Robert Graham (aka Bertie)1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
Robert Graham was born in Harden in the year 1892. At the time of the 1911 Census he was 19 and working as an optician’s apprentice. He is listed in the Census as living at The Cragg, Harden, with his father Robert, mother Grace, brothers John (aged 28), Samuel (aged 25), Cecil (aged 15 – also listed on Harden war memorial), Arthur (aged 17) and George (aged 10), and sisters Jane (aged 26), Annie (aged 24), Sarah (aged 22), Elsie (aged 20) and Edith (aged 13).
Robert enlisted in Sheffield, and became Private Graham, 57267, in the 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment).
Robert is referred to as ‘Bertie Graham’ in pages 3 and 5 of the Keighley News on 19th May 1917, where he is listed as ‘missing’. He died on 31st July 1917, aged 25, at the Third Battle of Ypres.
Robert is commemorated at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
Medals: British War Medal & British Victory Medal.
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres
Salient. The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele. The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September. The Memorial now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.
Read more about the cemetery on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website.
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Keighley News Listing
Robert Graham’s photograph appears on page 3 of the Keighley News from 19th May 1917, under ‘Local Heroes of the War’. The missing report is on page 5 of the same paper under ‘Local War Casualty List – Bingley’.
Download full Newspaper 19th May 1917 (PDF,12 Mb)
With thanks to NewsQuest Media Group and the Keighley News.
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