‘Pri­vate Palmer never hes­i­tated for one mo­ment’

Killed try­ing to res­cue wounded com­rade

Loughborough Echo - - SHEPSHED SCENE - Al­fred John Parr D.C.M.

THROUGH­OUT the cen­te­nary of the First World War, we have been re­mem­ber­ing the sol­diers from the Lough­bor­ough area who lost their lives while serv­ing their coun­try. Here, with the help of Marigold Cleeve and a small num­ber of re­searchers from the Lough­bor­ough Car­il­lon Tower and War Me­mo­rial Mu­seum, we look back at more of those who made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice in Oc­to­ber 1918.

Al­fred John Parr was born in Bee­ston, Not­ting­hamshire, in 1894 and bap­tised at the Church of St. John the Bap­tist, Bee­ston, on 24th Oc­to­ber 1894.

He was the son of John Parr, an iron moul­der, and his wife El­iz­a­beth Ann (née Archer) who were mar­ried at Holy Trin­ity Church, Lough­bor­ough, on 17th May 1891.

By 1897 the Parr fam­ily had moved to Lough­bor­ough from Bee­ston. Al­fred had twin brothers Archibald and John.

When Al­fred was five his fa­ther died and in the spring of 1900 Al­fred’s mother mar­ried Charles New­bon, a wid­owed iron driller, in Lough­bor­ough.

In 1901 the New­bons were liv­ing at 19 Rat­cliffe Road, Lough­bor­ough, and Al­fred now had two step-brothers James and Arthur and a step-sis­ter Ellen who had al­ready left home.

He also had a baby step-brother Charles New­bon as well as an adopted sis­ter Ma­bel Bar­ber. By 1911 the fam­ily had moved to 72 Pin­fold Gate and Al­fred had one more step-brother Robert New­bon and three step-sis­ters Bertha, Hetty and Ruth New­bon from his mother’s se­cond mar­riage.

Al­fred at­tended the Em­manuel Boys School then worked as a foundry labourer at the Em­press Works. When he was about nine­teen, he de­cided to em­i­grate to Aus­tralia.

Ship­ping records show a fac­tory worker, Mr A. Parr ar­riv­ing in Mel­bourne on SS Port Lin­coln on 4 March 1914. It ap­pears Al­fred went to the West­ern Dis­trict af­ter his ar­rival to work on the land, pos­si­bly at the prop­erty of Wil­liam Hal­lam near Cavendish, Vic­to­ria.

A year af­ter his ar­rival in Aus­tralia, Al­fred trav­elled to nearby Hamil­ton and en­listed with the Aus­tralian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force on 3rd March 1915. He gave his re­li­gion as Methodist.

Six weeks later, on 17th April Al­fred em­barked as Pri­vate 2059 with the 7th Bat­tal­ion, 5th Re­in­force- ments, at Mel­bourne on HMAT Horo­rata and sailed for Egypt.

On 8th June 1915 he left Zeitoun, Egypt, em­barked with the 5th Re­in­force­ments at Alexan­dria on HMAT Seean Choon and sailed for Gal­lipoli. He joined B Com­pany of the 7th Bat­tal­ion at An­zac Cove, Gal­lipoli, on 17th June.

On 14th July 1915 Al­fred was wounded in the knee. He was taken aboard the hos­pi­tal ship Gas­con and four days later ad­mit­ted to the Con­va­les­cent Hos­pi­tal, Tigne, Malta.

On 3rd Au­gust he was trans­ferred to St. An­drew’s Mil­i­tary Hos­pi­tal, Tigne, and to Ric­cisoli, St. David’s, Malta, on 18th Au­gust. On 20th Au­gust he em­barked for Egypt on HMT South­land, reach­ing Alexan­dria on 25th Au­gust.

On 30th Au­gust he em­barked on the HMAT Kar­roo for the Dar­danelles and re­joined his bat­tal­ion at Lone Pine, Gal­lipoli on 9th Septem­ber. Much of Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber 1915 were spent train­ing at Mu­dros on the is­land of Lem­nos, be­fore the bat­tal­ion re­turned to An­zac Cove on 26th Novem­ber.

The fol­low­ing week, dur­ing the last throes of the Gal­lipoli cam­paign, Al­fred was pro­moted to Lance Cor­po­ral.

Al­fred re­turned to Alexan­dria on the HMT Em­press of Bri­tain on 7th Jan­uary 1916.

He was then trans­ferred to the 59th Bat­tal­ion from Ser­a­poun and taken on the strength at Tel-el-Kabir on 24th Fe­bru­ary. On 24th March he was trans­ferred to the 14th In­fantry Brigade head­quar­ters at Tel-el-Kabir, where he stayed for three months.

On 18th June Al­fred em­barked on HMT Geor­gian, ar­riv­ing at Mar­seilles on 27th June. He was then trans­ferred to B Com­pany of the 59th Bat­tal­ion on 7th Au­gust, join­ing them south-west of Fromelles.

The 59th Bat­tal­ion had just emerged from the Bat­tle of Fromelles with griev­ous losses. De­spite this the bat­tal­ion did trench tours in the front line around Fromelles for a fur­ther two months.

In late Au­gust Al­fred spent a week at the 15th Brigade Grenade School fol­lowed by more train­ing in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber with the 5th Divi­sion Grenade School. On com­ple­tion, Al­fred was pro­moted to Cor­po­ral on 15th Oc­to­ber 1916.

Al­fred was granted leave from 30th Novem­ber- 17th De­cem­ber 1916 and while he was on leave he was pro­moted to the rank of Sergeant. He re­joined the bat­tal­ion at Ribe­mont, France.

The 59th Bat­tal­ion spent the win­ter of 1916–17 ro­tat­ing in and out of the front line. In March 1917 the bat­tal­ion par­tic­i­pated in the ad­vance that fol­lowed the Ger­man re­treat to the Hin­den­burg Line, but was spared hav­ing to as­sault it.

It did, how­ever, de­fend gains made dur­ing the 2nd Bat­tle of Bul­le­court (3rd-17th May 1917). Al­fred be­came ill with in­fluenza on 17th March 1917 and on 22nd/23rd March he was trans­ferred and ad­mit­ted to 14th Aus­tralian Field Am­bu­lance with de­fec­tive vi­sion. He was dis­charged to duty on 25th March 1917.

At the end of June 1917, Al­fred was placed on the Su­per­nu­mer­ary list and pro­ceeded to join the 15th Train­ing Bat­tal­ion (Per­ma­nent Cadre) at Hur­d­cott, Tid­worth, Wilt­shire, trans­fer­ring to Alder­shot on 3rd Septem­ber.

He may have vis­ited his mother in Lough­bor­ough while in Eng­land. He re­turned to the bat­tal­ion on 19th Novem­ber 1917 at Lin­den­hoek Camp in Bel­gium.

By the end of the month, the bat­tal­ion was off to Messines to re­lieve the 55th Bat­tal­ion in the front line.

On 9th Fe­bru­ary 1918 Al­fred was sent to the 2nd Army Cen­tral Field School of In­struc­tion. He re­joined the 59th Bat­tal­ion on 19th March and was pro­moted to Tem­po­rary Com­pany Sergeant Ma­jor ( War­rant Of­fi­cer Class II).

With the col­lapse of Rus­sia in Oc­to­ber 1917, a ma­jor Ger­man of­fen­sive on the West­ern Front was ex­pected in early 1918. This came in late March and the 5th Divi­sion moved to de­fend the sec­tor around Cor­bie. Dur­ing this de­fence, the 59th Bat­tal­ion par­tic­i­pated in the now leg­endary coun­ter­at­tack at Villers-Bre­ton­neux on 25th April.

By the start of June the bat­tal­ion was at Frechen­court. On 4th June 1918 Al­fred was awarded the Dis­tin­guished Con­duct Medal for his ac­tions at Villers-Bre­ton­neux.

The ci­ta­tion read: ‘For con­spic­u­ous gal­lantry and de­vo­tion to duty.

“Dur­ing our at­tack the ser­vices ren­dered by this NCO were most valu­able; he kept his pla­toon well in hand, and af­forded ev­ery in­for­ma­tion to his com­pany of­fi­cer as to the needs of the sit­u­a­tion.

“He led an at­tack on and cap­tured an en­emy ma­chine-gun that was caus­ing ca­su­al­ties, and near the fi­nal ob­jec­tive, with a bomb­ing party, he cap­tured an­other ma­chine-gun and two of­fi­cers and fifty men.

“He showed great courage through­out and set a fine ex­am­ple to his men’.

When the Al­lies launched their own of­fen­sive around Amiens on 8th Au­gust 1918 the 59th Bat­tal­ion was amongst the units in ac­tion, although its role in the sub­se­quent ad­vance was lim­ited.

The bat­tal­ion fought around Peronne in the first days of Septem­ber and on 18th Septem­ber Al­fred was pro­moted to 2nd Lieu­tenant in the field.

Al­fred’s bat­tal­ion en­tered its last bat­tle of the war from Bel­li­court, north of St. Quenti­non the 29th Septem­ber 1918.

This op­er­a­tion was mounted by the 5th and 3rd Aus­tralian Di­vi­sions, in co-op­er­a­tion with Amer­i­can forces, to break through the for­mi­da­ble Ger­man de­fences along the St Quentin Canal.

Al­fred, aged 24, was wounded in ac­tion on 29th Septem­ber while lead­ing D Com­pany in the ad­vance.

A let­ter from the Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of the 59th Bat­tal­ion recorded the fol­low­ing: ‘2nd Lieu­tenant A. J. Parr, 59th Bat­tal­ion. The above named Of­fi­cer was re­ported wounded in ac­tion on the 29th Septem­ber 1918 and was car­ried out of the line by stretcher bear­ers of this Bat­tal­ion.

“He was con­veyed to a Reg­i­men­tal Aid Post on the 14th Brigade and died a few min­utes af­ter ar­rival there’.

Al­fred was buried at Prospect Hill Ceme­tery, Gouy, Grave IV. A. 16.

He is com­mem­o­rated on the Hamil­ton War Me­mo­rial, Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia, on the Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial, Can­berra, on the Not­ting­hamshire County Coun­cil Roll of Hon­our and on the Car­il­lon, Lough­bor­ough.

Al­fred’s DCM is on dis­play at the Car­il­lon War Me­mo­rial Mu­seum.

Al­fred’s step-brother Arthur New­bon was killed in ac­tion in 1914.

Syd­ney Co­rah.

Syd­ney Co­rah was born in Lough­bor­ough in 1892.

He was the only sur­viv­ing child of John Henry Co­rah and his wife Kate (née Morgan) who were mar­ried in Lough­bor­ough in 1889.

Syd­ney had one sis­ter Winifred who died shortly af­ter birth in 1890.

Syd­ney’s fa­ther was As­sis­tant Overseer (Rate col­lec­tion) for Lough­bor­ough Town Coun­cil and the Co­rah fam­ily lived at 112 Park Road, Lough­bor­ough.

Syd­ney at­tended Lough­bor­ough Gram­mar School be­tween Septem­ber 1904 and July 1907 where ‘He was a most promis­ing and pleas­ant pupil’.

Af­ter leav­ing school he was ar­ti­cled with Messrs. Wil­shere, Gim­son and Co., char­tered ac­coun­tants of Le­ices­ter.

Syd­ney joined the Le­ices­ter­shire Reg­i­ment in Novem­ber 1914.

On 21st May 1915 and al­ready a sergeant he was pro­moted from the ranks to be a 2nd Lieu­tenant in the 1/5th Bat­tal­ion. On 9th De­cem­ber 1915 he was sent to an­other bat­tal­ion of the Le­ices­ters then in train­ing and ac­corded the rank of Tem­po­rary Lieu­tenant.

On 23rd Septem­ber 1916. Syd­ney was sent to France. He joined the 1/5th Le­ices­ters on 29th Septem­ber in Brigade re­serve at Bienviller­sau-Bois.

At this point, in ac­cor­dance with his post­ing, he re­lin­quished his tem­po­rary rank of Lieu­tenant for that of 2nd Lieu­tenant.

The bat­tal­ion re­mained in the area of Monchy-au-Bois un­til 29th Oc­to­ber, ei­ther in the trenches or rest­ing at Bienvillers or Pom­mier.

The bat­tal­ion’s next move was to Mil­len­court for in­ten­sive bat­tle train­ing, re­turn­ing to Hal­loy and then Souas­tre at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber. The bat­tal­ion re­mained at Souas­tre un­til 11th March 1917.

On 2nd March 1917 Syd­ney was slightly wounded near Gom­me­court Church by an en­emy sniper.

Af­ter his re­cov­ery he was posted on 17th June 1917 to Somer­cotes Camp, Der­byshire, as an Act­ing Cap­tain and on 1st July was made a Lieu­tenant while com­mand­ing a Com­pany.

Syd­ney re­turned to France in Septem­ber 1917. Dur­ing Septem­ber, Oc­to­ber and early Novem­ber 1917 the 1/5th Le­ices­ters com­pleted six trench tours at St. Elie, with breaks at Fouquières and Philosophe. Dur­ing one tour the bat­tal­ion was vis­ited by a Mr. Wilkes of the Le­ices­ter Mail ‘at­tired in a grey suit, steel hel­met and box res­pi­ra­tor’.

On 14th Novem­ber the bat­tal­ion moved to Mazin­garbe for a trench tour in the Hill 70 sec­tor. Novem­ber ended with the bat­tal­ion bil­leted at Verquin, Vau­dri­court and Drou­vin for train­ing and a bat­tle re­hearsal.

Three more trench tours took place in De­cem­ber, this time in the Cam­brin right sec­tor where there were a num­ber of very heavy bom­bard­ments and gas at­tacks by the en­emy.

New Year’s Day 1918 was marked by an­other heavy bom­bard­ment on the bat­tal­ion’s trenches near Hul­luch.

Dur­ing early Jan­uary when away from the front line the bat­tal­ion also pro­vided wire car­ry­ing par­ties and work­ing par­ties. On 20th Jan­uary the

bat­tal­ion be­gan a four-day trans­fer by march to Choc­ques.

Be­tween 24th Jan­uary and 28th Fe­bru­ary the bat­tal­ion was in train­ing at Choc­ques, Al­louagne, Fiefs, and Re­clinghem.

Be­tween 28th Fe­bru­ary and 2nd March the bat­tal­ion moved via Delettes and Ligny-lès-Aire to Ec­quedec­ques where in­spec­tions took place. On 6th March they went into Brigade sup­port on the An­nequinCam­brin road, at An­nequin Fosse and at Sailly-Labourse.

On 8th they marched to the front line trenches in the Cam­brin right sub-sec­tor where, un­til 15th March, they ex­pe­ri­enced con­sid­er­able en­emy shelling. Af­ter mov­ing into Brigade re­serve at Sailly-Labourse, Fac­tory dugouts, Windy Cor­ner and Cen­tral Keep on 16th they were again shelled by the en­emy.

On 20th March the bat­tal­ion went into Di­vi­sional re­serve at Beu­vry. On 24th March they re­turned to the Cam­brin right sub-sec­tor trenches (now re­named the Ho­hen­zollern sec­tor) where all avail­able men were em­ployed at night on wir­ing. Af­ter a break at Sail­lyLabourse the bat­tal­ion marched to Fosse 7 and into Hill 70 Sup­port on 28th March.

Syd­ney was granted leave to Eng­land at the end of March and on 3rd April 1918 he mar­ried Hilda Moun­teney, daugh­ter of Ge­orge Moun­teney a coal mer­chant, at Woodgate Bap­tist Church, Lough­bor­ough.

Syd­ney re­joined his bat­tal­ion at Coupigny Huts, Brac­que­mont where they were re­cov­er­ing af­ter mus­tard gas shelling at Hill 70 ear­lier in April. Train­ing be­gan on 15th April but two days later 100 men be­came sick with what the med­i­cal spe­cial­ists con­sid­ered to be in­fluenza.

Sixty men were evac­u­ated and a spe­cial rest sta­tion was set up. Those men who were well were moved to Hersin and an­other 100 evac­u­ated. On 24th April the bat­tal­ion moved to Bruay and went into Re­serve at Fouquières on 25th, only to be shelled in their bil­lets.

As the bat­tal­ion was march­ing to the trenches at Le Hamel on 28th April the en­emy opened fire near Es­sars. Three men were killed and thirty-five wounded or gassed.

The bat­tal­ion reached the trenches on 29th April and re­mained there un­til 7th May. Dur­ing this time they were heav­ily shelled and a night wir­ing party was am­bushed by the Ger­mans.

Dur­ing the rest of May, June, July and Au­gust the bat­tal­ion did trench tours in the Gorre sub-sec­tor and at Es­sars/Le Hamel. Breaks were taken at Vau­dri­court Park Camp and in Au­gust there were four days of train­ing at Hes­digneul. The men also en­joyed a con­cert party by The Whizz-Bangs at Verquin.

By 7th Au­gust there were signs that the en­emy was with­draw­ing and at the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber, when the bat­tal­ion pushed for­ward to Richebourg, they found a num­ber of no­tices pinned up which said: ‘Dear Tommy, You are wel­come to all we are leav­ing.

“When we stop we shall stop and stop you in a man­ner you won’t ap­pre­ci­ate. Fritz.”

The day af­ter the note was found the bat­tal­ion front was se­verely bom­barded by the en­emy.

From 9th -11th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion was in train­ing at Gos­nay sand­pits and be­tween Béthune and Verquin.

On 12th Septem­ber they en­trained at Choc­ques for Ribe­mont-Méri­court. Be­tween 14th and 18th Septem­ber they con­tin­ued train­ing, at Sailly-le-Sec in field fir­ing and us­ing a com­pass at night, at Franvillers in a Brigade tac­ti­cal scheme, and at Teu­try in at­tack pro­ce­dure.

Af­ter this they marched to the Brigade sup­port po­si­tion in a newly cap­tured sec­tor east of Le Ver­guier and pre­pared for an at­tack on Pon­truet. On 24th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion took part in this op­er­a­tion be­fore re­turn­ing to the trenches at le Ver­guier.

On 25th Septem­ber Syd­ney was put in charge of D Coy.

A ma­jor op­er­a­tion was now be­ing planned in the area of the St. Quentin Canal. This be­gan on 29th Septem­ber with an at­tack on the Hin­den­burg Line.

The bat­tal­ion ad­vanced to the canal in ar­tillery for­ma­tion. Af­ter cross­ing the canal they ad­vanced and se­cured Magny-la-Fosse on 1st Oc­to­ber. On 3rd Oc­to­ber 1918 A and D Coys, or­dered to at­tack Doon Hill, formed up on the Pre­selles to Se­que­hart road.

Dur­ing pre­lim­i­nary re­con­nais­sance car­ried out in spite of the en­emy’s shell­fire Syd­ney, aged 26, and 2nd Lt. Christy were both killed.

News of Syd­ney’s death was con­veyed to his wife and par­ents by the Wes­leyan chap­lain who added that Syd­ney had been buried be­side his friend and padre, the Rev. D. W. Buck who was killed in the canal at­tack on the pre­vi­ous Sun­day.

Syd­ney was buried in Busigny Com­mu­nal Ceme­tery Ex­ten­sion, Grave V. C. 7.

He is com­mem­o­rated on the Woodgate Bap­tist Church me­mo­rial, Lough­bor­ough, on the me­mo­rial at Lough­bor­ough Gram­mar School and on the Car­il­lon.

Syd­ney’s widow, who had given 1,000 hours in VAD work at Lough­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal, re­signed from her nurs­ing du­ties on learn­ing of her hus­band’s death.

She re­mained at her par­ents’ home Wynnestowe, 127 Ashby Road.

She was even­tu­ally re­mar­ried in 1936 to Bernard N. Wale, a ge­ol­ogy lec­turer, with whom she lived at 40 Fair­mount Drive.

John Charles Wheat­ley.

John Charles Wheat­ley was born in Lough­bor­ough in 1899 and bap­tised at All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, on 5th Fe­bru­ary 1899.

He was the son of Charles Oba­diah Wheat­ley and his wife Sarah Ann (née Re­nals) who were mar­ried at All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, on 4th Jan­uary 1898.

John’s fa­ther was a school teacher. In 1901 the fam­ily was liv­ing at 10 Leopold Street, Lough­bor­ough, and John’s fa­ther was teach­ing at a Lough­bor­ough Board school.

By 1911 they had moved to Hoby where John’s fa­ther was em­ployed in the el­e­men­tary school there and by 1918 the fam­ily was liv­ing at The School House, Long What­ton, John’s fa­ther now be­ing head­mas­ter at the Long What­ton school. John had one brother Eric. John did some ini­tial of­fi­cer train­ing in Not­ting­ham be­fore en­list­ing in 1917 in the 28th (County of Lon­don) Bat­tal­ion, the Lon­don Reg­i­ment, oth­er­wise known as the Artists Ri­fles.

This was a spe­cial­ist of­fi­cer train­ing bat­tal­ion re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing re­place­ments for the many ju­nior of­fi­cers killed on the West­ern Front. John, ini­tially Pri­vate 766496, be­came a Cor­po­ral in the Artists Ri­fles. He then pro­ceeded to gain his com­mis­sion on 26th June 1918 and was posted as a 2nd Lieu­tenant to the 1/5th Bat­tal­ion of the Sher­wood Foresters (Notts & Derby Reg­i­ment).

John joined the 1/5th Sher­wood Foresters in July 1918. At the time the bat­tal­ion was in the area of Es­sars and Vau­dri­court, do­ing trench tours and work­ing on trench im­prove­ment.

For the first half of Au­gust this pat­tern con­tin­ued, but by 19th Au­gust there were signs that the en­emy was on the re­treat and the bat­tal­ion be­gan to push for­ward, ad­vanc­ing around the vil­lage of Le Touret. Be­tween 26th and 29th Au­gust the bat­tal­ion oc­cu­pied the out­post line in the Gorre sec­tion.

On 4th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion at­tacked the en­emy, ad­vanced their po­si­tions to posts in the area of Richebourg St. Vaast and af­ter­wards took over trenches in the old Bri­tish front line. Be­tween 7th and 11th Septem­ber they trained in a new tac­ti­cal scheme at La­pug­noy.

On 11th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion en­trained at Calonne Ri­couart for Cor­bie and marched to bil­lets at La­hous­soye where fur­ther train­ing and also sports took place. Train­ing con­tin­ued at Poeuilly.

On 20th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion went into the trenches at Ber­loucourt and were at­tacked by the en­emy two days later. On 24th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion took part in an at­tack on Pon­truet.

Af­ter a break at Vaden­court they went back into the at­tack on 29th Septem­ber cap­tur­ing a por­tion of the St. Quentin Canal and the Hin­den­burg Line north of St. Quentin.

On 3rd Oc­to­ber the bat­tal­ion was back in ac­tion at Ram­i­court. The area around the vil­lage of Ram­i­court, north of St Quentin, was part of the Hin­den­burg Line sys­tem of trenches, for­ti­fied vil­lages and gun em­place­ments which formed the last line of Ger­man de­fences on the West­ern Front.

On the morn­ing of 3rd Oc­to­ber 1918 waves of al­lied sol­diers were ad­vanc­ing be­hind an ar­tillery bar­rage to­wards these well de­fended en­emy po­si­tions.

John, aged 19, was wounded in ac­tion and died of his wounds that day. His body was never found.

John is com­mem­o­rated on the Vis-en-Ar­tois Me­mo­rial, Panel 7. He is also re­mem- bered on the me­mo­rial in All Saints Church, Lough­bor­ough, on the me­mo­rial in All Saints Church, Hoby, and on the Car­il­lon.

Tom Palmer.

Tom Palmer was born in Sileby, Le­ices­ter­shire, on 3rd April 1893.

He was the nat­u­ral son of Mary El­iz­a­beth Palmer, a black­smith’s daugh­ter from Sileby. On 13th Novem­ber 1897 Tom’s mother mar­ried Samuel Robey at All Saints Church, Lough­bor­ough.

One year later Tom’s step-sis­ter Doris was born. Tom’s step­fa­ther was a brick­yard labourer who pro­gressed to be­ing a tile maker and his mother was a Gris­wold hand.

In 1901 the Robey fam­ily lived in Brook Street, Sileby, but by 1911 had moved to 35 Al­bert Street, Lough­bor­ough. The fam­ily later moved to No. 19 in Al­bert Street.

Tom was ed­u­cated at an In­ter­me­di­ate School in Lough­bor­ough. Af­ter leav­ing school he be­came a hosiery ap­pren­tice and by 1916 was a hosiery fac­tory over­looker.

He en­listed on 22nd May 1916 and joined the King’s (Liver­pool Reg­i­ment) as Pri­vate 358082.

Af­ter ini­tial train­ing Tom was sent over­seas on 22nd Fe­bru­ary 1917 to join the 1/10th (Scot­tish) Bat­tal­ion of the Reg­i­ment as a stretcher bearer. He joined his bat­tal­ion at C Camp, Brand­hoek, where the bat­tal­ion was un­der­go­ing train­ing.

Dur­ing March, April and May the bat­tal­ion did trench tours in the Poti­jze and St. Jean sec­tors with breaks in bil­lets in the ar­eas of the Con­vent des Carmes, Ypres, or Ypres prison.

They also formed work­ing par­ties for the Royal En­gi­neers in Ypres and at Proven. In ad­di­tion there were two train­ing ses­sions, one at Brand­hoek C Camp and one at Poper­inghe.

At the be­gin­ning of June the bat­tal­ion was shelled while in B Camp, Brand­hoek, and moved to a can­vas camp near Vlamert­inghe. Be­tween 5th and 11th June the men were on front line work­ing par­ties. This was fol­lowed by a trench tour in the Rail­way Wood sec­tor dur­ing which the en­emy blew up sev­eral mines.

On 19th June the bat­tal­ion en­trained at Poper­inghe for Zeg­ger­scap­pel and trav­elled by bus to Zu­dausques. Here, for the rest of June the bat­tal­ion un­der­went train­ing and car­ried out trench dig­ging.

Train­ing con­tin­ued at Es­querdes un­til 19th July. On 20th July the bat­tal­ion en­trained at St. Omer for Poper­inghe and be­gan a trench tour in the Wieltje sec­tor.

On the next four days the bat­tal­ion suf­fered re­peated en­emy mus­tard gas shell at­tacks and more than 63 men were sent to hos­pi­tal with gas poi­son­ing.

Af­ter a break at Derby Camp the bat­tal­ion took part in an at­tack on the en­emy east of Wieltje on 31st July. This was suc­cess­ful but the bat­tal­ion en­coun­tered heavy ma­chine gun and ri­fle fire and en­emy snipers were very ac­tive.

The fol­low­ing two days were spent hold­ing the cap­tured trenches in the face of heavy en­emy ar­tillery fire and there were many ca­su­al­ties.

Af­ter three days rest at Vlamert­inghe and Wa­tou on 6th Au­gust the bat­tal­ion en­trained at Abeele for Au­druicq and marched to bil­lets at Zouafques. Here train­ing in mus­ketry, open war­fare and field fir­ing took place un­til 12th Septem­ber.

On 13th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion en­trained at Au­druicq for Gold­fish Chateau, Ypres, and went into the front and sup­port lines be­ing ac­com­mo­dated in Ger­man con­crete dugouts and gun­pits.

On 26th Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion en­trained at Proven for Mi­rau­mont and then marched via Beu­len­court to Villers-Fau­con be­fore go­ing into the trenches at Epehy.

The first two weeks of Oc­to­ber were spent on trench im­prove­ment at Epehy, fol­lowed by a week’s train­ing at Villers-Fau­con. In Novem­ber, at Epehy, an at­tack took place in which the en­emy of­fered lit­tle re­sis­tance.

Ten days later, how­ever, the en­emy at­tacked, and out­flanked the bat­tal­ion which was forced to with­draw.

In De­cem­ber the bat­tal­ion was on the move again to Tin­court, Beaumetz-lès-Aire, Flam­in­court, by train to Au­bigny, Izel-lès-Ham­meau, Bailleul-aux-Cor­nailles, Tan­gry, Crépy and back to Beaumetz-lès-Aire on 16th De­cem­ber. Train­ing and re­or­gan­i­sa­tion then took place un­til 8th Fe­bru­ary 1918.

Be­tween 9th and 14th Fe­bru­ary the bat­tal­ion marched via Westre­hen, La­pug­noy and Verquin to Le Preol to go into re­serve and prac­tice tac­tics. On 25th Fe­bru­ary the bat­tal­ion went into the trenches north of the La Bassée Canal. Here, although heav­ily trench­mortared by the en­emy, they car­ried out wir­ing work and pa­trols.

The en­emy now ap­peared to be build­ing up to an at­tack. On 14th and 15th March, and once again in the trenches, the bat­tal­ion suf­fered two days of heavy en­emy bom­bard­ment.

The Ger­man Spring Of­fen­sive be­gan on 21st March. Af­ter a break in Di­vi­sional re­serve at Me­s­plaux Farm for train­ing the bat­tal­ion was taken by bus to An­nequin on 27th March and moved into the trenches in the Cam­brin lo­cal­ity im­me­di­ately south of La Bassée Canal.

Re­lieved on 7th April two com­pa­nies of the bat­tal­ion went to Me­s­plaux Farm and two to Le Hamel. On 9th April there was a very heavy en­emy bom­bard­ment of the front and back ar­eas and the bat­tal­ion moved to the Tun­ing Fork line area.

The en­emy shelled all roads and tracks and the bat­tal­ion sus­tained heavy ca­su­al­ties en route. On 10th April No. 2 Com­pany was at­tacked three times but beat off the en­emy at heavy cost.

On 13th April the bat­tal­ion made a suc­cess­ful coun­ter­at­tack be­fore mov­ing to Fes­tu­bert. Af­ter Fes­tu­bert was bombed by the en­emy the bat­tal­ion moved to Raim­bert.

Af­ter mov­ing to Verquin on 20th April the bat­tal­ion went into the trenches at Tun­ing Fork South and Gorre Wood and although ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a heavy en­emy bom­bard­ment put up a suc­cess­ful counter-at­tack on 24th April. Af­ter two more en­emy bom­bard­ments the bat­tal­ion pro­ceeded to Labourse but this was also shelled and they moved to Vau­dri­court.

Dur­ing May the bat­tal­ion com­pleted four trench tours, two in the Fes­tu­bert left sub-sec­tor, one at Le Preol, and one in the Le Plantin sub-sec­tor. Af­ter a pe­riod of train­ing at Vau­dri­court from 1st-8th June there were two more trench tours, one at Le Plantin and one at Fes­tu­bert. At the end of June there was an epi­demic of flu and 200 men were sent to hos­pi­tal. July in­cluded trench tours again at Le Plantin and Fes­tu­bert, the Brigade horse show and fete in vau­dri­court chateau grounds and tac­ti­cal train­ing at De­cu­vin Camp.

In Au­gust there were trench tours in the Cail­loux sec­tor and at Le Plantin with a break from 16th-25th Au­gust at No. 1 Camp, Vau­dri­court where the brigade box­ing com­pe­ti­tion took place.

At the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion moved to Camp N. 2 at Vau­dri­court for train­ing and foot­ball. At this time there were in­di­ca­tions of an en­emy with­drawal.

On 23rd Septem­ber, af­ter a trench tour where they were heav­ily shelled, the bat­tal­ion moved by train to Béthune and then re­turned to the trenches at Fes­tu­bert.

On 2nd Oc­to­ber the bat­tal­ion was or­dered to ad­vance. On 3rd they reached the La BasséeFromelles line and then to a line run­ning through Petit Mois­nil.

At dusk they were at the out­post line run­ning through Hocron. On 4th Oc­to­ber, hav­ing been told to ad­vance across the canal if pos­si­ble, the bat­tal­ion be­came en­gaged in heavy fight­ing amid con­stant ma­chine gun fire and any move­ment was dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous.

Tom, aged 25, was killed in ac­tion at Don, north-west of La Bassée, on 4th Oc­to­ber 1918.

His Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer wrote to Tom’s par­ents as fol­lows: “He, in com­pany with oth­ers who fell in ac­tion, was in no lit­tle mea­sure re­spon­si­ble for the fine suc­cess of the Bat­tal­ion dur­ing the ac­tion.”

His Cap­tain wrote, “Pri­vate Palmer had gone out into the fire swept zone with a stretcher to res­cue a wounded man, and was killed in­stan­ta­neously… It was a very brave ac­tion and I have rec­om­mended him for a dec­o­ra­tion.

“He will be a great loss to the com­pany, as he was al­ways cheery, will­ing, and an ex­cel­lent stretcher bearer. It is very hard to fill the place of such men.”.

His Lieu­tenant also wrote: “Ma­chine gun bul­lets were sweep­ing all over the po­si­tion, but Pri­vate Palmer never hes­i­tated for a mo­ment.

“He reached the wounded man, bound and dressed his wounds. Palmer’s po­si­tion be­came very se­ri­ous and per­ilous, as he was in full view of the en­emy.

“The air was ring­ing with bul­lets, but Tom calmly picked up his stretcher, and was killed by a bul­let in the neck.”

Tom was buried at Rue-Petil­lon Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery, Fleur­baix, Grave I. E. 44. He is com­mem­o­rated on the me­mo­rial at Em­manuel Church, Lough­bor­ough, and on the Car­il­lon.

Al­fred John Parr D.C.M

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