Daughter pays tribute to father who served in Royal Navy as teenager during WWII

Mr Palmer in his Royal Navy years

Mr Palmer in his Royal Navy years - Credit: Archant

A daughter has paid tribute to her father who served in the Royal Navy during WWII as a teenager.

Mr Palmer participated in Operation Pedestal on the ship, HMS Penn

Mr Palmer participated in Operation Pedestal on the ship, HMS Penn - Credit: Archant

John Palmer passed away on Tuesday, June 17 at Trembaths Nursing Home in Letchworth GC at the age of 91, after losing his battle with cancer.

A talented footballer, Mr Palmer had been ready to take a trial for Crystal Palace after an impressive goal-scoring record at school that included a cup-winning hat-trick, but joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17 when WWII broke out in 1939.

He participated in Operation Pedestal on his ship HMS Penn, escorting the SS Ohio through the straits of Gibraltar to liberate the island of Malta, winning many war medals for his bravery.

After the war he worked for the gas company that would eventually become British Gas, before joining the Royal Mail in 1952 and retiring to live with his wife in Stotfold in 1986.


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Mr Palmer’s daughter Anne Beckford, who lives in Letchworth GC, said: “Dad was a very independent man and he tried to manage his life himself until he became too unwell to do so. He remained an avid football fan and was regularly going out in his motorised scooter to watch Stotfold FC play!

“He was also a keen gardener and always had a lovely garden, even when he was not able to manage his garden himself he had a friend who managed to keep the garden just as he liked.

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“Mum and dad celebrated their golden wedding in Stotfold and had a happy retirement until mum’s death in 2001. They were married for 55 years.

“He will be sadly missed by all of his family but we will keep his memory alive through his family. He leaves behind myself and my two brothers, both of whom live in Texas. As well as lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, some of whom were born and raised in the USA.”

The funeral is due to take place on Tuesday, July 1, at Harwood Park in Stevenage.

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