Fallen servicemen remembered in Sidbury

Plaque commemoration for tragic duo

FALLEN servicemen from Sidbury were honoured at a ceremony attended by more than 100 people on Sunday.

A brass plaque was unveiled at St Giles Church in memory of Martin Lee Bailey and Louis Pinn- both killed serving their country.

Members of the Sidbury and Sidford branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) moved to secure a lasting memorial for both men.

Martin’s mum, Christine, 65, said she was ‘honoured’ her son will be remembered in the village in which he grew up.

Former Sidbury Primary School and Sidmouth College Student, Martin was tragically killed at the age of 25 while on manoeuvres with the 14th Division Queens Royal Lancers (Tanks) in Canada in 1994.

He died instantly after a stray shell landed near his observation trench.

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Mum Christine, who travelled to Sidbury from Northamptonshire especially for Sunday’s ceremony, said: “I was so proud. It was the most beautiful service. It’s just wonderful he’ll be remembered by the people of Sidbury.”

Martin had served in Northern Ireland, with NATO forces in Cyprus, Germany and in the Iraq/Kuwait conflict. He was given a full military funeral at St Giles and his remains are interred at Sidbury Cemetery. Martin’s brothers Adrian and Daniel also attended the service.

Louis Pinn was killed when his aircraft was shot down by the Mau Mau in 1954 while he was serving with the RAF in Kenya. His body was laid to rest in the Nairobi War Cemetery.

Tom King, MBE, a former Sidbury and Sidford RBL branch president, organised securing the plaque to replace a fading scroll to commemorate local Armed Forces members who have lost their lives since the end of World War Two. He said: “There was a lot of appreciation. It was a nice gesture. I’m deeply grateful everything went remarkably well.”

Generous donations to the RBL branch helped pay for the plaque.

“We have to thank everybody for their donations and for their attendance and support on Sunday,” added Mr King.

Sir John Cave, in his capacity as Vice Lord Lieutenant of Devon, unveiled the plaque.

Donations from the service raised �260 to be split between the RBL branch and the church.