ac­tion as part of the first Aus­tralian di­vi­sions that were thrust to­wards the German line on July 23, 1916, at­tack­ing the op­pos­ing forces on the ex­treme right of the line.

Dur­ing the ini­tial ad­vance on the first trench by A Com­pany, Ted was slightly wounded as wit­nessed by two sep­a­rate ac­counts.

He was ob­served leav­ing the trench to re­turn to the dress­ing sta­tion. Dur­ing the morn­ing the area was heav­ily shelled by the Ger­mans and Ted was lost in the on­slaught.

Doc­u­men­ta­tion shows Ted was re­ported as miss­ing, how­ever this was later changed to “wounded in ac­tion”.

Per­sonal ef­fects be­long­ing to Ted were re­turned to the Gra­ham fam­ily, in­clud­ing a prayer book, brush, hand­ker­chief and watch.

Hav­ing served in con­flict, Ted was awarded the 1914-1918 Star, the Bri­tish War Medal and Vic­tory Medal as cam­paign dec­o­ra­tions, which were pre­sented posthu­mously to his fam­ily.

Ted’s mother, Is­abella Gra­ham, was in poor health dur­ing her sons’ ab­sence, so other mem­bers of the fam­ily re­quested more in­for­ma­tion about Ted and his brother Percy, also fight­ing in the war.

Al­fred Gra­ham wrote to au­thor­i­ties in Fe­bru­ary 1917, re­quest­ing an up­date on Ted’s con­di­tion. The Gra­ham fam­ily hadn’t re­ceived any news since no­ti­fi­ca­tion that he was miss­ing.

It wasn’t un­til July 1917 that a court of in­quiry was held to de­ter­mine that he was killed in ac­tion.

Both broth­ers were only in their 20s while serv­ing in the AIF.

They were only in­volved in ac­tion for a short pe­riod of time be­fore suc­cumb­ing to bat­tle-re­lated in­juries.

An­zac Day, held on April 25, will cel­e­brate the con­tri­bu­tions of Ted and other sol­diers who fought for our country.

PHOTO: WAR ME­MO­RIAL

WAR TIME: 3rd Bat­tal­ion at the Somme.

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