John Alexander GRAHAM
Rank: Private
Number: 2362
Unit: D Company, 1/7th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 31 May 1915
Age: 23
Cemetery: Redoubt Cemetery, Helles, Turkey

Alec Graham was the eldest son of Joseph, who had come to the Stockport area many years before from his native Lanark. The family home at the time of the Great War was 23 Caroline Street, Edgeley. Alec is known to have two siblings - Eva Jane and William.

He worked in the local cotton industry as a twiner piecer at Carrington Mills Ltd on Newbridge Lane. Most of his social life revolved around St John's United Methodist Church where he worshipped. He was an active supporter of the Church's Sunday School and was its representative on the Sunday School Union Council. He also captained the School's football team. Alec was  Acting Lieutenant of the Church's Boys' Brigade company and, at a memorial service held for him on 4 July, over 200 members attended.

When War was declared on 4 August, four members of the football team decided to enlist. They were Alec, Harry Clare, Fred Fitchett and Stan Bradbury. Only Stan would come home. When he was 79, he wrote an account of his War service in memory of his mates. A copy is now held by the Regimental Archives which gives permission for extracts to be used.

Although patriotism and "serving King and Country" were significant reasons for enlisting, Stan notes that his employer in Manchester "made it known that to continue in business he would it necessary to reduce costs, one of which was his employees wages would be CUT IN HALF. My 27/6 per week would look "sick" after I had paid my weekly train fare (workmans) 4/6 return to Manchester from Cheadle Heath".

Whatever was Alec's motivation, he soon found himself aboard a boat bound for Egypt and then Khartoum where he undertook his military training. An account of this period is here. Whilst in the Sudan, Alec became a member of the choir at Khartoum cathedral.

On 3 May, the men left the relative safety of the Sudan and Egypt and embarked to go into action at Gallipoli. By the 11th, Alec and his mates were in the front line in the Krithia Nullah sector and they spent 5 days here. After a period in reserve, the Battalion returned to the front line.

On 31 May, the Battalion was preparing for a major attack scheduled to take place on 4 June. Alec was one of party of 12 men bringing the rations up to the troops from the rear area. A shell landed amongst them. None escaped unscathed. Seven were wounded but Alec, Walter Brooks and three others were killed. Harry Clare and Fred Fitchett would both be killed in the forthcoming attack.

Although the location of his grave was lost in the years following the evacuation from Gallipoli, Alec is believed to be buried in Redoubt Cemetery and is now commemorated on a special Memorial there.

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