Arthur Power Palmer

General Sir Arthur Power Palmer, GCB, GCIE (25 June 1840 28 February 1904) was Commander-in-Chief, India between March 1900 and December 1902.

Sir Arthur Power Palmer
Sir Arthur Power Palmer
Born25 June 1840
Kurubul, India
Died28 February 1904 (1904-02-29) (aged 63)
London, United Kingdom
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Indian Army
Years of service1857–1902
Commands heldIndian Army
Battles/warsTirah Campaign
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire

Military career

Power Palmer was born in June 1840, at Karnaul (Karnal), India, the son of Nicholas Palmer and Rebecca Carter Barrett.[1] Educated at Cheltenham College, he was commissioned into the 5th Bengal Native Infantry in 1857.[2] He took part in subduing the Indian Mutiny in 1857.[2]

In 1880, he was appointed Assistant Adjutant-General in Bengal and in 1885 was Commander of the 9th Bengal Cavalry for the Suakin Expedition.[2] In 1897 he took part in the Tirah Campaign.[2] He was also General Officer Commanding 2nd Division during the action at Chagru Kotal.[2]

In January 1898, he became Commander-in-Chief Punjab Command[3] and 19 March 1900 he became Commander-in-Chief, India,[4] a post he held for two years.[2]

In a farewell dinner held at Simla in late October 1902, the Viceroy, Lord Curzon said the following about their relationship:[5]

″I believe an impression prevails in outside circles that either the Commander-in-Chief in India leads the viceroy by the nose, or, more rarely, the Viceroy leads the Commander-in-Chief. But there is a third alternative, which, after all, is more likely, and which my experience of two Commanders-in-Chief leads me unhesitatingly to endorse. It is that neither party is ahead of the other, but both are abreast.

I am confident that Sir A. Power Palmer will support me when I say that this has been the happy and unbroken nature of our collaboration.″

(Lord Curzon would later clash with Palmer′s successor, Lord Kitchener, and resign as a result.)

Palmer returned to the United Kingdom in December 1902, and retired from the Army. He died in London in 1904 and is buried at Brompton Cemetery.[2]



In 1867 he married Julia Helen Aylmer née Harris (1848–1896)[7] who died in October 1896 and is buried at the Old Christian Cemetery, Abbottabad,[8] Pakistan. they had a daughter Norah Blanche Aylmer née Palmer (1872–?) who married Major Gerard Beechey Howard Rice (1865–?); then in 1898 he married Constance Gabrielle Richardson née Shaw (1864–1912), widow of Walter Milton Roberts. He went on to have two more daughters with Constance: Celia de Courcy née Power-Palmer (1902–1973) and Frances Gabrielle née Power-Palmer (c1903–1987).[2]

Further reading

  • Who Was Who 1897–1916 p545
  • Oxford Dictionary of national Biography pp475–6


  1. British Library IOR Ref No. N/1/56f.124, and L/MIL/9/240f.325
  2. Arthur Power Palmer at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. "New commander in India; General Sir Arthur Power Palmer Succeeds General Sir William Lockhart" (PDF). The New York Times. 17 January 1898. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  4. "No. 27299". The London Gazette. 26 March 1901. p. 2114.
  5. Quoted in "Latest Intelligence". The Times (36902). London. 18 October 1902. p. 7.
  6. "No. 27374". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 November 1901. p. 7287.
  7. British Library IOR Ref No. N/1/121/92
  8. British Library IOR Ref No. N/1/254/225
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir William Lockhart
Commander-in-Chief, India
Succeeded by
Lord Kitchener
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