Palmer, William Edward, Special Constable.

Corporal 5833853, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire And Hertfordshire Regiment

Paul Watts with thanks to Mick Hall

William Edward Palmer

Early Life.

William Edward Palmer was born on the 15th January 1912 at Royston, he was apparently known as Ted.

His father was Samuel Edward Palmer born on the 7th September 1866 at Southwold.

His mother was Louisa Luddington born on the 13th October 1880 at Bedford. She married Samuel in 1904 at Bedford. They had two children:

  1. William Edward Palmer.
  2. Doris Mary Palmer born on the 12th May 1914 at Royston.

In the 1911 Census Samuel, who is shown as a Stableman, and Louisa were living at George Lane, Royston. They had two lodgers.

In the 1939 register William was recorded as being involved in heavy work employed as a Packer man in a flour mill and was living with his mother and sister at 13, Rock Road, Royston. His father, shown as a retired Stableman, was living at The Bungalow, Denwich, Yoxford, Suffolk.


William married Margaret E. Woodcock in 1940 at Hitchin. She was born on the 21st April 1915 at Royston. In the 1939 register she was recorded as being a parachute worker and was living at home with her parents at 4, Old North Road, Royston

William Edward Palmer’s Police Service.

William’s Police Service Record has not survived and other than the extract below there are no other records which have been found that show William served as a Special Constable.

From “The Royston War Memorial” by Douglas Plowman.  William Edward Palmer, Corporal, 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment,  was the son of Mr. Samuel and Mrs. Louisa Palmer, 13, Rock Road, Royston. He was married to Margaret Palmer, 4, Old North Road, Royston, worked at Messrs. Smith and Sons mill next to Royston railway station and  served as a Special Constable. He enlisted in July 1940, went out to North Africa in April 1943, was wounded in Tunisia, and took part in the capture of Cassino. He died September 20th, 1944, aged 32, and  is buried in the Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy.

William Edward Palmer’s Army Service.

William’s Army Service Record is held by the Ministry of Defence, but we know from documents that are publicly available that he enlisted in the in the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire And Hertfordshire Regiment as Private 5833853 after the outbreak of World War 2. By the time of his death he had been promoted to Corporal.

War Office Casualty List No. 1160 dated 14th June 1943 reported that on the 6th May 1943 Lance Corporal 5833853 William Edward Palmer of the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire And Hertfordshire Regiment had been wounded whilst serving in North Africa.

War Office Casualty List No. 1574 dated 11th October 1944 reported that on the 20th September 1944 Lance Corporal 5833853 William Edward Palmer of the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire And Hertfordshire Regiment had been Killed in Action whilst serving in Italy.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record shows: “In Memory of Corporal William Edward Palmer 5833853, 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment who died on 20 September 1944 Age 32. Son of Samuel and Louisa Palmer, of Royston, Hertfordshire; husband of Margaret Palmer, of Royston. Remembered with Honour Coriano Ridge War Cemetery. The site for the cemetery was selected in April 1945 and was created from graves brought in from the surrounding battlefields. William was reburied there in Plot 11, Row B, Grave 10 on the 30th July 1945. The family requested the following inscription to be placed on his headstone: “Not Just One Day But Every Day In Silence We Remember Loved By All.”

Coriano Ridge War Cemetery is 3.5 kilometres west of Riccione, a seaside resort on the Adriatic coast.

On the 3rd September 1943, the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.

Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Apennine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in.

Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge in the way of the Allied advance in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather, resisted all attacks on their positions between 4th and 12th September 1944. On the night of 12th September, the Eighth Army reopened its attack on the Ridge, with the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions. This attack was successful in taking the Ridge but marked the beginning of a week of the heaviest fighting experienced since Cassino in May, with daily losses for the Eighth Army of some 150 killed.

Published in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent on Friday 20th October 1944: Information sought of 5833853 Corpl. William Edward (“Ted”) Palmer, Beds., and Herts. Regiment, killed In action In Central Mediterranean Theatre War in September 1944, by his wife. Mrs. M. Palmer, 4, Old North Road, Royston, Herts.

This page was added on 19/08/2020.

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