Friday, January 24, 2014

52 Ancestors - #2 John GRAHAM

John GRAHAM is my Great Great Grandfather. He was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Ireland on New Years Eve 1877 to a labourer called William GRAHAM and his wife Mary Anne QUINN.  At the age of 19 years John enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and is described as 5' 3.5", 119lbs, a fresh complexion, blue eyes and black hair with no special distinguishing marks.  I would love to know why he joined the Army and what he felt about his time there as with two years of enlisting he had gone AWOL twice, the second time he was tried and convicted of desertion, maybe he he had asked for leave and was refused or maybe he didn't want to be in the Army but couldn't afford to buy his way out.  What ever his reasons were, the charge of desertion fell in January of 1899 and his first born son was born in May that year but John would not marry the child's mother (Ellen McCardle) until September, this makes me think that Ellen has sent word of being with child.

On  11 October 1899 the British Empire went to war against the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State, a month later John was posted to South Africa with the 1st Batt. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  Following the 
Battle of Colenso on 15 December 1899, John is once again recorded as missing, this time his saving grace is that he is found to be amongst the 755 wounded individuals from the British companies and is returned 'home' early the following February. Ten months on and John is formally discharged as medically unfit for service, he has now grown to be 5' 6" and has scars on his face and the back of the neck.

Following his discharge John returns to Ireland and settles in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. He and Ellen move to Glasgow, Scotland where they have two daughters and John has found work as a Labourer before returning back to Enniskillen to have a son who dies as an baby and another daughter.

Sadly John falls over a bridge and is drowned in the river bellow in June 1912, he was just 34 years old and leaves Ellen a widow to raise four children aged 3 to 12.


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