Medical Treatment for Wounded British Troops Captured on D-Day

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Eric Palmer, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    Hi Everyone,
    My father was in the 8th Battalion Paras and was dropped on D-Day in the wrong area, missing their DZ (K). He was wounded in the arm shortly after the drop and by his account, taken prisoner. He also used to recount that he was tended by French nuns. He was posted missing from 6th June to 14th August 1944, when he was located in Smithsdown Road Hospital, Liverpool.
    I've been unable to trace anything at all about what happened to him in that period - where he may have been initially treated - how he got back to the UK - or when. On top of everything the hospital in Liverpool has not existed for some years.

    His details: 5892409 Pte Cyril Gibbs Palmer

  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  4. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    Thanks for the quick response and the links.
    Yes I have his service records, that's where I got the dates from for the period he was posted missing. Also he joined the 70th Btn Northamptonshire Regiment, before going Airborne. And he did serve in Palestine firstly as 8th Btn, then as 6th Airborne Provost Company
    I've got shed loads of info about him and everything going on around him from the many online sources, I even know the Dakota serial and aircrew, and other members of his stick for the drop during Varsity - it's just this last bit of his life i'm stuck on and it's driving me round the bend!

    Cheers, Eric
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

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  6. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    Idler, you are a star! He's right there, second one down! It also says he was admitted on 11th June - five days after he used to say he was wounded.

    Thank you so much - I will contact Sirjahn.
  7. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Northampton Mercury 7th July 1944, if you haven't seen it.

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  8. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    Morning Guy,

    Thanks for that - but yes, I picked that up just a couple of days ago from the British Newspaper Archive purely by accident while I was looking for something else! Shame to say they got his uncle's initial wrong - it should have been 'G'. J. Smart was a printer and publisher, no longer in existence, but my dad was a compositor, a trade he went back to in Banbury on his return from Palestine.

    Cheers, Eric.
  9. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    My guess would be that after being found wounded on 6 June he was cared for by French nuns, but then in some clearing up by the Germans he was formally taken prisoner and transferred to Rennes on 11 June. That would account for the five days when he was on no-one's official books and his mention of French nuns.

    It is the kind of thing that happened in the chaos of D-Day and immediately thereafter.

    Incidentally, with reference to the thread heading, "Medical Treatment for Wounded British Troops on D-Day", some treatment was provided by conscientious objectors dropped as paramedics on D-Day, much to the consternation of some Germans, who could not understand men in uniform not interested in fighting.
  10. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    Hi Drayton,

    Thanks for the thoughts, they are plausible bearing in mind his later recollections. The stalag in Rennes was about 200 km from where he was initially shot, so bearing in mind the conditions and the state of the roads at the time (even now looking at Google Earth they're not brilliant) I doubt that he would have been moved too far for a couple of days.

    It's possible to use street view to travel along the farm track that runs through the middle of what was DZ K to see it as it is now and it's still a massive flat open empty area. From the comfort of an armchair it's difficult to appreciate how you could get dropped with such a wide dispersal that you were lost. But then I've never jumped scared stiff from a Dakota into the middle of a war!


  11. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Just a bit of fun. From your armchair open google map so you have Oxford and Rennes in view. Then imagine that you are a Dakota pilot/navigator. Your task (with the cursor) is to fly from Oxford to La Have, then turn and drop your paratroopers over Rennes, quite simple.
    Now try it with your eyes shut.
    Because that is basically what those pilots/navigators had to do. :D
  12. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    ;)Yeah I know really! I spent most of my life in the forces and other defence related stuff loving aircraft of one sort or another.
  13. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Eric,

    Do you know the chalk number of his aircraft. You mention in another post having the serial and names of aircrew. I'll attach the map showing drop lines of 8 Para aircraft which you may have already.

    HQ 3 Para Bde and 8th Para Bn App K Sheet 4.jpg

    You might need to edit for gamma, contrast and sharpness to see better.

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  14. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    Thanks Cee, many thanks for the drop plan, but I see what you mean about cleaning up - however I have the kit do do that and it will make a superb addition to the scrapbook. Unfortunately I don't know the chalk number and I've not found a source anywhere for 8th Btn. However, although not relevant to this discussion I do have his chalk list for the varsity drop and he's 15 out of a stick of 16. Many thanks for the help!
  15. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    Cee- should have said I know aircraft serials, chalk numbers and crews for the whole squadron assemblage for the operation from squadron war diaries, but not my dad's individual aircraft!

  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I checked the list I have and noticed quite a few gaps for both aircraft number (serial) and pilots for 8 Para out of Blakehill Farm. If you like I can check your info against what is available at this end on the off chance there is a match.

    Edit - My mistake, I should read more carefully! I thought you might have known his Normandy aircraft but see you only have info on Operation Varsity. That's a shame as it might have narrowed down the area he landed in.

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
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  17. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member


    I think you'll find your father on this aircraft manifest. Maybe if you can trace some of the others on his aircraft it might provide some leads

    Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 14.42.25.png
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  18. brithm

    brithm Senior Member


    Pte. Bailey mentions in a statement 8 Para's missing file that ten men from 8th Parachute Battalion formed up under the command of a "L/C. Palmer" at "COUERVILLE" near Caen. Believe there was only one Palmer in the battalion at that time which was your father. Not sure where Couerville is.

    Your father may have a POW card, you can ask National archives to check in file WO 416/280.


    Attached Files:

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  19. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Typos on the maps weren't uncommon.
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  20. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

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