Edwin Palmer, born Witcher, in 1864, died aboard HMS Queen Mary at jutland
Edwin was serving as an officers' cook/steward aboard HMS queen Mary, when she was sunk in 1916. He was born Edwin Witcher, at Funtleyphotos, Fareham in 1864, the illegitimate son of Sarah Ann Ford and Edward Witcher who never married, but had three sons together, the eldest of whom died very young. His father, Edward, died when Edwin was a young child, leaving Sarah Ann with two young sons. She married James Palmer and together they brought up the two boys and had two more children together: Edwin chose to take his stepfather's name and kept it throughout his life.
In 1908 Edwin married Marie Annette Cotter, nee Mockett .Marie, known as Annie, had two sons by her first husband who deserted her, and she and Edwin had three children together but could not marry until 1908 when her first husband died. One of Annie's two sons, Gilbert Cotter, was killed in action and I have pictures of his grave, and her brother in law, mr Roberts also died in the war.
Edwin was a in the navy on non- continuous service, and his younger son enlisted in the RGA, when underage, was wounded and claimed out, but then re- enlisted and was again wounded in France, but survived the war. He was my father, and Edwin the grandfather I never met.
I have birth, marriage, and death records of all the individuals I have mentioned, and a photograph of Edwin, and letter home from him to his wife and to his son, written in pencil. I believe Edwin's job during the battle would have probably been keeping ammunition coming to the gunners; if so he would have been in or close to the ammunition store when it exploded, sinking the ship very quickly. He was a very ordinary man, and this story gives insight into life for ordinary people before and
during the war. Edwin's name appears on the Royal Navy's war memorial on Southsea Promenade.
Selena IWM Volunteer commented
Edwin's life story has now been created
Please visit this page: