From North Belfast to Northern France: The story of James Alexander Graham.

Honouring those who have been memorialised on the Redeemer Central War Memorial Organ

A Picture of James Alexander Graham. Credit for the photography to the family.

Welcome to Part 1 of our November Remembrance Series where we share the stories of people connected to the North Belfast Heritage Cluster who were also part of the war effort during WW1.

Born in Marine Street, near York Street on 22nd Aug 1890, James Alexander Graham was the eldest boy in a large family.  James’ mother passed away when he was just 6 years of age in March 1897. His father remarried later that year.

Prior to enlisting, James was a member of the North Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force (Cliftonville Battalion) and Shankill Road Primitive Methodist Total Abstinence Loyal Orange Lodge.[1] After the war broke out, James would enlist in the 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. The 15th Battalion was largely comprised of North Belfast men who enlisted after September 1914. In February 1916, the 15th R.I.R found themselves stationed in the North of France, near Mailly-Maillet:

“20/2/16: Relief Night. During relief Bosh (Germans) trench mortared REDAN. 14 Casualties, 3 Killed. Quiet night”

James Graham was one of those killed during that night. He was 25. He is buried in Sucrerie Military Cemetery, close to Mailly-Maillet:

“Son of Martha Graham, of 14 Groomsport St, Belfast, and the late Hugh Graham”.

Thanks and credit goes to the family of James Alexander Graham for providing us with his picture and further information.

[1]  NB. The Ulster Volunteer Force at this time (Pre- World War One) were an organisation lead by Edward Carson and James Craig, in opposition to Home Rule. It has no affiliation to the group formed in 1965. This information came from Belfast News-Letter: 28th Feb 1916

About the archivist:

James Cromey is the Archive Coordinator for the North Belfast Heritage Cluster. He has a background in Victorian, Industrial and Medical History and has received degrees from the University of Glasgow and Queens University Belfast. All research has been conducted to a high academic standard and has been fully referenced. If you would like to know more about a story or piece of research, or if you wish to tell us about your own story, email us at:

Members Involved

YEAR: 1934

Location: Donegall Street