Sidmouth rating to have graveside memorial

PUBLISHED: 11:35 24 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:04 18 June 2010

A YOUNG Sidmouth man, killed in action in 1941, is to have his grave marked with a memorial stone funded by the War Graves Commission.

A YOUNG Sidmouth man, killed in action in 1941, is to have his grave marked with a memorial stone funded by the War Graves Commission.

Donald Charles Channing was just 19 when his Royal Navy trawler minesweeper HMS Ormandie was sunk by enemy aircraft off the east coast of Scotland on February 16, 1941.

A rating, Donald was reported missing, presumed dead, to his parents, George and Ada Channing, who lived at the now demolished Ham Cottages. It wasn't until November that his body was washed ashore.

Dave O'Connor, chairman of Sidmouth branch of the Royal British Legion, set the ball rolling to have Donald's grave marked with a lasting memorial. Currently it bears a rotting wooden cross, carved by his father.

Eileen Hodges, president of the RBL branch, knew Donald and his family as her parents ran the Swan Inn opposite their home.

"I was about 17 when Don was killed, I knew him quite well. He was very nice, a quiet, unassuming type of man," said Mrs Hodges.

"I was surprised to see he was engaged to a girl called Connie, who is still alive and living in Sidmouth.

"I think the memorial is an excellent idea. His father would have been chuffed.

"I remember, as if it was yesterday, him bringing over the cross he made to show my dad.

"Don was their only child and they went to pieces after he died."

A formal ceremony will take place to site the stone and Mr O'Connor is keen to hear from anyone with associations with Donald who would like to attend. He can be contacted on (01395) 516160.

He said: "It takes about four to six weeks for the stone to arrive. I have been talking to the Reverend Robin Laird and Reverend Peter Leverton and my vice-chairman Richard Waring about the dedication ceremony, which will include using a bosun's pipe.


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