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Lieutenant James Reginald Torin Graham

Schools Waterloo 200

2nd (or Royal North British) Regiment of Dragoons

Captain T.C. Fenton's Troop

23 Feb 1798 - 20 Jan 1865

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Waterloo Soldier by: Trinity School

Date added: 22 Apr 2015

The man himself

Family life


His father, James Graham, was born in Rickerby Hall, Rickerby, Stanwix, Cumbria, England and was married to Harriet Graham née Simpson on 26th January 1891. He was a wealthy merchant with connections to India.


-Anna Harrietta Graham - Christened 26th January 1792

-Georgina Maria Graham- Christened 26th Jan 1792 and married James Macalester on 22nd September 1817

-Laura Isabella Graham- Born 25th Nov 1794 and was christened 25th Dec 1794

-William Richardson Graham- Born 9th April 1796 and was christened 18th April 1796

-James- Born 23rd February 1798 and was christened 8th March 1798

-Harriet Mary Ann Graham- Born 16 Nov 1799 and was christened 25th Nov 1799. She married Charles Butler Stevenson and they had a child, Harriett Lydia Stevenson

-John Richard Graham- Born 11 Dec 1800 and was christened 13 Dec 1800

-Charles Henry Graham- Born 3 April 1802 and was christened 12 April 1802

-Frederick Graham- Born 6 August 1803 and was christened 15 August 1803

Graham James Graham- Born 8th April 1805 and christened 15 April 1805

-Augusta Mary Emma Graham-Born 15 Oct 1806 and christened 7 Nov 1806


Elizabeth Jane Graham


Georgina Graham

Harriet Elizabeth Saurin née Graham

Mary Jane Simpson née Graham

Army career

He served at Waterloo at merely 16 years of age. He belonged to Captain Thomas C Fenton's troop in the 2nd Royal North British Regiment of Dragoons (aka Scots Greys whose symbol is the French eagle) in the Union Brigade. After the battle ended he was sent in command of the men looking for wounded soldiers in the regiment and to bury the dead.

Timeline of his army career

20th January 1814- Cornet

8th June 1815- Lieutenant

18th June 1815- Served in the battle of Waterloo

16th March 1820- Captain

10th January 1837- Major

5th April 1844- Retired 

Obituaries and memorials

There is a memorial tablet in St Michael's Church, Carlisle, Cumbria which reads "To the glory of God and the honoured memory of Major James Reginald Torin Graham, late of Richardby, son of James Graham of Barrock Lodge and Richardby, esquire. He served in the 2nd R.N.B Dragoons (Scots Greys) and was in the charge of the heavy brigade at Waterloo. Born at Barrock Lodge 23rd February 1798, died at Kensington 20th January 1865."

Low monument in Brompton Cemetry, London reads "In hope of the memory and life is here laid the body of Major James Reginald Torin Graham 2nd R.N.B dragoons (Scots Greys), late of Richardby, county of Cumberland. Born Feb 23 1798. Died Jan 20 1865"

The Union Brigade and the Scots Greys in the Battle of Waterloo

At around 2pm (around 20 mins before Wellington sent reinforcements to La Haye Sainte in a rather desperate attempt to drive off the French) Major General Ponsonby’s Union Brigade of heavy dragoons (the 1st Royal Dragoons, 2nd Royal Scots Greys and 6th Inniskilling Dragoons) charged D’Erlon’s infantry columns as they reached the British line. The charge built up momentum and the British “Heavies” launched themselves on the French infantry, with the Greys shouting “Scotland for ever." Sergeant Charles Ewart of the Greys rode at the eagle bearer of the 45th Infantry. He cut down the four escorts and the eagle bearer and bore the eagle away. The Union Brigade cut through the French and, now out of control, continued the charge up the far incline to the French guns, where they sabred numbers of gunners in Ney’s battery. The British were counter-attacked by French Lancers and suffered extremely heavy casualties which eliminated the brigade from the battle. The brigade commander General Ponsonby was killed. In the battle 11 officers and 185 men were killed and wounded.

History of the Scots Greys

The regiment fought as dismounted infantry at Blenheim in 1704 then returned to Scotland for policing duties for a long period. This included suppressing the first Jacobite rebellion in 1715. The unit saw no further combat service until 1793 when it was involved in the campaign in the Low Countries in the early French Revolutionary wars. After this it did not fight again until the battle of Waterloo (see above for the role it played). In 1854 the regiment charged uphill against 3000 Russian cavalry in the battle of Balaklava when it won two Victoria Crosses. No further combat was seen for the entire unit until the Boer War in 1899 when it camouflaged its horses with khaki dye. During the 1st World War they fought as both cavalry and infantry then they fought in India and Palestine during the inter-war period.

Objects he would have likely used

He would have used a sounding of a trumpet to signal the beginning of a battle along with the others beside him. This was crucial to timing and moving as a group so that everybody was on the same page.

Receiving the kings shilling would of been an important part to his life as a soldier, this was a sign of enlisting to the army. The value of this varying from £2 and £23; about £2900 in today’s money, could have itself helped persuade him into going up. James would not have received this but would have known about it.

A water canteen will have also been used by our soldier, these were made of wooden discs held together with iron strips. These 1.4 litre canteens will of been vital to the survival of soldiers keeping them hydrated for their long marches. While they were intended to hold water they were often filled with alcohol which might have kept the spirits up although it would not help with dehydration.

Brown Bess Muskets are also something our soldier might have used would have been familiar with. A trained British soldier was expected to shoot 3 bullets a minute, but still this did not help with the accuracy, it was hard to hit another soldier deliberately at a ranges greater than 100 metres. When the musket was empty the soldiers were very keen to use the bayonet to attack the enemy, which was greatly feared by them.

Wooden blocks painted with figures of soldiers mounted on horseback and cavalry were used to train soldiers how to move as a group. This shows that drills and training were crucial to warfare. Even if our soldier was not trained using this technique we can still see that he will have been trained properly before going into battle.

The Waterloo Medal was given to soldiers who participated in the battle of Waterloo. Every soldier despite rank was entitled to one, each with their own name inscribed with their name on the edge of the medal. James’ medal can be seen in Tullie House, Carlisle for a short while.

Earl of Uxbridges stirrups was part of the royal scots greys. Our soldier, james will have used very similar stirrups on the horse he used. They were made of brass and decorated.

The images on this page are of Rickerby House, Carlisle where James lived, His memorial plaque in St Michael's church, Carlisle, a heavy cavalry sword, his Waterloo medal courtesy of Tullie House, Carlisle and the painting "The Charge of the Royal Scots Greys" by Lady Butler.

The main image is a portrait of James Reginald Torin Graham courtesy of Tullie House, Carlisle.

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