Sidmouth’s Market Place postbox romance

PUBLISHED: 12:43 11 January 2015

The family's last photograph of Bob and Noreen before she passed away in 2001.

The family's last photograph of Bob and Noreen before she passed away in 2001.


The meeting of Bob Shire and Noreen Channon over 75 years ago would not be far amiss from a scene in a romantic film.

On their wedding day in Ottery St Mary in 1946.On their wedding day in Ottery St Mary in 1946.

Young love blossomed after the pair ran into one another by the post box in Market Place, Sidmouth, during an air raid in World War Two.

The young Bob worked as a lookout in Sidmouth as part of the RAF and lived with a Miss Cowens on Salcombe Hill.

Noreen was born into a family of seven and grew up in Ottery St Mary. She worked as a domestic maid in a large house on the other side of Sidmouth.

On Monday, their daughter, Jane Baker, travelled down with her husband David from Taunton to the spot where the pair started to fall in love.

In the gardens of Miss Cowens house on Salcombe Hill in Sidmouth.In the gardens of Miss Cowens house on Salcombe Hill in Sidmouth.

Every year she likes to visit the area and stop at the post box.

Jane said: “Mum turned round to her friend and said ‘I’m going to marry that man someday.’

“My dad used to say ‘We ran into each others arms.’

“There are not too many relationships like that now - they made it special.”

Jane says the post box has more than one connection to her family as her father’s parents had owned a post office where he worked as a post man.

Her parents became fast friends and during the war wrote to each other while Bob worked as a carpenter.

He worked at RAF Hullavington fixing aeroplanes as they came back in from their missions.

Noreen also worked in aviation by making aeroplane wings in Swindon.

They married at Ottery St Mary church on March 9, 1946.

The couple were inseparable, living in the same home in Taunton for 60 years until Noreen’s death in 2001, age 80.

Bob died in 2011 at 89 years old.

Jane said: “They were devoted to each other.

“When Mum died, it was as though Dad had lost his right arm. It was dreadful; he was heart broken, like we all were.”

Jane grew up with her siblings Susan and Roger in Somerset, but felt a strong connection to the area because of her parent’s story.

“I just felt a connection to Devon, even though I wasn’t born there.

“All my mum’s brothers and sisters were born there.

“When we go to Sidmouth we go to the post box and put a kiss on it because that’s where Mum and Dad met and that means a lot to me.”

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