By Gilly Carr
Henry Lawrence Palmer was born in the parish of St Martin, Jersey, on 8 May 1889. At the time of the registration of Islanders in 1940, he was married to Eva Horman Palmer née Lucas and worked as a foreman on a farm.
We know little about his early life other than that he served in the Royal Jersey Militia in the First World War and retired as a corporal in 1917. As he described himself as having a limp in his left leg, it is possible that he was wounded while on active service.
Palmer comes to our attention because, on 17 December 1942, he was sentenced by the Court of the Feldkommandantur 515 to six months’ imprisonment for receiving stolen articles. Unusually, Palmer’s name is absent from Jersey’s political prisoner log book.
The next we hear of Palmer is in Coutances Prison, where he arrived, from Jersey, on 23 January 1943, indicating that he was kept in Jersey jail for at least a month before deportation without his name being listed in the political prisoner log book.
On 8 May 1943, less than four months after his arrival, Palmer’s sentence expired. His prison record contains a note indicating that he had been ‘sent to hospital on 16 March 1943 and transferred on 1 May 1943 to his destination as an English subject’. It is most likely that this was an internment camp for English people.
An archival record in Jersey written by the Attorney General to the Constable of St Helier, dated 11 September 1943, states that Lawrence was imprisoned from 9 November 1942 to 8 May 1943 (indicating that his sentence was back-dated to the date at which he was initially placed in prison before his trial). The same document from the Attorney General stated that Lawrence ‘was now interned’. It is most likely that Lawrence was interned in Saint-Denis Internment Camp in Paris, as this was the default location of internment of Channel Islanders who had been released from French prisons. Because the register of this camp has not been located, this cannot be proved.
Henry Palmer’s occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/2/A2165.
Henry Palmer’s occupation registration form, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/2/B2165
Henry Palmer’s charge sheet, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/5/7.
Henry Palmer’s Coutances Prison records, Archives Départementales de la Manche ref. 2Y3/3.