Frank was born in Oxford and married at St Frideswide’s. While he was away fighting he would have heard of the birth of his son, Frank, but he did not live to see him.
Son of a college gardener
Frank Palmer was born 1887 in Hinksey, Oxford. His father was a college gardener. In 1901 he was living in Oxford, aged 13, and by the 1911 census he was living separately from his family.
In 1915 Frank lived at New Hinksey and worked as a bank messenger. In June he enlisted in Holborn, London, joining the 15th Service Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as a Private: his service record describes him as 5ft 5ins tall with a fresh complexion. In September he managed to get leave and married Ellen Barson at St Frideswide’s, Oxford.
Fought at the Somme
Frank’s battalion landed in France in December 1915. In July 1916 they were at the Battle of Albert, an early phase of the Battle of the Somme, in a division tasked with assaulting and clearing Mametz Wood. The unit suffered severe casualties and did not return to major action until over a year later.
Died of wounds
By October 1916 Ellen had given birth to a son, Frank Palmer, but it is unlikely that Frank senior ever saw him: it is recorded that he died of wounds on 14 October 1916, aged 28. This suggests he survived the Battle of Albert and was injured in enemy action while the unit was in retirement. He is buried at the Mendinghem Military Cemetery. Ellen appears to have remarried and moved to Neath, Glamorgan.