This blog post has been written by one of our volunteers, Ann Eales.
While with a group recently being shown round the Express & Star offices, I was impressed to see their First World War Memorial, a beautiful bronze tablet by the well known local sculptor RJ Emerson. He also designed the Harris Memorial in Lichfield Street, and many other works.
The Memorial records not only the names of six who had lost their lives, but also and unusually of all those who had served in the War and returned home. The first named under Fallen in Victory is “Graham T. E. M..C. Sec- Lieut 2nd Bn.2nd Scottish Rifles; killed at Voyennes on March 24th 1918.”
T. E. Graham was one of the family which continues to be involved with the newspaper today. His name also appears on the Tettenhall College War Memorial, and the St Michael & All Angels Church War Memorial at Tettenhall. Doug Lewis lists these memorials on his website, and shows the following information
Graham Thomas Eric MC Second Lieutenant 2nd Bn., Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) who died on Sunday, 24th March 1918. Age 20. Son of John Douglas Graham and Clarice Adeline Graham, of Mathon Lodge, Tettenhall, Staffs. Serre Road Cemetery, No. 2, Somme, France Grave Reference/ Panel Number: XVII. K. 17
Thomas Eric Graham was the elder son of John Douglas Graham, whose father, Thomas Graham, founded the Express & Star. Eric’s younger brother Malcolm went on to have a long and distinguished career with the newspaper, spending the last 4 years of his schooling at Tettenhall College after his older brother had left.
In his book Malcolm Graham, Sixty Years in the News published 1983, Ray Seaton says that “2nd Lt Thomas Eric Graham was killed at Voyennes on the Western Front 24 March 1918 He had been awarded the MC for gallantry and devotion to duty in October 1917. A photograph of him appeared among officers of the Wolverhampton Rifle Corps at Burwarton Camp 1915 when he was serving with the 28th London Battalion (Artists Rifles) He was a handsome young man with Rupert Brooke-like features.” Here is the photograph that appears in the book.
Peter Rhodes in his book The Loaded Hour a History of the Express & Star published 1992 says of Eric Graham, that he was awarded the MC October 1917 patrol and 5 months later the handsome young subaltern was killed.
The Artists Rifles Roll of Honour published in 1922, and 551 pages long, has been published on line by the University of California. It includes Eric Graham’s Military Cross and his death.
Eric appears on the 1901 Census, age 2 living with his one year old sister Beatrice, and his father John D Graham who is 29 and a Journalist and author. On the 1911 Census Thomas Eric Graham is living with his parents, his father who is a Newspaper Owner and Manager, and his mother Claire Adeline who was born in Middlesex, London and his sisters Beatrice Winifred, Margaret, May Beryl and Barbara Ailsa.