Newtownards and District War Memorial
The name Robert Palmer is listed on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934 he is described as a Private in the Colonials. The organising committee of the day decided to include the names of ex-servicemen who died up to that date from what they considered to be war related causes, whether as a result of wounds or disease.
Whilst there is circumstantial evidence, desk searches and public appeals to date have not definitively confirmed a connection between the data below and the soldier who is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.
To be confirmed:
Robert Palmer was born on 12 January 1896 in the townland of Ballyeasborough, Ballyhalbert and he was a son of Robert and Agnes (Nancy) Palmer (nee Coffey) who were married on 4 October 1878 in Glastry Presbyterian Church. They had at least six children, all of whom were baptised in Glastry Presbyterian Church:
Elizabeth (born 14 November 1878)
Sarah (born 3 March 1880)
Mary Jane (born 22 June 1882)
Adam (born 19 October 1886)
William (born 3 March 1889)
Robert (born 12 January 1896 in Ballyeasborough)
In September 1913 (aged 17) Robert Palmer sailed from Avonmouth to Quebec in Canada.
Robert Palmer lived in Langham, Saskatchewan and he worked as a banker with the Canadian Bank of Commerce before he enlisted on 2 March 1916 at Winnipeg. It was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 10 inches tall with a dark complexion, hazel eyes and black hair and he was allocated Service Number 871339.
In the 1916 Canadian census, Robert Palmer was a soldier in Winnipeg.
He arrived in England on 13 October 1916, went to France on 17 March 1918 and was discharged on 8 May 1919. He returned to duty with the Bank on 21 May 1919.
In the 1921 Canadian census, Robert Palmer was a bachelor and a clerk living in Battleford, Saskatchewan.
Robert Palmer and Mona Laura Tate were married on 21 April 1924 in Bladworth, Saskatchewan.
In 1926 Robert and Mona Palmer were living in Manitou, Maitoba with their two-year-old nephew, Robert Tate Whinnery Palmer who was born on 18 July 1923 in Hennepin, Minnesota, USA and was a son of Mona’s sister, Grace Hyacinthe Tate, who died on 23 March 1926. Grace’s husband was Gathel Jason Whinnery and family sources confirm that he gave his son to Robert and Mona Palmer for adoption. Robert Tate Whinnery Palmer went on to serve in the Canadian Navy.
In 1927 Robert Palmer travelled from Canada to London.
In February 1928 Robert Palmer sailed from Belfast to Halifax, Nova Scotia and it was noted that he was returning to his wife Mona in Manitou, Manitoba.
Family sources suggest that Robert Palmer was convicted of embezzlement, after which Mona divorced him and subsequently married Victor Graham.
In February 1944 Mona Laura Palmer was living in Suite 5, Glenn Apartments, Regina, Saskatchewan.