Private Elmer Fraser Graham – C 35215 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
Elmer Fraser was 19 years, 4 months old when, as a single man, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC), at Kingston Ontario on October 7, 1942 with the Canadian Active Service Force (CASF). He lived in Lakefield Ontario, gave his birth-date as June 3, 1923 and indicate that he had no previous military experience. His previous employment was listed a truck driver on a farm. At the time he was 5′ 9½” tall, weighed 135 pounds, brown eyes and brown hair. His next-of-kin was his mother, Clara Graham [his father passed away February 18, 1931] and was insured with the Prudential Life Insurance Co. He entered the RCASC as a Private with service number C 35215 and was posted to No. 11 Coy, CFC at Haileybury Ontario on August 16, 1940.
Private Graham was taken on strength on October 7, 1942 with No 3A District Depot (DD) for RCASC (Reinforcement) in Kingston Ontario. On October 17, 1942 he was transferred to the Canadian Army Basic Training Centre (CABTC) in Ottawa Ontario. December 21, 1942 Private Graham was granted leave to December 26, 1942 and was authorized to draw 50 cents per diem in lieu of rations. On January 5, 1943 he was struck off strength from the CABTC on transfer to the RCASC, A-19 Advanced Training Centre, Borden Ontario. Then, on January 6, 1943 he was taken on strength with the RCASC A-19 Advanced Training Centre (Reinforcement) at Camp Borden, Ontario for Driver Mechanic training.
February 7, 1943 Private Graham qualified for higher rates of pay; $1.40 per diem. April 7, 1943 he qualified for higher rates of pay; $1.50 per diem, and April 21, 1943 Private Graham qualified Driver Mechanic Group “C” and Driver i/c. On May 1, 1943 he was granted a furlough to May 14, 1943 which included the Ration Allowance. Then on May 22, 1943 he was authorized to draw tradesmen’s rates of pay – 25 cents per diem.
On June 6, 1943 Private Graham was struck off strength from RCASC, A-19 Advanced Training Centre, Camp Borden to the No 1 RCASC Reinforcement Unit (Overseas) effective for pay June 6, 1943 and for DD – Rations and Quarters (R&Q) effective June 8, 1943. July 7, 1943 he was struck off strength to No1 Transit Camp at Windsor, Nova Scotia and July 23, 1943 Private Graham was struck off strength from the CASF (Canada) on embarkation from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was then taken on strength with CASF (Overseas) on July 24, 1943 and disembarked in the United Kingdom (UK) July 27, 1943. Private Graham was transferred to the 1st Canadian Army Service Corps Reinforcement Unit (1 CASC RU), UK on July 29, 1943.
August 19, 1943 Private Graham was struck off strength to the 81 Canadian Artillery Company (81 Arty Coy) and was taken on strength with the 81 Arty Coy from the 1 CASC RU on August 20, 1943. On August 26, 1943 he was transferred to No 2 Medical Regiment Platoon (2 MRP) RCASC from the 81 Arty Coy and taken on strength August 27 from 2 MRP. On September 25, 1943 Private Graham was attached to Headquarters (HQ) Command, Canadian Army Troops, RCASC for all purposes (fap) to October 2, 1943. On October 24, 1943 Private Graham embarked from the UK and was struck off strength from the Canadian Army (UK) and then taken on strength to the Canadian Army (Mediterranean) October 25, 1943. He disembarked as part of the Central Mediterranean Force (CMF) on November 8, 1943 with his Unit, the 81 Arty Coy.
Private Graham was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp on April 10, 1944. From April 21, 1943 to February 25, 1945; the day he was struck off strength from the Canadian Army (CMF) on embarkation in Italy, there are no entries in his Military Records. It is written that Private Graham served in the UK, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He would have been a driver in the transport section with his Unit the 81 Arty Coy. Certainly in Sicily and Italy his wellbeing would have been in mortal danger most of the time while on duty as it would have been in all theatres of war.
After about 22 months going through Sicily and Italy. Private Graham left Italy (from Active Army 1 (AA 1) on February 25, 1945 and disembarked in France two days later (February 27, 1945). From disembarkation in France until June 12, 1945 his Unit is shown as being 2 MRP, no indication as to when this occurred. On March 15, 1945 Private Graham was granted 9 days Privileged Leave in the UK with allowances to March 23, 1945. May 17, 1945 saw Private Graham volunteer for the Pacific Force, then on June 12, 1945 he was struck off strength to the 77 Canadian Draft Military District 2 (CDMD 2). Following this on June 13, 1945 he was taken on strength with the 77 CDMD 2 from No 2 MRP.
June 15, 1945 Private Graham embarked from Northwest Europe (NWE) and disembarked UK the same day. June 16, 1945 he was attached to 5 Canadian Repatriation Depot. On June 29, 1945 Private Graham was awarded one good conduct badge. Then on July 4, 1945 Private Graham ceased to be attached to 5 Canadian Repatriation Depot and was struck off strength from the Canadian Army (Overseas) on embarkation UK. He was then taken on strength to the Canadian Army Pacific Force (CAPF) and posted to 5 Canadian Replacement Battalion (5 C Rep Bn). Private Graham disembarked Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia) July 11, 1945 and was granted 30 days Special Leave from July 13, 1945 to August 11, 1945 plus 3 days traveling time with money allowance in lieu of rations.
On September 9, 1945 Private Graham transferred to A1 Canadian Army Training Centre (CATC) from CAPF and 5 C Rep Bn. October 10, 1945 he was transferred to No 25 Basic Training Centre (25 BTC), Simcoe Ontario from A 1 CATC. On October 10, 1945 Private Graham was admitted to the Sorel Military Hospital (SMH) due to sickness; he was discharged October 12, 1945. October 30, 1945 he was issued Special Leave (5 days) and transportation warrant; following this he was granted 14 days leave from November 5 to 18, 1945.
On December 4, 1945 Private Graham was transferred to No 3 DD, Kingston Ontario from 25 BTC; then December 5, 1945 he was taken on strength to No 3 DD Holding Establishment (HE). On December 10, 1945 Private Graham was discharged from the Canadian Army to return to civilian life on demobilization. He was granted $100.00 clothing allowance and the Rehabilitation Grant.
Private Graham was awarded the following medals:
1939 – 45 Star;
France & Germany Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Bar; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also qualified for War Service Badge A.
Elmer Graham served for 14 months in Canada and 23 months overseas in: the United Kingdom; Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany During his time in the Service he would have allotted about $20.00 per month of his pay to his mother.
An excerpt from an article in McLean’s magazine by Barbara Amiel, September 1996:
The military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable?
ELMER FRASER GRAHAM
Elmer Fraser was born June 3, 1923 in Smith Township, Peterborough County, Ontario, the eleventh of 12 children, 10 boys, 2 girls, born to Clara and Isaiah Graham. His, father passed away when he was 8 years of age. Elmer Fraser is known by most people as “Knobby”.
Elmer completed part of grade IX and left school at 15 years old to go to work. Prior to enlisting with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) in World War II he worked at a variety of occupations. Elmer worked as a Service Station Attendant for 3 months, on a tobacco farm for 6 months, apple picker for 3 months, a handyman at Moore’s Lumber Company, Lakefield Ontario earning $15.00 weekly for 6 months and a machine operator with the Canadian General Electric Company for 6 months.
Elmer’s employment just prior to enlisting was working on a tobacco farm, earning $20.00 weekly as a tobacco picker, for 3 months for Mr. Arthur Noppe and Mr. Samuel Bagdon of RR #1, Simcoe Ontario. June 6 to August 6, 1942 he completed an 8-week War Emergency Machinist Course at the Danforth Technical School in Toronto Ontario. During his time working Elmer learned to drive a 2-ton truck.
Elmer prearranged his employment as an apprentice automobile body repairman. He would receive instruction in spray painting of automobiles. Elmer was a stamp collector; enjoyed swimming, hockey and baseball (pitcher) plus hunting and fishing. Upon his discharge from the RCASC Elmer lived at home with his mother on Nelson St., Lakefield.
About 2001 it had been made known that the Veterans would be served soup and sandwiches after the November 11 Memorial Service. Elmer did not agree with this so he booked the Curling Club and ordered a hot meal for every Veteran; all at his own cost! A very generous act indeed, apparently hot meals have been served ever since this event.
Elmer Fraser Graham never married, he died on July 21, 2008 at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, at 85 years of age.
Elmer had an antique shop where Foster’s Garage used to be located.
THE GRAHAM FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
Isaiah Graham, born April 3, 1873 in Smith Township, Peterborough County died Feb 18, 1931 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peterborough Ontario due to a brain tumour. He married Karen Marie (Clara) Rasmussen, born 1880 in Denmark, on February 2, 1902 in Duluth Minnesota, USA. She died October 25, 1968, in Lakefield Ontario. Isaiah, a farmer, moved his family to Lakefield in 1923/24. Isaiah’s father was Henry Graham, born in Ireland; his mother was Annie McConkey, born in Scotland.
Isaiah and Clara Graham had 12 children; ten boys and two girls in the following order: Ena (Annie) Graham, born August 24, 1903 in Duluth Minnesota; George Henry Graham, born April 23, 1905 in Duluth Minnesota; Walter Edward Graham, born April 10, 1907 in Duluth Minnesota; Mary Ellen Graham born June 2, 1909 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; Gerald Graham, born July 17, 1911 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; Norman Graham, born May 27, 1913 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; Theodore Graham, born March 21, 1915 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; Wesley James Graham, born July 15, 1916 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; Allen Ernest Graham, born July 6, 1918 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; Beverly Garnet Graham, born July 26, 1920 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; Elmer Fraser Graham, born June 23, 1923 in Smith Township, Peterborough County; and Arnold Mervin Graham, born December 12, 1925 in Lakefield Ontario.
Their mother, Clara, a remarkable lady, kept the household together in their own home on Nelson St. with the assistance of the older children, and by having boarders. To know any of the Graham family was to readily become aware of the love, respect and devotion they shared for their mother, Clara.
In Lakefield, during the WW II times, it was a common sight to see Mrs. Clara Graham coming out of the Post Office with a bundle of mail. All seven of her sons wrote to her on a frequent basis.