Palmer, Alexander Pollock (Alex)
No. 3/8836, 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of wounds on Sunday 2 July 1916 (aged 19)
Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Grave I. B. 16)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards
Alexander Pollock Palmer was born on 13 August 1896 in the townland of Ballyhay and he was the eldest son of William and Martha Palmer (nee Pollock) who were married on 20 March 1896 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards (it was a double ceremony because Martha’s brother, William John Pollock, and Mary Strain were married on the same day). William Palmer, a widower and a farmer from Ballywhiskin, was a son of John Palmer, a farmer. Martha Pollock from Ballyhay was a daughter of Alexander Pollock, a farmer.
William Palmer had previously been married to Maggie Barr from Ballyboley. Maggie was a daughter of Nathaniel Barr, a labourer and she and William were married on 26 August 1892 in Greyabbey Presbyterian Church. Their son, William John Palmer, was born on 29 June 1893 and Maggie died of puerperal fever three days later on 2 July 1893 (aged 30).
William Palmer was a farmer and general labourer and he and Martha (nee Pollock) had at least seven children:
Alexander Pollock (born 13 August 1896 in Ballyhay)
Adam Keag (born 20 April 1901 in Ballywhiskin)
Isabella (born 21 January 1903 in Ballywhiskin)
Robert James (born 24 February 1905 in Ballygarvin)
Samuel (born 4 March 1907 in Ballywhiskin)
George Dalzell (born 22 November 1908 in South Street, Newtownards)
David (born 2 May 1911 at 18 Kimberley Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards; died of acute laryngitis 6 January 1914 in Kimberley Buildings)
Alexander, Adam, Isabella and Samuel were baptised in Ballyfrenis Presbyterian Church (when William farmed in the townland of Ballywhiskin); Robert James was baptised in Kircubbin Presbyterian Church (the Palmer family was related to the Keag family who lived at Rubane); George and David were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards (after the Palmer family moved to Newtownards).
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Alexander Palmer worked as a packer.
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that he enlisted in Clydebank. He served with the 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and he died of wounds on 2 July 1916. Rifleman Samuel Montgomery wrote a letter of sympathy to Alex Palmer’s mother and in it he wrote ‘After being wounded he was taken to hospital. He was up in the trenches with a few more of his chums on a working party two days before the advance came off and that is where he got wounded.’ His parents also received a letter from the Rev Hugh F. Kirker who lived in Ballyfrenis Manse, Donaghadee. He wrote ‘I have felt it more than anything since I heard it. I baptised him; soon it will be 20 years ago. It’s hard on you both but you have reason to be proud of such a son.’
Rifleman Alex Palmer was 19 when he died and he was buried in Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension in France.
Rifleman Alex Palmer is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the PCI Roll of Honour for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.