A soldier has been honoured with the laying of a Victoria Cross paving stone in Cardross 100 years after the action for which his gallantry was recognised.
Lieutenant John Reginald Noble Graham of Cardross served in the 9th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He and his machine gun section were seconded to the Machine Gun Corps serving in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). He was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his bravery in the Battle of Istabulat on 22 April 1917.
Lt Graham was in command of a machine gun section attached to a battalion of Infantry sepoys which came under heavy fire, causing many casualties. Although twice wounded, he continued during the advance and was able, with one gun, to return fire on the enemy who were massing for a counter-attack. This gun was put out of action by the enemy’s rifle fire, and Lt Graham was wounded again. He then brought another gun into action and continued his attack on the enemy until all ammunition was used and he was wounded severely.
His valour and skilful handling of his guns held up a strong counter-attack which threatened to roll up the left flank of the Brigade, and averted what might have become a critical situation.
Commemorative VC paving stones are being laid in towns across the country to honour those who earned the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
The commemorative stone for Lieutenant Graham was unveiled at Cardross War Memorial by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Dunbartonshire, Rear Admiral Michael Gregory OBE. A number of Lieutenant Graham's family were in attendance, along with members of the public.
Rear Admiral Gregory said: “Laying this paving stone is an opportunity to remember Lieutenant Graham, and what he endured and achieved for his country. Lt Graham showed remarkable courage and determination in situations no-one would wish to experience. It is important that people know their local heroes and the impact the war had on their local community.”
Lt Graham’s son and other members of his family family were also present.
Lieutenant General Andrew Graham said: “While this unveiling ceremony recalls grandpa's brave actions 100 years ago this stone also commemorates the men of his Argyll section of 136 Machine Gun Company, all of whom were wounded on this day in 1917, and a number of whom were killed in action. He would say it was a team effort, and urge us not to forget them.”
Lt Graham died in 1980. His VC is held at the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum in Stirling.