John, Robert, Frank and Allan were four of ten sons of George and Ellen Palmer who lived at Oakwood, near Inverell. These four boys served during World War 1 and two more brothers were ready to go when Armistice was declared.
Robert (21) who enlisted in August 1915, was the first of his brothers to leave Australia. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 14 Reinforcement and served in France where he was Killed in Action on 9 April 1917. He was buried at Beaumetz Cross Roads Cemetery, Meaumetz-les-Cambrai, France.
Frank, (20) and Allan (19), both enlisted in December 1915 and became members of the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs who departed Inverell on 12 January 1916 for Narrabri and Armidale camps. Before their departure they were among several Oakwood recruits given a farewell and presented with a fountain pen. Both men served in France and by October 1917 were two of twenty two First Contingent Kurrajongs ‘still in the firing line’.
Frank was wounded in February 1918 and returned to England with gunshot wounds to both legs. After treatment in hospital he came home to Australia and was medically discharged in October 1918. Allan was wounded in action in April 1918 and invalided to Reading War Hospital in England with gunshot wounds and suffering the effects of gas poisoning. He returned to France five months later and came back to Australia in May 1919.
John (26) enlisted in January 1917. He joined the 3rd Battalion, 24th Reinforcement and sailed from Australia on HMAT A46 Clan Macgillivray on 10 May 1917. John was Killed in Action on 20 June 1918 and has no known grave. He is among the many whose names are recorded at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France.
The four Palmer boys have their names inscribed on the Inverell and the Oakwood Honor Rolls. In 1919 Robert and John were among the 215 men for whom memorial trees were planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell.
At the Oakwood Hall In 1919 Mrs. Ellen Palmer was invited to unveil the beautiful cedar and pine Oakwood Honor Roll which bears the names of her four sons.