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Albert Roy Palmer  

Servicenumber : 5511466
Rank : Lance Corporal
Regiment : Reconnaissance Corps
Unit : 1st Airlanding Squadron
Albert Roy "Bert" Palmer was born in Havant in 1922. He later lived in Portsmouth. When war broke out he was on an apprenticeship at a builders. Palmer joined the Army in 1941 and served with the Hampshire Regiment. He then volunteered for the Parachute Regiment and served with No 9 Section of C Troop. He saw action in Africa and Italy (Monte Cassino) before he took part in Operation Market Garden. 
On 17 september 1944 Palmer landed near Wolfheze. He and Sergeant David Christie were the only two men of No 9 Section who were not wounded or killed at the ambush near the Wolfheze culvert. On the 19th September he was involved in a reconnaissance task with the rest of C Troop. The patrol set out for Wolfheze and wanted to go towards the Amsterdamseweg. Near Reijersheide the patrol came under a sustained mortar barrage and they withdrew back to Wolfheze. It was decide the patrol would try to reach the Amsterdamseweg further west and after some 90 minutes they reached a spot near Planken Wambuis from where they could overlook the Amsterdamseweg. Initially all seemed very quiet, but gradually they detected a large enemy build-up that included armour and their route back to the south had been cut off. The men decided to dash down the Amsterdamseweg back towards Wolfheze. The convoy of 6 or 7 jeeps set off at about 60 miles an hour, but soon ran into a German ambush. Palmer was in jeep no. 4 with Sergeant Christie, Trooper McSkimmings, Trooper McCarthy and Trooper Cooke. He was firing with the Vickers 'K' gun while Sergeant Christie was behind the wheel. They managed to get out of the ambush and made it to Wolfheze. Somewhere at the crossing between Amsterdamseweg and Wolfhezerweg Trooper McSkimmings fell out of the jeep. Christie stopped, but Trooper Cooke made clear McSkimmings was already dead before falling off. After this ambush what was left of C Troop remained with HQ Troop for the rest of the battle.
Lance Corporal Palmer was one of the men who was evacuated from the perimeter during the night of 25/26 september 1944. After his return he spoke to his local paper in Portsmouth: "After about eight or nine days, we got orders to pull out. Twlce of us started to try to get across the river but were attacked by a machine-gun post in a wood and lost eight of our party. When we got down to the riverside, the mortar fire was heavy and several boats were rendered useless but, after hours, we managed to get across. We received a hearty welcome from Canadian engineers when we reached the other side. General Browning made a little speech in which he complimented us on the stand we had made."
After the war Palmer stayed on for a time in the Army and briefly went to Norway, where he helped the efforts of the Allies seeking out former German officers who had gone into hiding. Shortly after the war Palmer married Hilda Marshall. They had two sons, Michael and Tony.
Palmer left the Army after Norway and joined the fire service in Derby. For almost 30 years he was based at Nottingham Road fire station, in Chaddesden. He lived there until he moved to Mackworth in 2015.
Albert Roy Palmer passed away on 10 december 2016, age 94. At his funeral at Markeaton Crematorium on 29 december, his coffin was carried by members of te C Troop Reenactment Group.   
Sources: 'Remember Arnhem', 'Freddie Gough's Specials at Arnhem', website www.arnhem1944fellowship.org and A. Palmer (grandchild of Albert Roy Palmer). 

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