Anzac service to remember Charleville’s bravest
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.
WAR TIME: 3rd Battalion at the Somme.