The Palmer GMT is named after Edward Henry Palmer (1840-1882), who was an English orientalist and explorer. He expressed an interest in other cultures from a young age and would study Middle Eastern cultures whilst at Cambridge University.
In 1869 he participated in a survey of Sina undertaken by the Palestine Exploration Fund, and the year after that he explored the desert of El-Tih on foot and unescorted by locals. After this Palmer returned to England, where he published several reports on his travels, and by 1871 he was married and the Lord Almoner's Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University.
In 1882 Palmer embarked on a journey to the Middle East in order to secure the neutrality of the Arab Sheiks in the ongoing Egyptian conflict known as the Urabi Revolt or the Urabi Revolution. It is whilst engaged in carrying out these negotiations that he and his party were ambushed and killed. His remains were recovered after the war and are now interred in St Paul’s Cathedral.