No. 13700, Lance Corporal, Henry PALMER
Aged 21

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Saturday, 16th June 1917

Henry Palmer was born in West Row in 1896,(Mildenhall Q1-1896 4A:796), son of William James and Ellen Mary PALMER (née MORLEY).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at Westonditch, West Row with his father William PALMER [45] farm labourer; his mother Ellen M. [45]; brothers Walter [20], Frederick [14] both farm labourers, Albert [12] and Victor [4 months]; sisters Sarah [18] and Kate [10]. There was an elder brother, Ernest [1879-]. All were born Mildenhall.

1911 census...Aged 15, a farm labourer, he was at Flax Cottage, West Row with his brother in law and sister, Ernest Human NICHOLAS [32] farm labourer and Sarah Ellen and their son Ernest William [7] and daughter Ellen Mary [6], all born in Mildenhall. His parents were still at Westonditch, all the children had left home. Brother Victor died before he was 1 year old.

The pension card puts his mother at Mayfield Cottage, Western Ditch, West Row.

He enlisted in West Row.
Lt.Col. Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment relates:-
This operation was one of intense fighting and heavy casualties but is seldom mentioned in official lists of battles. On June 14th at &;30 am the battalion launched an attack on Infantry Hill at Monchy le Preux. Within ten minuted Hook Trench had been taken and an hour later the the remainder of the trench system on the hill was captured. The enemy counter-attacked about 5 pm, the holders of Hook, Tool and Long trenches being subjected to an intense barrage. The Germans managed to reach the parapet of Hook Trench before being beaten off. In helping repel this counter attack, half of 529th Company, R.E. were lost.
When day broke they inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans as they fled from one shell hole to another. The battle between 13th and 18th June cost the battalion 250 casualties before they returned to Arras.

CWGC record 13 killed on the 14th; 4 on 15th; 15 killed on 16th; 1 on 17th and 45 on 18th, a total of 78. It is likely that daily figures would be inaccurate and the roll call on the last day would account for many missing in action.

The above photo montage appeared in the Bury Free Press on 16th June 1917, sadly on the very day Henry was killed.
The accompanying text was:-
"We have much pleasure in reproducing the photos of the five soldier sons of Mrs. W.Palmer of White House, Weston Ditch, West Row, Mildenhall and in addition that of a son in law of the lady mentioned. The group constitutes an excellent family record of service with the colours, and all concerned, not forgetting Mrs. Palmer, who must be very proud of her gallant sons, are to be heartily congratulated. The top left hand figure of the group is Lance-Corpl Hy Palmer, who is Headquarters Machine Gunner in the 2nd Suffolks, at present serving in France. Beneath him is Prvt Ernest Palmer of the 24th Batt.Royal Fusiliers, also on active service in France. The top centre figure is that of Rifleman Albert Palmer, of the 5th Rifle Brigade who is another brother now on French territory, as is also Prvt Wm Palmer of the 34th Batt.Royal Fusiliers, who appears in the centre of the photo.The remaining brother (top right hand) is Prvt Walter Palmer of the Loyal North Lancs Regiment.The sixth man is Prvt Thos Flannery of the Army Veterinary Corps".

It seems that, apart from Henry, the rest were, happily, to survive the war.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Henry Palmer is commemorated on the Arras memorial, bay 4
and on the war memorial in Mildenhall

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