Richard L. Palmer

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A Brief Biography

Hampton Union, [Date unknown, probably during or shortly after World War 2]

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Richard L. Palmer, Chief Motor, Machinist Mate, USCG, is now stationed in Boston. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in December, 1939. After he received training in New York, he was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter U.S.S. Pontchartrain, upon which he sailed when it was given to England. He was then transferred to the U.S.S. Wakefield, the former luxury liner, Manhattan, with which he made three voyages. On the first one he sailed to Singapore via South Africa. In the harbor at Singapore, the Wakefield was bombed and damaged two days before the Japanese took the city. The damage was repaired in Bombay, India and he returned to the States from there. On the next trip, the ship went to New Zealand by way of the Panama Canal.

After returning again to the States, the U.S.S. Wakefield went to Scotland and England and it was on the return voyage that it burned at sea. All the members aboard ship were saved. Palmer was one of twenty-five chosen to be taken back to the burning ship to fight the fire, while the ship was being towed to Halifax, where it burned for two days after reaching port. After necessary repairs were made, Palmer returned on the ship to Boston from where he was sent to school in New London. He graduated from the school with the highest marks and was sent to the Fairbanks-Morse Diesel school in Beloit Wisconsin. After graduating, from there he was sent to Los Angelos for the completion of a new type of ice-breaker. Palmer was assigned to the U. S. S. South Wind. After this ice-breaker was commissioned it was sent to Boston.

From there the U. S. S. South Wind with her sister ship the U. S. S. East Wind were sent to Greenland to discover a German radio station which had been operating there. This mission was successful and the two ships returned to Boston with the captured Germans from the radio station and the trawler in which they came from Germany.

Motor Machinist Mate Palmer has ribbons indicating the many theaters of war in which he has been the European theater, Asiatic, Pacific, besides the Pre-Pearl Harbor and Good Conduct ribbons. He has also two gold stars indicating the bombing of his ship in Singapore and the burning of the U.S.S. Wakefield.

Richard Palmer, who is stationed at Ellis Island, New York, in the United States Coast Guard, was a visitor at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Palmer, North Beach Road, over the weekend.

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