WO 2 (CSM) Samuel Oliver Alec Palmer (Soapy), Athlete and Chindit

Sam Palmer (right), is this him as Chindit with Lancashire Fusiliers June 1944?

Samuel Oliver Alec Palmer
Warrant Officer Class II C.S.M., 6007427

1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
who died on 18 June 1944 Age 34

Remembered with Honour
Taukkyan War Cemetery

Sam was born on 22nd. January 1910, his Father was Charles Palmer, his Mother Lily Palmer (nee Riseborough), at 9 Queens Park Road, Harold Wood, Romford, Essex.

Lily Palmer, in 1950’s before her death in 1957

Charles and Lily had 10 Children including Sam:

Charles Robert (Bob) Palmer 1901–1971

Thomas Sidney Palmer 1903–1976

Albert Edward (Bert) Palmer 1905–1984

Elsie Annetta Palmer 1907–1988

Lily Violet Palmer 1908–1984

Edward (Ted) Palmer 1910–

William James Palmer 1911–1975

Minnie Elizabeth Palmer Wren 1914–1971

Dorothy Rose Palmer 1917–1983

In the 1911 census he and his Family lived in Canewdon Hall Cottages, Canewdon, Nr Rochford, Essex.

He joined the Essex Regiment on 31st. January 1928 and served with

1st. Battalion until 1934 when he transferred to the reserve.

He is recorded on his Attestation Papers as being 5 foot, 3 and quarter inches tall and weighing 122 pounds.

In 1929 his Regiment was posted to 



He met Kitty Clark, who lived in Tenby, whilst his Regiment was there and they were married on 14 June 1933, at Pembroke Dock Registrar Office, their Daughter Peggy was born 10 days earlier. They had 4 children:

Margaret (Peggy) Kathleen Palmer (1933 – 1999)

Colin Charles Palmer (1935 – 2001), my Father

Roy (Sam) Lionel Palmer (1936 – 1979)

Robin Elderton Palmer (1941 – 2000)

Kathleen Barbara Clark (Kitty), had 3 brothers and one sister, she was to lose 2 of her brothers, her Brother-in-Law and her husband during WW2, 3 in 1940 alone!

Sam Palmer with Colin, Peggy and Roy, 1942,
possibly on embarkation leave
Kitty, top right, with her Mother, her Brothers and her Sister.

It is understood that Sam worked, briefly, in Wales after he left the Army and then moved to London in 1935 where he worked as an attendant in Tooting Bec Asylum. He is listed as living at 43 Dafforne Road, Wandsworth.

In 1939 he is listed as living at 6 Stoneleigh Road, Carshalton, Surrey, from there on the 2nd. November he was mobilized back to his Regiment.  At some point in 1940 his family was evacuated to live with Kitty’s parents in Laston House, Tenby.

Whilst living in London he joined Mitchum Athletics Club, see this page: Sam (Soapy) Palmer, Mitchum Athletics, The Glory Years.

In 1939 Sam was re-called to the Colours:

Regimental Service

1st. Bn. Essex Regiment:

12/2/1928: Pte.

12/11/1934: Transferred to Reserve.

2/11/1939: Mobilized

Infantry Training Centre:

4/12/1939: Posted to Inf Base depot Pte.

4/1/1940: ITC, Posted to A/Director of Housing, Le Mans, BEF, Pte

21/5/1940: ITC, Posted from BEF

2nd. Bn. Essex Regiment:

16/6/1940: Re-joined at Keele, Pte.

22/6/1940: Appointed Unpaid L/Cpl

2/7/1940: Appointed Paid L/Cpl

5/7/1940: Appointed Unpaid Acting Cpl 

8/8/1940: Appointed Unpaid Acting Sgt

5/7/1940: Appointed Paid Cpl

8/8/1940: Appointed Paid Acting Sgt

5/10/1940: Granted Substantive (War) Cpl

4/2/1941: Promoted Substantive (War) Sgt

27/6/1941: Attended 47th. Div School, Chelwood Gate Youth Hostel, Sussex

4/12/1941: Attached 11th. Bn. Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), Sgt 

27/7/1942: Embarked for India, C/Sgt, CQMS

20/9/1942: Disembarked India: C/Sgt, CQMS

6/10/1942: GHQ Base Reinforcements Camp, Deolali, India

1st. Bn. The Cameronians (The Scottish Rifles)

26/7/1943: India / Burma, Compulsorily Transferred from Essex Regt., CSM, WO2

1st. Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers

29/12/1943: Burma, transferred to as WO2 (CSM)

5/3/1944: Operation Thursday (2nd. Chindit Expedition) begins. 1st. Bn LF land at Broadway in gliders, as part of 77th. Brigade

1/6/1944: 77 Bde starts the battle of Mogaung, LF suffers many casualties.

18/6/1944: 16 men of what was left of LF are killed in battle including WOII, CSM, Palmer

18/6/1944: KIA – Burma, 2nd. Chindit Expedition.

He is buried at the Sahmaw Mill Cemetery (this was also where there was a Casualty Clearing Station).

He was exhumed and moved to Taukkyan War Cemetery on 5/7/1954.

TAUKKYAN WAR CEMETERY is the largest of the three war cemeteries in Burma (now Myanmar). It was begun in 1951 for the reception of graves from four battlefield cemeteries at Akyab, Mandalay, Meiktila and Sahmaw which were difficult to access and could not be maintained. The last was an original ‘Chindit’ cemetery containing many of those who died in the battle for Myitkyina. The graves have been grouped together at Taukkyan to preserve the individuality of these battlefield cemeteries Burials were also transferred from civil and cantonment cemeteries, and from a number of isolated jungle and roadside sites. Because of prolonged post-war unrest, considerable delay occurred before the Army Graves Service were able to complete their work, and in the meantime many such graves had disappeared. However, when the task was resumed, several hundred more graves were retrieved from scattered positions throughout the country and brought together here. The cemetery now contains 6,374 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 867 of them unidentified. In the 1950s, the graves of 52 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War were brought into the cemetery from the following cemeteries where permanent maintenance was not possible: Henzada (1); Meiktila Cantonment (8); Thayetmyo New (5); Thamakan (4); Mandalay Military (12) and Maymyo Cantonment (22). Taukkyan War Cemetery also contains: The RANGOON MEMORIAL, which bears the names of almost 27,000 men of the Commonwealth land forces who died during the campaigns in Burma and who have no known grave. The TAUKKYAN CREMATION MEMORIAL commemorating more than 1,000 Second World War casualties whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith. The TAUKKYAN MEMORIAL which commemorates 46 servicemen of both wars who died and were buried elsewhere in Burma but whose graves could not be maintained.