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2nd Lieutenant Graham Nelson of the Scottish Rifles

Date: 1915
Overall: 91 x 60 mm
Mount: 104 x 64 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robert D McKilliam
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0227[001]

User Terms

    A studio portrait of 2nd Lieutenant Graham Nelson of the Scottish Rifles 19th Infantry Brigade while on active service on the western front in France. Photographed by Marcel Bulteau Studio, 12 Rue de l'Humanite, Armentieres, France. Obverse inscribed 'Marcel Bulteau 12. Rue de l'Humanite Armentieres'. Verso inscribed 'Maison Fondee en 1874 les cliches sont conserves mel. Bulteau Armentieres' and 'BP Grimald, Paris'. Handwritten inscription 'Graham Nelson 2nd lt. 5th[?] Scottish rifles 19 infantry brigade on active service 2nd Jan. 1915'.
    SignificanceThis image is a part of the Captain Robert McKilliam collection. Captain McKilliam worked for the Aberdeen White Star Line for 32 years and sailed aboard such famous clipper ships as SALAMIS and THERMOPYLAE. He moved to Sydney in 1913 where he served as Assistant Wharf Master on Darling Island.
    HistoryGraham Nelson was born in Glasgow, the eldest son of Colonel William and Mrs Mary Nelson. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and began studying for a law degree, a BL, at the University of Glasgow in 1912. He enrolled for classes in Civil Law, and Constitutional Law and History. He did not sit the exams in these subjects at the end of the academic year, however. When the war broke out he was serving an apprenticeship with the law firm Kidstone, Watson, Turnbull & Co. He planned to join his father's firm, J H Taylor, Nelson, Walker & Co in due course. William Nelson, Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), TD, was a well-known Glasgow lawyer.

    The war ended many career plans, however, and on 4th August 1914 he joined the Fifth Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. It was no surprise that he was one of the first to volunteer. He had been an enthusiastic member of the OTC both at school and University. He served In France from November 1914 until June 1916 when he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.

    Qualified as an observer, he saw active service in France until December 1916, when he was sent back to Britain to train as a pilot. He qualified with such distinction in March 1917 that he was retained as an instructor. A few months later, on the evening of 30th August he was tragically killed in an aeroplane accident. He was twenty-three. Lieutenant Nelson is buried at Cathcart Cemetery, Glasgow (see A younger brother, Robert, born too late to serve in the Great War, was killed in action in the Second World War on active service with the 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment.
    - Biographical Information courtesy of the University of Glasgow.

    Additional Titles

    Collection title: McKilliam family collection

    Assigned title: 2nd Lieutenant Graham Nelson of the Scottish Rifles

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