William Palmer Smith


About William Palmer

  • Name
    William Palmer
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    23 May 1887
  • Birth town
    New Fletton, Peterborough
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation
    Railway Guard

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Royal Army Medical Corps


William Palmer Smith was born on 23 May 1887, in New Fletton, Peterborough to parents Charles William, a railway guard, and Ellen (nee Wilson).  William had an older brother, Charles.  Their mother died in June 1889, (this may have been during childbirth as several Smith babies died in the same quarter).

In 1891 William (3) was living with his uncle and aunt, Johnson and Elizabeth Phillips at 5 Gladstone Cottages, Water End, Woodston, Peterborough.  His brother Charles was living with his grandparents at Histon and his father Charles is a boarder in Woodston.  By 1901, his father had married again and William, aged 13, an errand boy, was living at 73 Tower Street, Fletton, Peterborough with Charles (40), Annie (35) (nee Horsley), Charles (16) railway engine cleaner and sisters Hetty (4) and Clarisse (1).  In 1911, William was boarding with the Culpin family at 136 Palmerston Road, Woodston, Peterborough.  William was listed as a pointsman on the railways.  His family was still living at 73 Tower Street with three additional children, Edward (9), Daisy (7) and Alfred (5).

William was a railway guard and married Florrie Neal in Peterborough on 23 March 1913, they lived at 28 Orchard Street, New Fletton.  William and Florrie had five children, Charles (1913), Florence (1920), Donald (1922), Richard (1924) and Edna (1925).

William attested on 7 April 1915 at Peterborough, aged 27 years 10 months and joined the 2/3rd East Anglian Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) Territorial Force.  On 30 March 1917, he was posted to the regular army RAMC.  He served in France from 16 April 1917, initially with 55 General Hospital and then with No 44 Field Ambulance and returned to the UK on 26 July 1919.  He had a couple of spells in hospital in France, first in August 1917 when he was out of action for four weeks with trench fever and then in October 1918, with influenza for six weeks.  He remained in the UK from 27 July 1919, until he was demobilised on 31 March 1920, when he was serving with 102 Field Ambulance.  His character was described as very good.  He was awarded the British War and Allied Victory Medals.

Sadly, Florrie died in 1927, aged 35 years.  In 1932 William married Alice Knight and they had seven children, Fred (1933), William (1934), June (1937), John (1940), Brian (1941), Michael (1943) and Ann (1945).

In 1939 William, a railway guard, and Alice were living at 28 Orchard Street with Charles (26) a painter and paperhanger, Donald (17) an office boy at the brickyards and five other children whose records are currently still closed.

William died in Peterborough in 1957, aged 69 years.  His wife, Annie, went on to re-marry in 1961 to Charles Palmer.

Please get in touch if you can tell us more about William.


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