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Graham, Robert Rule

Date of birth:
December 27th, 1899
Date of death:
May 3rd, 1940
Mentioned on:
Chatham Naval Memorial
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


Robert Graham joined the Navy from Charterhouse in 1918. Following service in the Aircraft-carrier Eagle, he qualified as air-pilot in 1924 and for the next ten years served with units of the Fleet Air Arm in home waters, the Mediterranean and China. He was promoted to commander in December, 1934, and continued to command squadrons in the Fleet Air Arm until 1936 when he was appointed to the Naval Air Division. In 1937 he was lent to the Air Ministry for duty in the Department of Research and Development. In February, 1939, he was appointed to the Exeter and was awarded the D.S.O. for his services in action in the battle with the Graf Spee.
Graham also was a an expert ornithologist.

Cadet 15.06.1918
Midsh. 01.11.1918
A/S.Lt. 15.01.1921
S.Lt. 31.05.1921, seniority 15.01.1921
A/Lt. 20.08.1922
Lt. 22.10.1923, seniority 15.10.1922
Lt.Cdr. 15.10.1930
Cdr. 31.12.1934

F/O 16.06.1924
F/Lt. 01.07.1928
Sqd.Ldr. 01.07.1933
W/Cdr. 01.07.1937

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Awarded on:
November 6th, 1929
First Class
For rescueing Spanish Air Force Major Ramón Franco – brother of future Spanish dictator Francisco Franco – and his crew, who had been adrift in the North Atlantic Ocean since 22 June when their flying boat, the Dornier Do J Wal ("Whale") Numancia was forced down due to fuel exhaustion on the first leg of an attempt to fly westward around the world.
Second World War (1939-1945)
H.M.S. Exeter, Royal Navy
Awarded on:
February 23rd, 1940
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
"…..who, as Commanders of their Ships, having done all they could during the long months of waiting to perfect their Ships and Ships' companies, so that they stood the test ,of battle, when the day for action came, heartened all by their readiness, example and encouragement."
In connection with the action with the "Admiral Graf Spee" also know as The Battle of the River Plate."