Graham, Wesley

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MILITARY HISTORY

Gunner Wesley James Graham – C 405068 — NON-PERMANENT ACTIVE MILITIA

Wesley James was 24 years, 1 month old when, as a single man, he enlisted in the August 12, 1940 with the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada at Peterborough Ontario. He lived at 203 Park Place, Peterborough, gave his birth-date as July 15, 1916 and indicate that he had no previous military experience. His previous employment was listed a machinist helper. At the time he was 6′ 1½” tall, 38″ chest, weighed 152 pounds, hazel eyes and light brown hair. His next-of-kin was his mother, Clara Graham [his father passed away February 18, 1931]. He entered the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada as a Gunner with Service Number C 405068 and was posted to the 4th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery (4th Fd Bty RCA), at Peterborough Ontario. Gunner Graham was promoted to Lance Bombardier (L/Bdr) on April 1, 1942. On June 15, 1942 he was released from the Militia to join the Canadian Active Service Force.

Bombardier Wesley James Graham – C 73072 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)

Wesley James was 25 years, 11 months old when, as a single man, he enlisted in the June 15, 1942 with the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), Canadian Active Service Force at Cobourg Ontario. He lived at 288 Park Street North, Peterborough Ontario, gave his birth-date as July 15, 1916 and indicate that he had 2 years previous military experience with the 4th Field Battery Reserve Force. His previous employment was listed an office clerk. At the time he was 6′ 1½” tall, 38″ chest, weighed 170 pounds, hazel eyes and light brown hair. His next-of-kin was his mother, Clara Graham and was insured with the Great West and Prudential Life Insurance Co. He entered the Canadian Active Service Force as a Gunner with service number C 73072 and was posted to the 36th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery (36th Fd Bty RCA), at Cobourg Ontario.

Gunner Graham was attested and taken on strength on June 15, 1942 with 36th Fd Bty RCA in Cobourg and then was attached to No 3A District Depot (DD) in Kingston Ontario for all purpose (fap) from the 36th Fd Bty RCA and taken on strength for pay. June 19, 1942 he was transferred to the 23rd Field Regiment (23rd Fd Regt), Sussex Ontario and taken on strength from the 36th Fd Bty but remained attached to No 3A DD fap. On June 24, 1942 he ceased to be attached to No 3A District Depot (DD) on proceeding to the 23rd Fd Regt at Petawawa Military Camp (PMC) fap. On October 10, 1942 Gunner Graham was attached fap to the Canadian Signal Training Centre (CSTC) in Barriefield Ontario. On December 28, 1942 he ceased to be attached to CSTC out of Administration & Personnel Section (AP) on return to the 23rd Fd Regt. with a Transportation Warrant. January 1, 1943 Gunner Graham’s rate of pay was $1.40 per diem. January 4, 1943 he was granted a 14-day forlough and an allowance of $0.50 per diem to January 17, 1943.

On March 1, 1943 Gunner Graham was granted 4 days leave to include a $0.50 per diem allowance; and the same day his rate of pay was raised to $1.50 per diem. March 19, 1943 Gunner Graham was appointed to the rank of Lance Bombardier (L/Bdr). On July 21, 1943 he was struck off strength from the Canadian Active Force (Canada) on embarkation at Halifax, Nova Scotia. On July 22, 1943 he was taken on strength with the Canadian Active Force (Overseas); he disembarked in the United Kingdom (UK) July 27, 1943. July 29, 1943 L/Bdr Graham was attached to No 1 Canadian Base Staging Camp (1CBSC) for rations & quarters (R&Q). On August 9, 1943 he ceased to be attached to 1CBSC for R&Q. November 18, 1943 L/Bdr Graham qualified as a Signaler, Artillery Class “C” (Sig Arty “C”) and was granted Teleprint (T/P) Signaler (Arty) Class “C”.

L/Bdr Graham was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp on January 15, 1944. He embarked the UK on July 21, 1944 and disembarked July 22, 1944 in France. On September 10, 1944 L/Bdr Graham was made Acting Bombardier (A/Bdr) which immediately became Bombardier (Bdr) Graham, still as a member of the 23rd Fd Regt. Then on December 25, 1944 Bdr Graham was transferred to the X8 List RCA (Active) Sig Arty “C” and taken on strength December 26, 1944 from the 23rd Fd Staging Post (SP) Regt (Sig Arty “C”). Bdr Graham would have embarked in France, probably December 28, 1944. On December 29, 1944 he disembarked UK and was taken on strength to 1 Canadian Reception Depot (1CRD) from the Allied Expeditionary Force (AEF), X8 List RCA Sig Arty “C”. January 3, 1945 Bdr Graham was transferred to the Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Unit (CARU) and the next day, January 4, 1945 was taken on strength from 1CRD Sig Arty “C”.

On February 10, 1945 Bdr Graham was transferred to X4 List (RCA (A)) (Sig Arty “C”) and the next day, February 11, 1945 embarked UK for Northwest Europe (NWE) and was taken on strength with X4 List (RCA (A)) (Sig Arty “C”), 9th Bn Sig Arty “C”. February 12, 1945 he disembarked NWE. Then on February 22, 1945 Bdr Graham was transferred to 23rd Canadian Field Regiment (23CFR) (SP), Sig Arty “C” and taken on strength the next day, February 23, 1945 from the X4 List RCA (A) Sig Arty “C”. On August 6, 1945 Bdr Graham was granted 11 days Privileged Leave to the UK with allowances and returned from leave August 22, 1945.

November 15, 1945 Bdr Graham was transferred to the X5 List RCA (A) and on November 16, 1945 he taken on strength from the 23CFR (SP). Following this move, on December 17, 1945 he was transferred to the 23CFR (SP) Sig Arty “C” and taken on strength December 18, 1945 from the X5 List RCA (A).

On December 19, 1945 Bombardier Graham was transferred to No 3 DD, Kingston Ontario and taken on strength from the 23CFR (SP) Sig Arty “C” December 20, 1945. On December 21, 1945 he embarked the NWE and disembarked the UK and was attached to No 5 Canadian Repatriation Depot fap on December 22, 1945. On January 19, 1946 he proceeded to the Sig Arty “C”, UK.

January 20, 1946 Bombardier Graham was then awarded the 1939 – 45 Star, the France & Germany Star and the Defence Medal. He completed a 3-week full time course in Holland in radio mechanics and started a Canadian Legion Educational Service course in bookkeeping but couldn’t finish it due to duties. His records do not give information on his journey from the UK back to Canada in 1946. On March 13, 1946 Bombardier 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.

Bombardier Graham was awarded the following medals:
1939 – 45 Star;
France & Germany Star;
Defence Medal
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Bar; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also qualified for War Service Badge A.

Wesley James Graham served for 15 months in Canada and 30 months overseas in: the United Kingdom; France for 17 months, 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?

 

PERSONAL HISTORY

WESLEY JAMES GRAHAM

Wesley James was born July 15, 1916 in Smith Township, Peterborough County, Ontario, the eighth of 12 children, 10 boys, 2 girls, born to Clara and Isaiah Graham. His, father passed away when he was 14 years, 5 months of age. Wesley James was known by most people as “Wes”.

Wes completed grade IX and most of grade X before leaving school in 1932 at 16 years old to go to work. Prior to enlisting with the Royal Canadian Artillery in World War II he worked at a variety of occupations. Wes worked as a road construction labourer for 2½ years, for a construction company as a carpenter for 1½ years, as a machinist at the De Laval Company, Peterborough Ontario earning for 2½ years and as an office clerk in Campbell’s Dairy, Peterborough for 1½ years.

Wes prearranged his employment by going back to his job with Campbell’s Dairy. Wes played tennis, golf and baseball and enjoyed singing, jazz music, hunting and fishing. Wes would read any books and belonged to the Trail Ranger Club.

Wes married Margaret Edith Courneya December 26, 1946. They had two children: Mauri Graham born Sept. 23, 1948 and Rhea Graham born July 31, 1953. Mauri married Merrill Alton and they have 3 children: Mara, Robert and William. Rhea is single. On August 16, 1961 they were living at 848 Gilbert St., Peterborough Ontario. Wes Graham had an upscale Men’s Clothing Store in Lakefield at 26 Queen Street. He sold the store to Percy Payne and went to work in sales for Investors Syndicate. Now the property is the north-most part of Home Hardware.

Wesley James Graham died on December 14, 2011 at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, at 95 years of age. Margaret Edith Graham died at Extendicare, Peterborough on November 23, 2014 in her 95th year.

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.

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