Private 50387, 11th Bn, Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Reg.
Died 10th August 1917, aged 30
Remembered at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
& on both Blakeney War Memorials
Thomas was baptised in Blakeney Church 21st August 1887 and according to Blakeney School Admissions Register, was born 20th March 1887. He was the son of George Francis and Susannah Palmer, formerly Cushing, who were both born in Blakeney. They had seven children, Mary Ann Louise, Esther Ellen, George William, Thomas Herbert, Emily, Charles Anthony and Robert John. The family home was at Temple Place, along the Morston Road.
Whereas Thomas was a casualty of the war, his brother Charles was a surviving serviceman. George, the eldest son, emigrated to Canada in April 1912, arriving at St. John, New Brunswick on the Lake Erie.
Thomas married Ethel Mary Thompson, the daughter of Edward and Mary Ann Thompson formerly Otway in 1910. By 1911 they were living in the High Street, Blakeney and Thomas was listed as a ‘gardener labourer’. He was one of the few married men with children when he signed up in Norwich; his children being Olive May P. Thompson, Ada F. Palmer, George W. Palmer, Ethel D. Palmer and Albert T. Palmer, all born between 1908 and 1917.
There are no surviving Service Records for Thomas. What we do know is that after the failure of the French offensive on the Aisne, General Haig favoured a plan that would gain control of the Belgian coast. Consequently he launched the 3rd Battle of Ypres on 31st July 1917 across the Field of Flanders. After a bad start there was a renewed attack on August 10th against the deeply entrenched German Army on the Gheluvelt plateau. This was also the day that the 11th Fusiliers, who had been holding the line of the 54th brigade, were due to be relieved by the 8th Norfolks. However the late arrival of the 8th Norfolks, plus a combination of heavy rain and a successful German counter barrage, resulted in heavy losses including the death of Thomas on the 10th and Clement Mitchell, of the 8th Norfolks, the following morning.