PALFREY, William

No.2708, Private, William PALFREY
Aged 28

54th Battalion, Australian Infantry
Killed in Action on Monday, 24th September 1917

William Palfrey was born in 1888 in Little Livermere ( Thingoe Q1-1888 4A:714), son of Ellen PALFREY.

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at 88 Heath Barn, Little Livermere with his grandfather George PALFREY [62] farm labourer born Little Livermere; his grandmother Frances [56] born Barnham; uncle Edward PALFREY [18] farm labourer, born Little Livermere; his mother Ellen PALFREY [22] born Little Livermere and sister? Eliza [1] born Bury St Edmunds.

His mother married William DAVEY (Thetford Q1-1897 4B:539)

1901 census...Aged 13, a farm labourer, he was at Heath,Little Livermere with his grandparents George and Frances PALFREY.His mother, now Ellen DAVEY was at 50 Bury Road, Thetford with her husband William DAVEY [42] teamster, born Barnham; her daughter Elizth [11](recorded now as DAVEY), their daughter Eva [3] born Livermere and un-named son (under 1 month) born Thetford.

1911 census...Aged 23, a maltster's labourer, he was boarding at 604 Wetmoor Road, Burton on Trent with William and Lilian TITSHALL.

Most likely he was the William PALFREY, born 1888, a farmer who sailed from London on the SS "Commonwealth" on 26th September 1912, bound for Sydney, New South Wales.

He enlisted in Bathurst on 10th June 1916, when residing at the Occidental Hotel, Bathurst. A cook, he gave his age as 28 years 6 months, born Barnham, England, mother Ellen DAVEY. He was 5 feet 11 inches (180.3 cm)tall, weighed 144 lbs (65.5 kg), chest 34" to 37" (86.4 to 94 cm), blue eyed, light brown hair, Church of England.
During training he was with "A" Company 54th Battalion. On 17th October 1916 he sailed from Sydney, arriving in Plymouth on 21st November. He seems to have been taken ill on the voyage as he was immediately taken to Devonport Military Hospital and then on 28th to 3 Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford diagnosed with an epyerma.
Discharged to Pernham Downs Camp on 23rh January 1917, he then went to Dinton on 24th and Hurdcott on 25th. On 28th February he left Folkestone to join the BEF in France. From depot at Etaples on 1st March he was sent to join his unit and was taken on strength of 54th battalion on 23rd March.
He was killed in action in the Ypres salient on 24th September 1917. At this time his mother was living at Water Lane, Barnham.

Only three of his battalion died that day, it seems to have been the lull between the Menin Road and Polygon Wood battles for them

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Palfrey is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres, addenda panel 58

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details