Picture courtesy of DNW
E& W Africa (1) Benin 1897 (E. C. Palmer, Pte., H.M.S. St. George.);
QSA (0) (E. C. Palmer, Pte. R.M.L.I. H.M.S. Powerful.)
Ernest Charles Palmer was born in Wilsford, near Salisbury, Wiltshire on 27 April 1871, and joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry at Salisbury on 27 May 1890. Posted to the Portsmouth Division, he served in H.M. Ships Warspite, Liffey, and Royal Arthur between April 1892 and September 1896. He next embarked in H.M.S. St. George on 24 January 1897, and took part in the Benin campaign of that year, being wounded in action outside Benin City on 18 February 1897:
‘At daybreak on the 18th the Column started off to attack the city which was now close at hand Though fired at continually from the bush there were but few casualties and no serious opposition was encountered until a wide open road leading directly to the city was reached. The bush on either side was very thick, and all along the road the enemy had collected in great numbers. Several guns opened fire on the British loaded with all manner of scrap iron but were fired at too high an elevation to occasion much damage. The fire at this point was very hot and two gunners of the Royal Marine Artillery were killed, and Captain Byrne, Privates Varndell and Samuels, Royal Marine Light Infantry, fell dangerously wounded. Privates Hooper and Palmer, though badly hurt, after being bound with a field dressing continued to advance with the firing line.’
Palmer transferred to the Hospital Ship S.S. Malacca, whilst still borne on St. George’s books, on 3 March 1897, and arrived back in Portsmouth on 19 March. He next embarked in H.M.S. Powerful on 8 June 1897, and served in her from the outset of the Boer War in South Africa. Returning to Portsmouth on 9 June 1900, he was discharged on 29 May 1902 after 12 years and 3 days’ service.