PALMER, Ernest Cecil

No.C/JX143621, Able Seaman, Ernest Cecil PALMER
Aged 20

H.M.S. Duchess, Royal Navy
Killed on Active Service on 12th December 1939

Ernest Ceceil Palmer was born in September 1919 ( 4th qtr 1919 Bury St.Edmunds 4a:1835) son of Cecil Hugh and Annie Esther PALMER (née HOOK)

In the 1921 census he was 1 year 8 months old and was at 127 Eastgate Street, Bury St.Edmunds with his mother Annie Esther [25] born Suffolk and his brother George Bertram [under 1 yr]. The record shows his farther as living, but not at home.

His Ixworth connection has not been found

H.M.S. Duches was a class D destroyer, commissioned in 1933 (H64), she was in the Far East at the outbreak of war and was moved to join the Mediterranean fleet. In December, with her sister ships, HMS Delight, HMS Duncan and HMS Dainty, she escorted the battleship HMS Barham back to UK. Arriving in Home waters, in the North Channel, she was 9 nm off the Mull of Kintyre on 12th December 1939 when in the process of zig zagging, the battleship collided with her at 04:37, almost cutting her in half. As she capsized, at 04:50 her ready use depth charges exploded. HMS Barham briefly stopped but then carried on to the Clyde escorted by 'Duncan' and 'Exmouth'.
'Eclipse' and 'Echo' remained behind to search for survivors. 134 of her crew were killed, just 23 survivors were picked up.

photo CWGC

Ernest Palmer is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial 33:2

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