Biography of 2 Lieutenant Eric George Palmer,
Northamptonshire Regiment 3rd Bn.
attd. 2nd Bn.
Died 4th March 1917


  • Name: Eric George Palmer
  • Date of birth:  1896
  • Place of Birth: Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, England
  • Date of Birth Registration: January – March 1896
  • Place of Birth Registration: Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England


  • Name: Charles Simpson Reginald Palmer
  • DOB: 1858
  • Place of Birth: Kensington, London, England
  • Occupation: Grocer


  • Name: Mary Matilda Joll
  • DOB: 1859
  • Place Of Birth: Greetham, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England
  • Marriage: 30th March 1882 Little Carlton

Siblings: (Name), (DOB), (POB)

  • Reginald Palmer, 1883, Martin Dales
  • Florence Mary Palmer, 1886, Martin Dales (Died 1890)
  • Alice Palmer, 1889, Wildmore (Died 1889)
  • Annie May Palmer, 1891, Wildmore (Died 1892)
  • Eric George Palmer, 1896, Higham Ferrers


  • 1901: Eric is living with his parents at Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.
  • 1911: Eric is living with the Lenton family in Morrdown, Bournemouth. The census gives him an age of 15 and he is listed as being at school.
Relatives in services

  • None found


  • No marriage for Eric has been found and because of his age we can assume that he never had the opportunity to marry.

mNewspaper Mentions

  • Midland Mail – Friday 16 March 1917
    Lieut. Eric G. Palmer, of Wellinborough, Killed in Action.
    Sincere regret was expressed when it becme known on Friday evening that Mr. C. S. R. Palmer, of “The Poplars,” Wellingborough, had received a telegram conveying to him the distressing news that his younger son, Lieut. Eric G. Palmer, of the Northants Regiment, was killed in action on Sunday, March 4th.  Born at Higham Ferrers just over 21 years ago, the decreased yound officer was educated first at Chichele College, Higham Ferrers, and then at Wellingborough School.  He was articled to Messrs Morgan and George, solicitors, and left that employment when, a month after the declaration of war, he joined the Army, with serveral friends, as a private.  In a few months he was gazetted to a second-lieutenancy in the Northants Regiment.  At the time of his death he had been at the front upwards of 21 months, and had not been wounded.  Lieut. Palmer was well known in Wesleyan Methodist circles, where his father is a prominent official.  He was greatly esteemed and admired by all who knew him, and the news of his death will be greatly regretted by a wide circle of friends.  Much sympathy will be felt with Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, who by this bereavement are left without a child in England.
    Mr. C. S. R. Palmer, of “The Poplars.” Wellingborough, has recieved two fine tributes to his late son, Lieut. Eric G. Palmer, from officers of the Northants Regiment.  Lieut. Colonal G. Buckle writes:- “I am writing to offer you my deeepest sympathy in thr lose you have sustained through the death in action of your son, Lieut. E. G. Palmer.  He was killed instantly by machine gun bullet, while leading his platoon in our attact in the enemy trenches on March 4th.  During his service under my command he had always shown himself to be a brave and capable officer, and his lose will be deeply felt among all ranks of the regiment.  It may be a small consolation to you to know that he did not sacrifice his life in vain.  The action was the most brilliant and successful that this Battalion has taken part in tduring the war.  With deepest sympathy I remain, yours sincerely, G. Buckle (Lieut. Colonal.
    The second letter is from a close friend of the late Lieut. Palmer, and reads:- “I am deeply grieved to have to inform you that your son, Lieut. E. G. Palmer was killed in action on Sunday last, March 4th, leading his platoon to the attack.  He was hit by a riffle or machine gun bullet in the tthroat, and died instantly.  Ever since I first met him in June, 1915, I have known him as a brave and competent officer, and an unflinching and cheerful friend., even under the most trying and cheerless conditions.  He was a very good friend tome, and, in fact, to all the officers and men of this battalion.  My deepest sympathy goes with yu in your great loss; yet I feel sure that your sorrow will ne mingled with pride, because he fell fighting bravely in so noble a cause as ours.  With deepest sympathy I am, your very sincerely, H. Essam.


  • Northampton Mercury Friday 16 March 1917
    Wednesday’s official list of casualties.
    PALMER LIEUT. ERIC G., Northampton Regiment. younger son of Mr and Mrs C.S.R. Palmer, The Poplars, Wellingborough, is officially notified as having been killed in action in France on Sunday last.
    The sad news of Lieut. Palmer’s death has caused much regret in Wellingborough where he was well known and was very popular. The deepest sympathy is extended to his father, who is vice-chairman of Wellingborough Board of Guardians and prominently associated with the Wesleyan Church, and also to Mrs Palmer. Twenty-one years of age, Lieut Palmer was originally intended office of Messrs. Morgan and George, Solicitors, Wellingborough and Northampton, when the call came.

  • Northampton Mercury Friday 23 March 1917
    At the Wesleyan Church on Sunday evening at a service conducted by the Rev. J. Penrose Hodgson, special references were made to those connected with this church who have recently fallen in the war. The rev. gentleman particularly mentioned the losses of Lieut. Eric Palmer and Privates A Mayhew and Dover, all of whom were associated wit the church.


  • Northampton Mercury Friday 30 March 1917.
    The Board unanimously voted that an expression of sympathy should be sent to Mr and Mrs C.S.R. Palmer, whose son Lieut Eric Palmer has been killed in action.

Military Records

Attestation Papers

  • None found

Soldier’s Died In The Great War

  • These records show that 2 Lieutenant (T) Eric George Palmer, 3rd Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment Att 2nd Bn N’Hants was killed in action on 4th March 1917 in the Western European Theatre in France and Flanders.

Pension Records

  • None found

Effects Left To

  • Father Charles Simpson Reginald Palmer


  • The British Medal
  • The Victory Medal


  • UK:
  • Bourne War Memorial in the Memorial Gardens
  • Wellingborough War Memorial



© Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

© Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

Military Service Timeline

Today we remember Eric George Palmer who was killed on this day 4th March 1917 whilst serving with the 3rd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, attached to 2nd Battalion. Remembered on the Bourne War Memorial.
Eric was born in Higham Ferras, Northamptonshire. He was the 2nd son of Charles Simpson Reginald Palmer, a Grocery and Produce Merchant born in Kensington, London and his wife Mary Matilda Joll born in Greetham, Horncastle. They were married on 30th March 1882 in Little Carlton near Louth Lincolnshire. The couple lived in Martin Dales where their first son Reginald George Palmer was born in 1883, before moving to Higham Ferrers. They went on to have three children, one who sadly died before the 1911 census.
In 1901 Eric is living with his parents in College Street in Higham Ferrers. His father Charles was a grocer and employer. Reginald was working as a grocer’s assistant and the fact that he is listed as a worker at home indicates that they lived at the Grocer’s shop. Also in the household was a domestic servant Eliza Stubbs from Wildmore Lincs and a Grocers apprentice, George DeBow from Rushden Northants.
Ten years later in 1911 Eric is now living with the Lenton Family in Morrdown, Bournemouth. Arthur Lenton is a retail stationer’s assistant from Sussex. Eric is listed as a visitor and scholar, also in the house is Nellie Richardson another scholar from Wellingborough.
Eric was originally intended to work at the office of Morgan and George, Solicitors of Wellingborough when he received his call up to the 3rd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Available records give us the information that he was attached to the 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.
Eric’s medal card index show’s us that he arrived in France on the 7th March 1916. As the 3rd Battalion was a home service Battalion then this posting must have been to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Lieut Eric Palmer joining the Battalion that had been in France since November 1914 after being in Alexandria on the outbreak of war.
The 2nd Battalion was in billets at Bois de Bovigene near Bethune going into trenches near Souchez on the 10th March 1916.
Officer records are kept at the National Archives and as of yet have not been digitised. The record copying service is currently unavailable and so we only have the Battalion diaries to find out about Eric’s life in the front line.
The Battalion would be involved in the attack on Vimy Ridge before moving down onto the Somme. For the first day of the Battle of the Somme the battalion were in reserve moving from Hennencourt Wood up through Fricourt to the old German Support trenches.
7th July 1916
At 9AM the Battalion moved from bivouacs to the following positions. A&B Companies to Crucifix Trench under Major Williams. C&D Companies to Lozenge Trench with Battalion Headquarters.
A&B Companies then moved up – the later being ordered to advance and occupy the Square in Contalmaison. Meanwhile C Company had moved up ti Birch Alley and Shelter Alley to support the Worcestershire Regiment. Major Williams in command>
A cCompany then advanced in extended order along the Sunken Road, making for the village. Owing to very heavy machine gun fire the cCompany made for Peake Alley and turned to advance along the trench.
The enemy then got his artillery to work and the people in the trench suffered many casualties from shrapnel and High Explosive shells. D Company followed A Company into the trench and also suffered heavily. At the same time B and C Companies were also very severely knocked about and many casualties occurred. During this time Lt Col Buckle, Captain Parker, 2nd Lt Palmer (R E) and 2nd Lt Ferguson were wounded and Lt Selby & 2nd Lt James? were killed.
When B company reached Peake Wood, they encountered a company of the 2nd East Lancs Regiment retiring very quickly. Many efforts were made to stop them, but of no avail, Lt Falby and CSM Piquet of the East Lancs did especially good work in rallying their retiring Company and joined B Company in Peake Wood. Owing to the enemy barrage no one could make any further advance towards the village. Eventually all the Battalion was pushed back into Birch Alley – more by the retiring regiments than by our own retirement.
On reaching Birch Alley the remainder of the Battalion was organised and manned the parapet under Captain Carwith? – he with several subalterns managed to restore. a little order out of the chaos and held the line strongly. Rifles were very dirty owing to the mud and rain but the men managed to clean them. One of our lewis guns was also smarted up. The Battalion eventually formed up at Lonely Copse at about 5pm and at 8.30pm set out to dig a trench from Peake Wood to X.16.C.3.0
The next day information was that the village of Contalmaison has been evacuated by the enemy. This was not fully the case and the Battalion along with the Worcesters lead an attack but suffered even more heavy casualties but 20 men and a subaltern did mange to get to reach Peake Wood.
We cannot be 100% sure that this is Eric Palmer being wounded but it is a 2nd Lt Palmer and sadly the letters in the brackets afterwards are not really legibly. No casualty records for this period can be found for Eric but also no other 2nd Lt Palmer can be seen in any 2nd Northamptonshire records until 1918. The letters may be RE in which case there may have been a 2nd Lt of the royal Engineers attached to the battalion.
The battalion came out of the line on the 10th and marched back to billets at Bresle.
We move forward a few days as this is where the Battalion had been cleaning and refitting, to the 15th July 1916
15th July 1916 – Move
The Battalion marched again at 9am to Longeau Station and entrained at 11pm. Captain Latham carried out the entraining in record time. The HQ Company under Lieut E.G. Palmer formed a loading party. Arrived at Bethune Station at 8.30pm and marched to billets in Annezin, arriving there at about 10.20 pm.
16th July 1916 – Billets
No parades. The Battalion ?? Lt E.G Palmer went as Brigade B.O.
The Battalion would eventually go back into trenches on the 31st July 1916
The Battalion would remain in the Bethune, Annezin, Fouquereuil until mid October. On thing of note was that on coming out of the front line on the 12th October they had just completed a 24 day tour in the trenches.
Their next location would be back in the Somme close to Trones Wood (East of Albert). Lt Eric Palmer once again gets a mention on the 21st October when he and 2nd Lt Essame were sent out to reopen the road for the transport close to Needle and Penn trenches. Later that day The CO and 2nd in command went up to inspect the trenches, having only been taken over the previous day and in a dilapidated state, the Battalion had been reinforcing them and making them as comfortable as possible without having access to any R.E. equipment. The enemy started a bombardment on the Sunken Road and the Valley of Death at 4.30pm.
The battalion would stay in the trenches until the 1st November being billeted at Sandpits Camp near Meaulte before being withdrawn out of the line for training, parades, marches etc at Villers Campsart (West of Amiens) on the 21st November.
They would remain there until the 27th December and the diary notes on the 25th December “Christmas Day, there were no parades”.
Their next location would be near Bray at Camp 107 near Billon Wood, where they would see in the new year.
Once more the battalion were out of the front line carrying out training for an attack for most of January and February, alternating this with some time in the trenches supply in working parties and in brigade reserve.
From the 1st March the Battalion had moved from a tented camp at L.17.b to dug outs Asquiths Flats, drawing stores on the 2nd for the attack that was planned. That night they relieved the 2nd West Yorks in the Bouchauesnes North Sector.
On the 4th they attacked the enemy trench system on the Moislains Ridge they had met their objectives and came under repeated counter attacks.
During this day 7 officers and 235 other ranks were listed as casualties of this action. These included Lt Eric Palmer and also Haconby man Rowland Stuart Clark.
The Northampton Mercury for Friday 16th March:
Palmer Lieut Eric G., Northamptonshire Regiment, younger son of Mr and Mrs C.S.R. Palmer, The Poplars, Wellingborough, is officially reported as killed in action in France on Sunday last. The sad news of the death of Lieut. Palmer with much regret in Wellingborough where he was well known and very popular. The deepest sympathy is extended to his father was the Vice-Chairman of the Wellingborough Board of Guardians and prominently associated with the Wesleyan Church, and also to Mrs Palmer. Twenty-one years of age, Lieut. Palmer was originally intended for the legal profession, and was in the office of Messers. Morgan and George, Solicitors, Wellingborough and Northampton when the call came.
Lieutenant Eric Palmer, 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, was originally buried in the field with two other 2nd Bn men just north of the Rancourt to Moislains Road 62c.b.9.b.5.4. He was identified and reburied in 1920 by members of the 712 Labour Company. The point on the 1917 map where the burials were found was the original British line on the day when the action took place and so we can expect that, as the battalion took their objectives and held them (Juniper Trench) that Eric would have been killed going over the top leading his men into action.
Probate: Eric Palmer of the Polars Wellingborough, Lieutenant in His Majesty’s Army died 4 March 1917 in France. Administration London 24 October to Charles Simpson Reginald Palmer Provision Merchant. Effects £138.11s.2d.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission adds the following memorial;
In memory of Lieutenant E G Palmer, 3rd Battalion attd. 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment who died on 4 March 1917 Age 21. Son of Reginald and M A Palmer, of The Haven, Bourne, Lincs. Remembered with honour, Fins New British Cemetery, Sorel-Le-Grand.
Eric is remembered on the Bourne War Memorial and buried at Fins New British Cemetery.


  • WW1 Soldier’s Records (
  • British Newspaper Archive.
  • Fold 3
  • Find My Past
  • Genealogist
  • Forces War Records
  • British Army Service Numbers
  • War Gratuity Calculator
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • National Archives – Battalion War Diaries
  • General Registry Office

Privacy Preference Center