A Collection of Medals to the Sussex Yeomanry

Date of Auction: 19th June 2013

Sold for £780

Estimate: £600 - £800

Six: Warrant Officer Class 1 J. W. Graham, 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) attached Sussex Yeomanry, killed in Gallipoli, 19 October 1915

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg (3559 Serjt., 2nd Dragoons); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps (3559 Serjt., 2nd Drgns.); 1914-15 Star (2Dn-3559 Sq. S. Mjr.-A. S. Mjr., 2-Dns.); British War and Victory Medals (2Dn.3559 A.W.O. Cl. 1, 2-Dns.); Army L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (2559 Sq, S. Mjr., 2/Dgns.) first two and last with contact marks, good fine; others extremely fine (5) £600-800


John William Graham was born in Richmond, Surrey on 15 February 1869 and was educated at Abberford, Yorkshire. He enlisted into the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) on 6 April 1891. With them he served in the Second Boer War, taking part in the relief of Kimberley and the actions at Paardeberg, Driefontein and around Johannesburg. For his services he was awarded the Queen’s medal with four clasps and the King’s medal with two. Present at the Coronation of King George V in 1911 when he was Royal Standard Bearer; he fulfilled the same duty on the occasion of the King’s Visit to Edinburgh in the same year. In 1912 he left the 2nd Dragoons to take up duties as Staff Sergeant-Major Instructor in the Sussex Yeomanry. With them he entered the Balkan theatre of war on 7 October 1915 and proceeded to Gallipoli. He was killed in Gallipoli on 19 October 1915, being shot whilst in his tent in a ‘rest area’ and dying later the same day. Graham was the first man of the regiment to die in the war. He was originally buried in the Gully but later reinterred in the Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery. R.S.M. Graham was the son of John William and Isabel Graham of Leeds and husband of Mary Isabella Graham of Calder Cottage, Newbigging, Musselburgh, Scotland.

Lieutenant-Colonel The Earl of March, D.S.O., Commanding the Sussex Yeomanry, wrote of him, ‘He was so popular amongst all ranks that I do not know how they will get on without him. As far as I am concerned, I can only tell you that I never met an N.C.O. for whom I had so great admiration and affection; he was my right-hand man. He came to C Squadron at a time when everything was in a very bad state, and he put everything right and made it the best squadron in the regiment; and afterwards, when we were mobilized and he became Sergt. Major, I could never have got the regiment smart and efficient without his valuable help. He was the best worker, both on parade and in the office, that I have ever met, and I mourn his loss as that of an intimate friend, and one who has seen me through some very difficult times and saved me from many worries by his tact and knowledge of what to do when in difficulties. He was loved and respected throughout the regiment and we shall never get another like him.’

With a folder containing copied research.