The Spike or Victoria University College Review, June 1927
Eric Lee Palmer
Eric Lee Palmerpage 13
Born 1902. Died 1927.
At the end of the Long Vacation, when we were all looking forward to the time when we should meet old friends once more, those of us who knew Eric Palmer—"Sammy" he always was to us—were shocked to hear of his death under tragic circumstances on the slopes of Benmore, one of the most treacherous peaks in the Marlborough district. He had been teaching at the Wharenui School, had gone out shooting, was overtaken by the mist—and that was the end. Eric Palmer was a scholar through and through; an Honours graduate in French, equally at home in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Maori; above all things, a poet and a dreamer. His College interests were wide and various. He was an enthusiastic member of the Football, Dramatic, and Tramping Clubs and a frequent contributor to the pages of "The Spike." Tramping, however, was the outdoor activity he loved best; and in communion with Nature, the dreamer in him seemed to find that refuge of peace denied him by the ordinary humdrum world. In death "he lies where he longed to be," high up on the mountain-tops at rest. He showed extraordinary promise of a distinguished literary career; and in this connection we can do no better than set forth the considered opinion of the British Drama League's reader upon some of his work. It speaks for itself: "There is a great deal to commend in this play. The author has succeeded in getting a wonderful atmosphere of the period, his sense of character is good, and there are moments of intense and true drama. Unfortunately, since Sir Henry Irving's and Sir Herbert Tree's deaths, there are no managements to undertake a big spectacular production, except perhaps Cochran, and one doubts whether 'The Black Ship' would appeal to him. There are wonderful stage pictures to be visualized mentally, but the spoken words are few. Of course, this story would make a magnificent film scenario. The stage is really too small for it. Can Mr. Palmer use his real sense of drama on a smaller canvas?"
Through his death Victoria has lost one who was destined to become one of her most famous sons. But we have lost a friend. And our loss is the greater.