Francis Palmer-Samborne (referred to in Army records as Samborne) was the son of John Stucley Palmer-Samborne and Kathleen Elsie Palmer Samborne, of Broadstone, Dorsetshire.
He enlisted into the Grenadier Guards and in January 1941 was part of a group of sixty guardsman who arrived at Achdalieu for Commando training along with contingents from the South Wales Borderers and Lancashire Fusiliers.
The group from the Grenadier Guards was put under the charge of Lt Arthur Kellas, who referred to Samborne as a “gentleman, with spectacles, for enigmatic reasons in the ranks.”
In February, after an arduous three day endurance march, Palmer-Samborne formed up with the Guards’ contingent at Achnacarry Castle for inspection by Lt Col ‘Ivor’Jackson, Commanding Officer of 11 SAS Battalion - the embryonic airborne unit; who was looking for replacements to bolster his force following the deployment of X Troop on the first British airborne raid of the war.
A few days later the Guards’ contingent, including Palmer-Samborne, left for Cheshire to form the nucleus of L Troop, 11 SAS Battalion. Later in 1941, the battalion was reorganised and redesignated as the 1st Parachute Battalion, which became part of The Parachute Regiment when it was created the following year.
Palmer Samborne deployed with the battalion to North Africa for Operation Torch in November 1942, as part of the Intelligence section under Sgt Floyd. He was killed a few months later during the fierce fighting for Djebel Mansour and Djebel Alliliga.
Pte Francis Palmer-Samborne died on 5th February 1943, aged 30 years, and is now buried in the Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery in Tunisia.
Compiled by Harvey GrenvilleRead More