Francis Reginald Palmer was the only child of Arthur and Annie Palmer. He was a keen scholar and musician – playing both piano and organ. He was organist at St Cuthbert’s Church Oborne, near Sherborne in Somerset. He also played at Sherborne Abbey.
Reg went to Foster’s School for Boys in Sherborne, and then to Bristol University where he studied Maths and Music staying with his uncle and aunt in Knowle while he was there. Reg decided to join the war effort during this time and while away in France would write letters to his old school’s magazine, the Fosterian. In the 1916 Christmas edition he described a 6:30am battalion move within France: “Try and picture a road ankle deep in mud and every few yards having to make a detour through a shell hole. All the time we are marching in imminent peril of being crushed by motor lorries or mules”. He also described shaving with cold water, no rations, guides who lost their way, soaking trenches and great delight at drinking bottles of water found in a shell-hole.
The Easter 1917 magazine announced that Lt. Palmer had fallen while leading his men at the Battle of Arras. His final letter was received after his death. His Lieutenant Colonel wrote of him: “He was a very gallant officer… he had just reached his objective when he was struck on the head by a machine gun bullet, death being instantaneous… I cannot praise his work too highly and we all feel we have lost a cheerful comrade and true friend”. Reg was buried at Feuchy Chapel British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais Département of France.