Thomas Palmer was born in Sligo, County Sligo, Ireland, in 1895, the son of John and Mary Palmer. It is unknown when the Palmer family moved from Ireland to Liverpool, but by 1901, John Palmer had died and Mary Palmer married William Holmes Hey.
On the 15th December 1912, Thomas married Margaret Dobson, and in 1915, they lived at 190, Burlington Street, Everton, Liverpool. In 1913, the couple had a daughter they named Elizabeth, but she died in December 1914.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Thomas was employed as a mill worker, when on the 28th August 1914, he enlisted in the army special reserve as 2518 Private Thomas Palmer, Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire) Regiment.
He engaged as a trimmer in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania on 12th April 1915 at Liverpool at a monthly wage of £6-0s-0d., and joined the ship on the morning of 17th April, before she left Princes Landing Stage for the last time. He was killed when she was sunk three weeks later. He was aged 20 years.
His body was not recovered and identified afterwards and he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
In August of the same year, he was officially discharged from the last voyage of the
Lusitania and his widow was paid the balance of wages owed to him, in respect of his service on board the
Lusitania from 17th April 1915, until 8th May, 24 hours after the vessel had gone down! In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted a yearly pension to Margaret Palmer which amounted to £24-17s-9d. (£24.89p.) which was payable at the rate of £2-1s-6d. (£2.07½p.) per month.
Margaret Palmer was carrying the couple’s second child when she became a widow, and some weeks following the sinking of the
Lusitania, she gave birth to a son, she named Thomas after his father.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.