- Albert Roy "Bert" Palmer was born in
Havant in 1922. He later lived in
Portsmouth. When war broke out he was on an apprenticeship at a
builders. Palmer joined the Army in 1941 and served with the Hampshire
Regiment. He then volunteered for the Parachute Regiment and served with No 9 Section of C Troop.
He saw action in Africa and Italy (Monte Cassino) before he took part in
Operation Market Garden.
- On 17 september 1944 Palmer landed near Wolfheze. He and Sergeant David Christie were the only
two men of No 9 Section who were not wounded or killed at the ambush
near the Wolfheze culvert. On the 19th September he was involved in a
reconnaissance task with the rest of C Troop. The patrol set out for
Wolfheze and wanted to go towards the Amsterdamseweg. Near Reijersheide
the patrol came under a sustained mortar barrage and they withdrew back
to Wolfheze. It was decide the patrol would try to reach the
Amsterdamseweg further west and after some 90 minutes they reached a
spot near Planken Wambuis from where they could overlook the
Amsterdamseweg. Initially all seemed very quiet, but gradually they
detected a large enemy build-up that included armour and their route
back to the south had been cut off. The men decided to dash down the
Amsterdamseweg back towards Wolfheze. The convoy of 6 or 7 jeeps set off
at about 60 miles an hour, but soon ran into a German ambush. Palmer was
in jeep no. 4 with Sergeant Christie, Trooper McSkimmings, Trooper
McCarthy and Trooper Cooke. He was firing with the Vickers 'K' gun while
Sergeant Christie was behind the wheel. They managed to get out of the
ambush and made it to Wolfheze. Somewhere at the crossing between
Amsterdamseweg and Wolfhezerweg Trooper McSkimmings fell out of the
jeep. Christie stopped, but Trooper Cooke made clear McSkimmings was
already dead before falling off. After this ambush what was left of C
Troop remained with HQ Troop for the rest of the battle.
- Lance Corporal Palmer was one of the men who
was evacuated from the perimeter during the night of 25/26 september
1944. After his return he spoke to his local paper in Portsmouth: "After
about eight or nine days, we got orders to pull out. Twlce of us started
to try to get across the river but were attacked by a machine-gun post
in a wood and lost eight of our party. When we got down to the
riverside, the mortar fire was heavy and several boats were rendered
useless but, after hours, we managed to get across. We received a hearty
welcome from Canadian engineers when we reached the other side. General
Browning made a little speech in which he complimented us on the stand
we had made."
- After the war Palmer stayed on for a time in
the Army and briefly went to Norway, where he helped the efforts of the
Allies seeking out former German officers who had gone into hiding.
Shortly after the war Palmer married Hilda Marshall. They had two sons,
Michael and Tony.
- Palmer left the Army after Norway and joined
the fire service in Derby. For almost 30 years he was based at
Nottingham Road fire station, in Chaddesden. He lived there until he
moved to Mackworth in 2015.
- Albert Roy Palmer passed away on 10 december
2016, age 94. At his funeral at Markeaton Crematorium on 29
december, his coffin was carried by members of te C Troop Reenactment