Palmer, A. B.


A Roebuck Book, Canberra, 1st ed., 1981. Xv + 386 pp., many photo-ills., drawings & maps. D.j., 25 x 18cm. V.G. Signed Presentation Copy from the Author, inscribed : To : My good friend & shipmate Bill Donald of England. From : Al Palmer of U.S.A. The autobiography of Alfred Palmer, an American brought up in Australia, who first went to sea as a cadet in 1916 aboard a square-rigger that took 112 days to reach Bordeaux via the Horn. The vessel was sunk by a U-boat off Penzance and after 2 ½ days in a lifeboat the author found himself in England. He joined the Royal Navy, trained as a gunner, and served in the Grand Fleet. When peace came he tried to return home but was shipwrecked on the Galapagos Islands. After further hazardous adventures he arrived back in Australia where he joined the Commonwealth Line, serving in all types of vessels. When war returned in 1939, Palmer, a reserve officer, was called up and joined a Yangtse River Gunboat sailing for Singapore. There he joined HMS MEDWAY bound for England via Suez, but at Alexandria he was given command of a lighter, X39, and here his war began in earnest. In his book he describes his encounters with the enemy on the coast of North Africa until his vessel was sunk by an Italian aircraft. He was made a POW and lost his right arm in Germany but his hectic life was only just beginning and he saw service in the Med., USA, Australia, Borneo, Saigon, Hong Kong, etc., before being honourably discharged from the Royal Navy having previously been decorated at Buckingham Palace. A fascinating life story.

Share this book