Mercantile Marine SS Argus
Presumed to have died at sea as a result of enemy action on Sunday 21 October 1917 (aged 59)
No known grave
Trinity Presbyterian Church Bangor
Family grave headstone in the Copeland Island Cemetery
The name James Palmer is listed on the War Memorial Plaque in Trinity Presbyterian Church Bangor and in the 7 December 1917 edition of the County Down Spectator under the headline More Bangor Casualties there was a reference to his death, ‘Then there is James Palmer, 17 Holborn Avenue who has lost his life by his ship being torpedoed’.
James Palmer and Grace Clegg were married on 1 November 1884 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards. James Palmer, a full-age bachelor from Ballyeasborough, Portavogie was a fisherman and a son of David Palmer, a farmer. Grace Clegg, a full-age spinster from Copeland Island was a daughter of Richard Clegg, a farmer.
James and Grace Clegg lived on Copeland Island and their daughter Mary Jane was born there on 22 August 1885. Their son Robert James was born there on 12 April 1888.
The Palmer family moved to Union Street in Bangor and their daughter Essie Grace was born there on 4 July 1892. These three children were all baptised in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee.
James and Grace Palmer’s daughter, Mary Jane, died of meningitis on 23 September 1896 (aged 11) in Holborn Street, Bangor and on 2 September 1897 James and Grace Palmer had another daughter. She was born in Holborn Street, Bangor and they named her Mary Jane after her sister who died the previous year. Mary Jane was baptised in Trinity Presbyterian Church Bangor and on 16 July 1898 she too died of meningitis (aged 10 months).
In 1911 the Palmer family was living in Holburn Avenue, Bangor. James Palmer (aged 53) was a sailor, his son Robert James was a plasterer and his daughter Essie Grace was a grocery clerk.
James Palmer (born in 1858) was drowned at sea on 21 October 1917 and he is commemorated on the family grave headstone in the Copeland Island Cemetery:
Erected by James Palmer of Bangor in loving memory of his daughter Mary Jane Palmer who died 23 September 1896 aged 11 years.
Also his daughter Mary Jane Palmer who died in infancy 16 July 1898 and was interred at Copeland Island.
Also the above named James Palmer, beloved husband of Grace Palmer, drowned 21 October 1917 on British Transport of Norway.
Also his beloved wife Grace Palmer who died 5 March 1928 aged 71 years.
James Palmer was serving on board the SS Argus, a British cargo ship built in 1883 by the Barrow Shipbuilding Company Ltd. On 20 October 1917, this ship left Lerwick in the Shetland Islands bound for Tromso in Norway with a cargo of coal and coke on board. The vessel was never heard from again and was posted missing, ‘presumed sunk as a result of enemy action’. In some official records it is suggested that the SS Argus sank after a collision at sea.
The body of the Captain, 56-year-old Henry Arthur Cooper from 73 Windsor Road, Penarth, Cardiff was found and buried in Fredrikstad Military Cemetery, Norway (Grave I.A.8). There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
SADLY MISSED BY WIFE AND CHILDREN
Seaman James Palmer’s body was not found and is not commemorated by the CWGC. He is commemorated in Trinity Presbyterian Church Bangor.