Charles William Palmer was born in Hastings, England on 11 August 1877. He migrated to Western Australia in 1906 after spending a period in South Africa as a member of the South African Constabulary. In 1910 he married Mary Isabella Adams and at the time of his enlistment in the Australian Imperial Forces on 15 May 1916 he was already 39 years of age. He was a member of the 48th Battalion, 4th Division of the Australian Imperial Forces. He arrived at the Western Front on 9th April 1917, went into action on the 10th April and was captured during the First Battle of Bullecourt on 11th April 1917. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of Germany until being repatriated to England on 30 December 1918. He made the journey back to Australia and his family on 10th April 1919.
Charles William Palmer was my grandfather. In 2013 I started the task of transcribing his war diaries – little notebooks and pages of foolscap paper – that, together, made up a picture of his time as a Prisoner of War in World War 1. At the time I was fascinated and moved by the personal story these documents told.
In this blog I will share details of a three week trip that my husband and I are taking to visit each of the places that my grandfather mentioned in his War diaries. I’m hoping to be able to get a feel for each of these places and to imagine what it was like to have been there as a soldier and a POW during those terrible times.