Captain Norman Clotworthy Graham MC

First World War

Graham was born on 19 April 1889 in Dunadry, County Antrim. He studied medicine at Queens University Belfast and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1915. He served as an Army Doctor at the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross for displaying outstanding courage.

Graham transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and in November 1918 he transferred to the RAF.

The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, was Germany’s most notorious fighter pilot. He was considered the “Ace of Aces” of WW1 and won 80 air combat victories. This German aristocrat loved hunting; his bedroom was decorated with the serial numbers of the British aircraft he’d shot down and his chandelier was made from the rotary engine of a British plane.  

Richthofen’s plane, a bright-red Albatross triplane, was shot down on 21 April 1918; who fired the deadly shot was argued and debated for decades to come. Richthofen’s initial autopsy was carried out by Captain Graham of the Royal Flying Corps.

The Red Barons, basic rule for flying was:

“Aim for the man and don’t miss him. If you are fighting a two-seater, get the observer first, until you have silenced the gun, don’t bother about the pilot.”

Graham returned to Queens University as a Lecturer in Bacteriology. After his experiences in the trenches, Graham's work included research into Weil's disease.