Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit

Fusilier Edward Graham From County Durham to Maletto in Sicily

The detail below has been kindly sent to us by the son of Fusilier Graham.

Edward Graham was born on 18th July 1912 in the mining village of Chopwell, County Durham, England. He was the only son of Sarah Ann Graham and came from a mining family: his grandfather, uncles and cousins all being engaged in the mining industry.

He enlisted in the Territorial Army on 2nd May 1935, joining up with the 9th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and, as 445150

Private Graham, answered the call to arms on the outbreak of war on 3rd September 1939. He was, though, soon transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers and this led to him being posted in 1940 to Ballykinler, County Down, where the Faughs were regrouping after their withdrawal from Dunkirk and were retraining in preparation for further military action.

Whilst stationed at Ballykinler, he met Eveline McBride of Portaferry, County Down, and they were married in Ballyphilip (C of I) Church on 25th January 1941. They set up home in Portaferry and their first son, John Joseph Graham, was born later in the year but sadly died soon after his birth.

Panel 11 at Cassino CWGC cemetery

In November 1942, the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers were posted to North Africa and subsequently took part in the Allied campaign in Sicily during July and August 1943. The Irish Fusiliers become involved in a very tough and bloody campaign, fighting their way up the western side of Mt Etna, and faced some extremely fierce resistance from the enemy.

On August 13th, they had cleared the village of Maletto and were preparing to press forward towards Randazzo on the foothills of Mount Etna and Fusilier Graham was part of a party sent out to reconnoitre the area. Here they were attacked by machine gun fire and lost several men, amongst them was Fusilier Graham, who was posted “Missing, Presumed Killed”, and his body was never recovered.

Three weeks before, on 22nd July 1943, Mrs Eveline Graham had given birth to twin boys, Edward and Sydney Graham, but it is unlikely that Fusilier Graham ever received news of this happy event.

Edward Graham is commemorated on the memorial plaque in Ballyphilip Parish Church, Portaferry, on the rood screen in St John’s Church, Chopwell, County Durham and also on Panel 11 of the CWGC War Memorial in Cassino, Italy.

Faugh a Ballagh.


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