Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery, 4th Highland
Rank & Number: Gunner, 2369
Born: 18 December 1892; Rawflat, Ancrum, Roxburghshire
Died: 1970; Ayr
JAMES NEILSON GRAHAM was born 18 Dec 1892 in Rawflat, Ancrum, Roxburghshire, to parents
Alexander Scott, a farmer, and Elizabeth Neilson Kerr (who
married in Bowmore, Islay on 7 Nov 1886).
He died, aged 77, in Ayr in 1970.
On 1 June 1928 at Fincurror, Lesmahagow, James (aged 35, dairyman, of Meadowbank, Dalserf)
married Jane Gavin (aged 23, dairymaid)
the 1901 Census, James, aged 8, is living Raesflat Farmouse, Ancrum, with
parents Alex (43, b. Kilmacolm, farmer/grazier) and Elizabeth (33, b. Kilmacolm) and siblings Elizabeth (13), Alexr (12) and Mary S (5)
the 1911 Census, aged 18 and an apprentice ship carpenter, he is living
Castlepark, Fairlie with parents Alex (53, grazier) and Elizabeth (43, married 24 years, 6 children/5 living)
and sisters Elizabeth (23) and Jessie (8)
SERVICE DETAILS Named on the Largs & Millport Weekly News Roll of
Honour printed 21 Nov 1914 and the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald Roll of
Honour printed Dec 1914 (Graham, Gr. James, Castle Park, Fairlie, Bute
Mountain Battery). His
medal index card shows first theatre of war entered was Egypt on 2 Aug
1915. On 1 Jan 1916, the Largs &
Millport Weekly News printed a letter of thanks to the Cigarette and Tobacco
Fund in which he described some of his experiences at Gallipoli and asked if
“some of the kind folks of Fairlie might see their way to send this little
section of ours a musical instrument of some sort – a good big mouth organ
would be lovely for the winter evenings”.
The newspaper confirmed that his request had been fulfilled, and the
mouth organ, along with the football and boxing gloves requested by other
soldiers, were on their way to the Dardanelles.
He received the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals.
Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-
21 November 1914 Local Roll Of Honour: The following is the first instalment of what we hope will eventually be a complete list of all connected with this district who have at present answered the urgent call to arms in the great crisis of our national history:- Bute Battery, 4th Highland (Mountain) Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery (T) Fairlie - Graham Gr., James, Bute Mountain Battery
January 1916 Fairlie Cigarette And Tobacco
Fund: Writing to Mr. Wm. Miller, Fairlie,
acknowledging a parcel of cigarettes, Gunner James Graham says:-
You must really excuse my delay in thanking
you for the splendid gift of cigarettes which I received, but really we have
been kept “on the hop” for over a month now, learning this new branch of the
Artillery to which 23 of us have been attached.
The cigarettes were splendid, and I handed them round the tent the night
I received them, and all of us agreed that they were “kings” to the “special”
brands made for poor Tommy in the trenches.
I am on a fine staff job for the winter here, and although we are still
under canvas our winter house is about ready for occupation, so we will be nice
and snug for the next few months.
Our company of N.C.O.’s and gunners is from
the Mountain Brigade, and our commanding officer is from a big East of England
R.F.A. Territorial Battery, so we are all Territorials, and anyway we don’t
need any regulars with their ghost stories, etc. Our gunners belong to various places . . . .
. We have Jamie Ramsay with us, and he
is really a splendid cook. If you could
only sample some of his roast beef, boiled cabbage, potatoes, and a lot of
other things he turns out, you would be surprised. There are four Largs lads too, two from Millport, and four frae “Bonnie
Rothesay Bay”, complete the sort of local contingent. Then Campbeltown has a representative, Oban
has a few, and the remainder are drawn from Ross and Cromarty, also
I heard from my sister that you expect to
get Mr. Gollan back among you soon again.
My old village must have a changed appearance now, and a good many
houses are mourning the loss of dear ones.
I hope your nephew will get on all right over here. We never hear a word from the fighting line
here at all, but we get a war telegram daily telling us of all the fighting on
the other fronts of this terrific struggle for supremacy. Our mails seem to be coming better via the
new route, and it was time they enquired about the poor soldiers’ parcels going
astray so often. This island is well
equipped now, but I must not say too much about these affairs, as that would be
treading on dangerous ground.
The only thing I would like to say in
closing is that perhaps some of the kind folks of Fairlie might see their way
to send this little section of ours a musical instrument of some sort – a good
big mouth organ would be lovely for the winter evenings. I hope this note finds you and your committee
all enjoying good health, and may you have a successful wind-up to this famous
year of 1915.
Gunner Graham’s request for a mouth organ has, we believe, been
anticipated, and one sent out, but anyhow the lads will not be allowed to lack
the means whereby they may beguile the winter evenings when not otherwise engaged “entertaining” the Turks. Another request is for a football, and a kind friend
having provided same, it has been despatched at once, as we understand the
gallant gunners are entering a strong team in the “Gallipoli” Cup
competition. Another friend has kindly
provided two pairs of boxing gloves, so Johnnie Turk may expect some smashing
blows in the next round of the big fight.
29 January 1916 Gunner James Graham, R.G.A.,
recently invalided from the Dardanelles through an attack of dysentery, is home
on furlough this week and is looking quite fit again.