Newspaper cuttings - Robert Palmer award of Victoria Cross



Newspaper cuttings - Robert Palmer award of Victoria Cross


Top left - shy but tough V.C. air ace picked for hardest jobs. Gives account of his 110th bombing operation leading a formation of Lancasters on daylight operation to Cologne from which he failed to return and actions resulted in award of VC. Top right - tougher the task, more he liked it. Was qualified to be the longest serviced operational pilot in Bomber Command. Gives some background and account of operation to Cologne on which he was shot down and awarded the Victoria Cross. Bottom left - shows b/w photograph and provides brief account of actions of newest Victoria Cross. Centre - missing air ace gets V.C. cutting with b/w photograph of Robert Palmer in uniform.

Temporal Coverage




Four newspaper cuttings on an album page


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An ace flier who was always selected for special operations against vital targets, yet to his friends in civilian life was just "a shy boy, very quiet and reserved," is the winner of the 134th V.C. of the war.

He is Acting Squadron-Ldr. Robert Anthony Maurice Palmer, D.F.C. and bar, 109 Squadron, whose home is in Bellman-avenue, Gravesend.

He has been missing since Dec. 23 last year, when he led a formation of Lancasters in a daylight raid on the Cologne marshalling yards.

His plane was last seen spiralling to earth in flames after he and his crew had marked the target in the face of savage ack-ack and the cannon shells of enemy fighters.

It was his 110th bombing mission and to achieve accuracy he had to fly at an exact height and air speed on a steady course regardless of opposition.

Squadron-Ldr. Palmer was born at Gillingham and went to school at Gravesend. Before the war he was in the office of the Gravesend Borough Engineer. His father who is a Ministry of Labour official, was a pilot in the R.F.C. and R.A.F. in the last war.

Sqn.-Ldr. Palmer was awarded the D.F.C. on June 30, 1944, and the bar to the D.F.C. on Dec. 8, 1944.

[inserted] Daily Mirror [[/inserted]
Flight-Lieutenant R.A.M. Palmer, the newest V.C. – last seen spiralling down during a bombing raid on Cologne. He was the key man. When his bombs went down, the raid was to begin. His machine was hit, but he went on, to bomb, and then to die. (News story on centre page).

Missing air ace gets V.C.
[inserted] Scotish Daily Express [/inserted]


Highest award for longest service

Express Air Reporter

SQUADRON LEADER BOB PALMER, Britain's latest V.C., 24-year-old ex-office boy in the borough engineer's office at Gravesend, qualified to be called the longest-serviced operational pilot in Bomber Command by the time he was shot down in flames last December.

This shy, determined young man had flown on 110 bombing missions, most of them involving deep penetration of heavily defended territory, and 79 of these were concentrated into one year – 1944 – flying with No. 109 Squadron.

So for the second time in history the Victoria Cross is awarded not for any one isolated act of bravery but for a pilot's whole service in the war with the Royal Air Force.

The first man to gain this honour was Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, who had flown a hundred bombing missions when he got his V.C. last September.

Bob Palmer, whose keenness was dynamic, differed from Cheshire in that the first man did his job with a smile while Palmer was usually set-faced, almost grim.

They chose him whenever there was a difficult job to do, and he once said to me at an ace bombing station: "The tougher the task the more I get a kick out of it."

His toughest task was his last. A cluster of Lancasters had to follow him into a daylight attack on the marshalling yards of Cologne last December. The crews were ordered to release their bombs as soon as Palmer, in the leading aircraft, had dropped his.

Before he reached the target the Germans clouded his machine with bursts of fire, and two of his four engines began to flame.

Palmer's plane was utilising special equipment for the bombing, and he knew that if he "jinked" to avoid being further hit this equipment might be impaired in its results.

So, with his usual coolness, he made a perfect approach to the marshalling yards and the bombs went down cleanly and true. Such was the opposition that not only was Squadron Leader Palmer's plane destroyed (last seen spiralling to earth in flames), but more than half of his formation failed to get back.

Son of Mr. A.R.F. Palmer, of Bellman-avenue, Gravesend, a last-war pilot young Bob was educated at Gravesend County School and was to have been a desk man in a municipal office. But he had joined the R.A.F.V.R., before the war, flew as a sergeant, was commissioned in 1942, and was in the first 1,000 bomber raid against Cologne in that year. He was among the first to drop a 4,000lb. bomb on Germany. and he had collected two D.F.C.'s before gaining the greatest award of all for gallantry.


Express air reporter, “Newspaper cuttings - Robert Palmer award of Victoria Cross,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 21, 2024,

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