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Grahame George Vial, 1895 - 1917

Grahame Vial was killed in action while fighting at Ypres in Belgium on 25 September 1917. He was aged 22. He is buried at Coxyde Military Cemetery, Koksijde, Belgium.

Grahame was born in Sydney, Australia on 19 January 1895. His parents were Agnes and Herbert Vial. The family moved to New Zealand some time after Grahame's birth and settled in Kelburn, Wellington. His father was employed by the Australian leather merchants Ullathorne, Hartridge & Co Ltd.

Grahame went to school at Wellington College, where he played rugby for the school and excelled academically. He won a Wellington Education Board B Scholarship in 1908 and passed the matriculation and solicitors' general knowledge examination at the end of 1910. He passed the Civil Service examination at the end of 1911 and secured a position with the Public Trust Office while he studied law at Victoria University College.

He continued to play rugby while he was at Victoria University and was also a member of the young men's bible class at Kelburn Presbyterian Church. He qualified as a solicitor at the end of 1915.

Vial  enlisted in February 1916 and entered Trentham Camp as a member of the 13th reinforcements in the New Zealand Field Artillery. His medical notes on enlistment describe him as 5 foot 6-1/2 inches (1.69 metres) in height, with brown hair and blue eyes and weighing 105 pounds (47.6 kg).

He embarked from Wellington on 27 May 1916, landing at Devonport in England on 26 July and proceeding to Sling Camp for further training. He crossed over to France on 17 October 1916 and was posted to the 9th Battery on 26 October. Gunner Vial was killed in action in Flanders on 25 September 1917.

He is remembered in the Public Trust Roll of Honour and on the Wellington District Law Society memorial plaque. 

Sources: Evening Post, 29 January 1908, page 2; Evening Post, 11 December 1908, page 8; Evening Post, 1 October 1909, page 3; Evening Post, 20 January 1911, page 3; Dominion, 20 January 1912, page 3; Evening Post, 24 October 1912, page 4; Dominion, 22 October 1913, page 10; Nelson Evening Mail, 8 April 1914, page 5; Evening Post, 20 October 1915, page 8; Evening Post, 21 December 1915, page 8; Dominion, 8 February 1916, page 6; Evening Post, 22 August 1918, page 8; The Spike, War Memorial Number, 1920, page 38; Evening Post, 1 September 1928, page 22; CW Vennell, A Century of Trust: A History of the Public Trust Office 1873-1973 (Wilson & Horton Ltd, 1973). 

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph soldier profile.

This obituary has been prepared by the New Zealand Law Society to preserve the memory of members of the legal profession who died while serving in World War I.

Lawyers Roll of Honour.

By Geoff Adlam, New Zealand Law Society. Further information is welcomed: geoff.adlam@lawsociety.org.nz

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Last updated on the 12th December 2014