Anthony Palmer (10th March to 12th December 1892)


On the way to find graves in Rochdale I went via Heywood to have a coffee with this brave man. It took about twenty minutes to find his grave. I didn't know as I sat in the car on the drive pouring coffee that it was visible from there - oh well. It's easy looking back isn't it?


Here lies Anthony Palmer and there's only one photograph him out there - probably because he fought in the Crimean War which took place from October 1853 to February 1856. His act of bravery occurred when he was 35 years old on Sunday 5th November 1854. He was a private fighting with the Grenadier Guards in Russia against the Russian Army. At the Battle of Inkerman he volunteered with two others to join their Major to dislodge a party of Russians from the Sandbag Battery. Under heavy fire they attacked the Russians and succeeded in killing them. The major was being bayoneted to death but Palmer shot the Russian in time to save his boss. Anthony was also a member of a small team who were vastly outnumbered when under attacked from the enemy, leading his peers away from capture and probable death.


He was awarded the Victoria Cross in June 1857 by Queen Victoria in Hyde Park, London. After leaving the army in 1863 he rose to become the Head Constable of The Millwall Dock Company. His Victoria Cross medal was stolen during a bar brawl and a replacement was issued on the instructions of Queen Victoria (the original medal was eventually recovered.)


He died aged 73 in 1892 in Crumpsall Hospital in Manchester. He joins his parents in this grave. Wood Street in Heywood has since been named after this brave man. I had a coffee with him, did one of my stiffest salutes and left.