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1914 New York City Broadway
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To see more on the S.S Melita
Drawing room,Lounge,Saloon,Smoke room
Card room,Nursery,Promenade,and a Cabin,
E-mail Edward Palmer
Main St in Gibraltar
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Edward Sidney Palmer
Was Born in Weymouth District. Weymouth Sub-district. Registered on
10 March 1904 at entry no 391 of Register book no 54.
Married on 23rd May 1928 at the Register Office, in the District of
Weymouth in the County of Dorset. Entry no 42. Age 24 (B). Address at
time of marriage 20 Hope Street, Weymouth.
I was Born 1904 February 5 at Weymouth, Dorset. Went to Holy Trinity
School. Left at 14 years. Started work at the age of 12 years as
Errand boy at Liptons shop after school hours. Shops left open
till 11pm in those days so they had their hours out of us. 2s 6d
At 14 years of age went to sea as a Deck boy on the SS Lynx,
Great Western Railway ship out of Weymouth to Channel Islands,
and did I work! Stayed in the cross Channel ships Ibex, Reindeer,
Pembroke, Roebuck all in their turn until I rated and Ordinary AB
Seaman, age now 18 years.
On the 24th October 1922 joined the Royal Mail Lines Orbita
sailing out of Southampton from Hamburg to New York calling at
Cherbourg, taking 10 days to get to New York, 10 days in New York
and 10 days in Hamburg, in those days carrying a lot of
June 2nd 1923 rated AB Seaman Board of Trade.
December 1923 went Quartermaster working on ships bridge to learn
navigation. In between the New York runs we done 3 cruising
trips in the Mediterranean. On April 7th 1924 I paid off at
On May 1st 1924 joined the Canadian Pacific SS Melita on the run
from Antwerp to Montreal, Canada, up the St Lawrence River, via
Quebec through the Straights of Belle Isle until November when St
Lawrence River froze in. Then to St Johns, New Foundland. Next
trip St Johns, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. December 7 1924 paid
off in Glasgow, ship in refit.
On January 10th 1925 joined RMS Ohio for cruising from New York
to Leeway Islands, Bermudas, Madeira, Canary Isle, then all the
mediterranean ports. Paid off this hip Ohio work house, and
signed back on the Melia, now ready for seat. That was May 7th
Back on the Canadian run until 30th July 1925, paid off.
1st September 1925 signed on the HMT Derbyshire, Quartermaster,
trooping, where there was any British troops in the Empire
overseas we were there to shift or change them over. Last outpost
being Chingwagt up in the Yellow Sea of North China, Gulf of
Pohat for changing Jekin & Tinsen troops. That lasted from
September 1st 1925 to April 10 1926. Paid off in Southampton,
trooping peason finished.
2nd June joined SS Andes as Quartermaster on the Brazil & River
Plate, South America run. Paid off 25th July 1926.
Signed on SS Minnidso, sister ship to SS Melita. Stayed in her
until 23 December 1926. Paid off.
January 28th 1927 signed on Kinfauns Castle leaving Southampton
with troops, the Cold Stream Guards, for the Far East. At that
time the Communists were pushing Chonk J Shack back towards the
Sea and the guards with other troops sailing with us in a sister
ship of the same class as Kintauns were being sent to Shanghi to
keep an eye on our people out there. I m afraid I picked the
wrong ship, she was trouble all the way as far as health was
concerned. She has been laid down the river in Southampton for 5
years so her fresh water tanks wasn't too good and she had been
got ready for this trip in a rush. Anyhow we delivered the
troops at Shanghi and turned around for home. Everybody as
beginning to feel off colour. Chaps were going sick, and it
caught up with me. When we arrived at the Suez Canal I was
feeling rough. Before we arrived at Gibraltar I was in the sick
bay. On arrival Southampton 15 April 1927, I was taken to Mill
Bay Isolation Hospital with Interict ever, which kept me there,
touch and go, for three months. I came out of hospital in July
came back home to Weymouth to recuperate, it was then that I met
your Grandmother, after a little more excitement such as diving
into Weymouth Harbour to save a young boy. 2 weeks in bed with
Shingles. Its now the beginning of November, its time to go back
to work. I went back up to Southampton to look for a ship. On
November 12th 1927 signed on the Empress of Australia, and sailed
the same day on a world cruise.
We called at New York, first, then Boston, back to Philadelphia
down to the Bahama Islands, then to Madeira, up to Gibraltar into
the Mediterranean, calling at different ports all the way
through till we reached Port Said, Egypt. Through the Suez Canal
into the Red Sea, calling at other Ports Aden, into the Arabian
Sear, Karachi, Bombay, down into the Indian Ocean to Colombo,
onto the Malay Straits to Singapore, on into the South China Sea,
up to Manila in the Philippines then on to Japan Sea calling
Tokyo, Kobe, Yokahama, then back to Sumatra, Borneo, Java,
across the Pacific Ocean to Honolulu. That the place, Wekike
Beach, from there to San Francisco down through the Panamanian
Canal, up to New York, disembarked all of the passengers on
shore, and sailed for Southampton. Arriving on an paying off, on
April 22nd 1928. Six months voyage.
Came back home to Weymouth. Now aged 24 yrs, decided to marry
your Grandmother, which took place on the 23rd May 1928, the
best days work I ever did, you never heard your Gran grumble, she
always takes everything as it comes, and we had our hard times
when we first got married. Work was very hard to come by back in
those days. 24/- a week to live on, 1/- for each child.if I could
have gone back to sea deep water, that was only £9 per month, and
I now wanted a job, here out of Weymouth on the Cross Channel
ships, running to the Channel Islands.
After a lot of returning and messing around, I was taking on
permanently. I signed on those ships until 1934, I then bought
myself a fishing boat to work for myself, making all my own
trawl nets in the winter time when the weather was to bad to put
to sea. I also joined the Weymouth Lifeboat and I was with them
right up to the 2nd World War. It was hard work mostly night
time trawling and not a lot of money for it, but we got by with a
struggle. Well in November 1939 the 2nd Engineer of the Lifeboat
told me there was a coxswain job going in the Naval
Harbourmasters launch at Portland. Things were bad with the
fishing at this time of the year. Well I apply for the job. After
proving I was capable I got the job as Coxswain. Pay £2 14s per
week. My job was to run liberty men to and from the ships in the
harbour and outside in the Wey Bay back into the Dockyard, in
between there was three launches to do shift work for patrol work
in the harbour. It was a weeks wages coming in an at the time
that was what mattered. All fishing was stopped because of the
was closing in on us. Come June 4th the evacuation of Dunkirk,
all harbours were closed, all fishing boats and small craft had
to be taken out of the water and engines dismantled with the
threat of enemy invasion. I was told to stay where I was by the
Kings Harbour master at Naval Base Portland, an thats how I
came to work in the Naval Dockyard for the next 24 years.
Well things were beginning to happen, fast motor boats coming and
going Navel ships moving at all hours of the night. Ships being
sunk out in the Channel, warnings of enemy planes and so on at
the Eastern End of the Harbour in line with the Southern entrance
they had moored a large ship. She had once been a grain carrier
and turned her into a guard ship with anti aircraft guns. Her
name Foyle Bank.
She used to fly a yellow flag when enemy planes were reported, a
red flag when planes were approaching Portland. She also was the
quarters of the Reserve Naval ratings. Well on June 4th I was
proceeding down the inside harbour at about 08.30 in the morning,
a lovely day, a normal day. I noticed the guard ship was
flying the yellow flag, but did not take much notice, for she had
been flying that on a number of days lately. When out of the sum
they came, enemy dive bombers. Diving straight down onto the
guard ship, machine gunning and bombing. Hell let loose, about 20
planes, they appeared to have caught us napping. I immediately
told my crew that we were going in to pick up the hands and
ratings who were jumping and being blown into the water alongside
of her. There was a barge with work people alongside of Foyle
Bank, a bomb dropped alongside the barge turning it upside down.
We got in alongside started to pick up the survivors and dive
bombers kept coming machine gunning and bombing, lifting the
launch almost out of the water. Well we loaded the hands on
board until we could not carry any more and made for the nearest
jetty. Some of the poor fellows were in a sad mess. We landed as
quickly as we could and went back for more. By this time the
enemy dive bombers had done what they had come to do, the Foyle
Bank was on fire and sinking. She went down later in the day. The
Lord looked after us that day.
Well things were happening from that day on, more bombing in
Portland and Weymouth. We lived at Chapelhay back in those days,
and we got a bashing. Ask your father he was there. Well on the
28th April 1941 I received a letter from Admiralty, Whitehall
I am commanded by My Lords Commissions of the Admiralty to
inform you that they have learning with great satisfaction that
on their recommendation the Prime Minister has obtained the Kings
approval for the award to you of the Medal of the Order of the
British Empire, Civil Division, for meritorious service in H M
Dockyard, Portland, during enemy air attacks.
Well on March 24 1942 I took you Grandmother to Buckingham
Palace where she watched in the Music Room, to see myself and
others that day, shake hands and receive the medal from King
George VI. It made us both feel proud that day.
Lots of things happened.. Portland played a lot in the landings in
France on D Day. I could write a book about that alone.
But jumping to 1945 I decided to remain in this job. I passed my
examinations to become a Master I/C, and had a small tug and also
went in for Pilotage. In 1946 I passed my examinations for Master
of tugs and Pilotage. I had a salvage and mooring vessel for two
years. Then tug security for 5 years. Tug pilot the biggest tug
at Portland for 7 years. I was senior Tug Master and Pilot at
Portland when I took over the tug pilot. I must have piloted and
shifted hundreds of ships in my time in the Naval Dockyard. My
last ship was the ocean going Tug Restive. I had her for 3 years
used for towing vessels up the coast and target towing out in the
English Channel for Naval Gunnery practice. I retired in 1964. I
P.S. There is a lot I have not spoken of, such as ships being
salvaged and running ashore to be towed off. A hundred and one
things but thats other stores! By the way I never did remember
seeing the red flag.
EMPIRE MEDAL FOR WEYMOUTH MAN
MERITORIOUS SERVICE WHEN NAZI BOMBERS SWOOPED ON A SHIP
'I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to inform
you that they have learned with great satisfaction that on their
recommendation the Prime Minister obtained the King's approval for the
award to you of the medal of the Order of the British Empire, Civil
Division, for meritorious service during enemy air raids."
The recipient of this award is Coxs'n Ted Palmer of 20, St Leonard's
Road, Weymouth. The first he heard about it was when Captain A. F. Masters
the former Southern Seas Fisheries Officer) told him that his name
Mr.Palmer is among the heroes of the Battle of Britain last summer.
It was the day a year ago today that a swarm of Nazi dive bombers
swooped down on a ship in Portland Harbour and when a posthumous V.C. went
to Jack Mantle, a Southampton boy, the gallant rear gunner who
gun on the raiders right to the last and died fighting.
On that day Ted Palmer was the coxs'n of a launch which picked up
survivors and landed many of the injured.
But the coxs'n is modest about his part in the rescue work.
"I don't want to make a song about it myself," he said to
reporter. "I would rather you mentioned the crew as well.
After all, they
did just as much as I did." So here are Mr.Palmer's
A. V. Bailey (engineer), S. R. Felmingham (A.B.), J. Saunders (A.B.),
"Another boat got a packet as well," said Mr. Palmer,
"and we picked
up all her crowd and loaded some of the injured. When the Jerries dive-
bombed and machine gunned the first ship they practically came down on
Top of her, just above her masts. We picked up her casualties as
saw the whole thing from start to finish. It only lasted a few minutes,
but it seemed hours. The 'stuff' was falling all round us, and the
detonations practically lifted us out of the water. But we were
marvellously lucky ourselves because we were not touched. I saw the man
firing the after gun. He was killed at his post."
Coxs'n Ted Palmer is an old Holy Trinity Schoolboy and he joined the
Merchant Service when he was 14. He served in cross channel steamers and
has been on a great many deep sea cruises.
"My last round the world cruise," he said, "was in the
Australia."He was serving for 20 years and had turned to fishing
broke out. He went back to the Merchant Navy and was soon afterwards
appointed coxs'n of a launch.
Mr. Palmer's named appeared in the "Echo" in July, 1927, as
of a child who had fallen into the harbour.He had only just come out of
hospital when he dived in after the youngster
Mr Palmer Born 5 Feb 1904 and
Died 4 Jan 1980
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The H.M.S Foyle bank
BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL