Douglas Alexander Graham

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For the New Zealand politician, see Doug Graham.
Douglas Graham
Graham DAH.jpg
Born (1893-03-26)26 March 1893
Died 28 September 1971(1971-09-28) (aged 78)
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1913–1947
Rank Major-General
Unit Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Commands held 2nd Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
27th Infantry Brigade
153rd Infantry Brigade
56th (London) Infantry Division
50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division
GOC, British Land Forces Norway

First World War

Second World War

Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Military Cross
Mention in Despatches
Legion of Merit (United States)
Légion d'honneur (France)
Croix de Guerre (France)
Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav

Major-General Douglas Alexander Henry Graham CB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC, DL (26 March 1893 – 28 September 1971) was a senior officer of the British Army who fought with distinction in both World War I and World War II. During his early life he studied at the University of Glasgow.[1] When the First World War broke out in August 1914, Graham was serving in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and during the conflict was rescued by Henry May, the action that led to May being awarded the Victoria Cross. Shortly before the start of the Second World War, Graham was given command of the 2nd Battalion, Cameronians. He commanded several different brigades and divisions during the Second World War including the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division during the Normandy landings as part of Operation Overlord.

First World War[edit]

After leaving Glasgow Academy, Graham was commissioned into 3rd Lowland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, Territorial Force as a second lieutenant on 26 September 1911,[2] but he resigned his commission on 25 September 1912.[3] After attending the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was granted a regular commission, again as a second lieutenant, on 17 September 1913, in the Cameronians.[4]

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, Graham was promoted to lieutenant,[5] and he was serving in the 1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), when, on 22 October 1914, he was involved in an action that would lead to the award of the Victoria Cross. Whilst in the La Boutillerie area of France, Lieutenant Graham was wounded in the leg. Rifleman Henry May dragged him 300 yards to safety.[6] Graham was promoted captain on 18 June 1916,[7] and was appointed a Brigade Major on 30 April 1917[8] He was awarded the Military Cross in the 1918 New Year Honours.[9] He finished the war having also been awarded the French Croix de guerre.[10][11]

Inter-war period[edit]

Graham relinquished his appointment as Brigade Major on 8 June 1919,[12] and returned to regimental duty on 11 January 1920.[13] From 30 October 1921 he was seconded to the Indian Army as an Assistant Military Secretary.[14] He returned to the United Kingdom in 1928 and was appointed a Staff Captain with 52nd (Lowland) Division from 19 February 1928.[15][16] He was promoted to major on 16 December 1930,[17] and from 31 December 1930 to 18 February 1932 he was Deputy Assistant Adjutant & Quarter-Master General (DAA&QMG), Lowland Area, Scottish Command.[16][18] From 1 May 1932 to 30 April 1935 he was Officer Commanding of the Cameronians Regimental Depot at Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.[11]

Second World War[edit]

General Montgomery in conversation with Major General D. A. H. Graham, GOC 50th Division, 20 June 1944

In June 1937 he had been promoted lieutenant colonel,[19] and given command of 2nd Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).[11] In April 1940 he was given command of 27th Infantry Brigade with the acting rank of brigadier, and the substantive rank of colonel,[11][20] part of the 9th (Highland) Infantry Division. This changed its designation to the 153rd Infantry Brigade when 9th (Highland) was reformed as 51st (Highland) Infantry Division when the original 51st was lost on 12 June 1940 in the Battle of France. On 11 June 1942 he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in that year's King's Birthday Honours,[21] and on 14 January 1943 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his actions on 2 November 1942 during the Second Battle of Alamein.[22][23] Following Alamein he continued to command his brigade as it joined the campaign in Tunisia, he was involved in actions leading up to Operation Pugilist, in particular an attack on outposts of the Mareth Line on the night of 16/17 March, that and his performance up to the capture of Sfax won him a Bar to his DSO.[24][25]

In May 1943 he was given command of 56th (London) Infantry Division[11] with the rank of acting major-general,[26] initially commanding in North Africa (for which he was Mentioned in Despatches),[27] and then for the landings at Salerno as part of the Allied invasion of Italy during Operation Avalanche on 9 September 1943. During the landings and the subsequent campaign, his division, as part of British X Corps, was attached to the United States Fifth Army and as a result of his performance during the period up to 18 October 1943, including the capture of Naples and the advance to the line of the Volturno River, he was appointed a Commander of the US Legion of Merit.[28][29] He became a temporary major general on 14 May 1944.[30] His Italian service also led to him being appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) on 24 August 1944.[31] In January 1944 he was given Command of 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, a highly experienced formation,[32] which would take part in Operation Overlord, during the initial beach assault on Gold Beach, he was again Mentioned in Despatches for his contributions to the campaign,[33] The rank of major general was made substantive on 6 October 1944 (with seniority from 1 February).[34] and made an officier of the Légion d'honneur.[35]

He returned to England with the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division in November 1944, after having played a supporting role during Operation Market Garden in September. The 50th Division was soon converted into a training Division, but, in May 1945, was sent to Norway where it was involved in the liberation in 1945.[36] He received a further Mention in Despatches for "gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe" on 22 March 1945.[37]

In Norway he was Commander British Forces Norway where he convened the trial for war crimes of 10 German soldiers by a Military Court held at the law courts, Oslo, Norway. The accused were charged with committing a war crime, in that they at Ulven, Norway, in or about the month of July 1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned in the killing of Lt. A. H. Andresen, Petty Officer B. Kleppe, Leading Stoker A. Bigseth, Able Seaman J. Klipper, Able Seaman G. B. Hansen, and Able Seaman K. Hals, Royal Norwegian Navy, and Leading Telegraphist R. Hull, Royal Navy, prisoners of war.[38] For his services to Norway, he was made a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.[39]

Later life[edit]

Graham retired from the army on 6 February 1947.[40] Between 22 August 1954 and 26 March 1958 he was the Colonel of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).[41][42] He also served as Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Ross and Cromarty from 11 June 1956 until his resignation on 15 March 1960.[43][44]


  1. ^ "ARCHIVE SERVICES: Roll of Honour". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28540. pp. 7377–7378. 10 October 1911. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28647. p. 7024. 24 September 1912. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28756. pp. 6560–6561. 16 September 1913. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29003. p. 10584. 11 December 1914. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  6. ^ "Henry May VC". 2006-09-16. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29715. p. 8253. 18 August 1916. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30118. pp. 5615–5616. 5 June 1917. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30450. pp. 30–36. 28 December 1917. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31688. pp. 15578–15579. 12 December 1919. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  11. ^ a b c d e "British Army Officers, 1939–1945". Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31892. pp. 5338–5339. 9 January 1920. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31727. pp. 487–488. 9 January 1920. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32254. pp. 2000–2002. 11 March 1921. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33361. p. 1410. 28 February 1928. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  16. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 33680. p. 305. 13 January 1931. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33670. p. 8078. 16 December 1930. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33802. p. 1295. 26 February 1932. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34413. p. 4176. 29 June 1937. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34883. p. 3921. 25 June 1940. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35586. p. 2483. 5 June 1942. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35862. p. 320. 12 January 1943. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  23. ^ "Documents Online — Image Details — Description, Name, Graham, Douglas Alexander Henry" (fee required to see full details of citation). The National Archives. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  24. ^ "Documents Online — Image Details — Description, Name, Graham, Douglas Alexander Henry" (fee required to see full details of citation). The National Archives. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  25. ^ The London Gazette: no. 36083. p. 3086. 6 July 1943. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36045. p. 2625. 4 June 1943. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: no. 36327. p. 258. 11 January 1944. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  28. ^ "Documents Online — Image Details — Description, Name, Graham, D A H" (fee required to see full details of citation). The National Archives. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  29. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37853. p. 323. 14 January 1947. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  30. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37462. p. 895. 8 February 1946. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  31. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36668. p. 3917. 22 August 1944. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  32. ^ "50th Infantry Division". Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  33. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36720. p. 4474. 26 September 1944. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36731. p. 4573. 3 October 1944. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  35. ^ "Documents Online — Image Details — Description, Name, Graham, Douglas Alexander Henry" (fee required to see full details of citation). The National Archives. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  36. ^ "WW2 people's stories". BBC. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  37. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36994. p. 1548. 20 March 1945. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  38. ^ "Affidavit Relating to Execution of British Crew of Torpedo Boat No.345, Norway, July 1943". USGPO VII: 145–148. 
  39. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37961. p. 2290. 20 May 1947. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  40. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37874. p. 653. 4 February 1947. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  41. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40257. p. 4811. 17 August 1954. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  42. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41343. p. 1924. 21 March 1958. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  43. ^ The London Gazette: no. 40814. p. 3732. 26 June 1956. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
  44. ^ The London Gazette: no. 41983. p. 1911. 15 March 1960. Retrieved 2008-04-03.