Sidmouth sailor gets grave memorial
War Graves Commission provides headstone for Royal Navy rating Donald killed in action
A STONE memorial, marking the grave of a Sidmouth sailor killed in battle during World War Two, will be unveiled next Tuesday, January 24.
Donald Charles Channing was a 19-year-old rating when his Royal Navy trawler minesweeper, HMS Ormandie, was sunk by enemy aircraft off the east coast of Scotland in 1941.
Only a rotting wooden cross, carved by his father George, marks his grave at Sidmouth Cemetery.
But after Dave O’Connor, chairman of Sidmouth branch of the Royal British Legion, set the ball rolling, the War Graves Commission has funded a lasting memorial to sit beside the cross.
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A special unveiling service of the headstone – covered with a white ensign - will take place at 11am, attended by local clergy, members of the Royal Naval Old Comrades Association, Sidmouth RBL and town and district councillors.
Mr O’Connor said: “I got the phone call from John Loveridge at EDDC while I was standing on a roof painting. It made my day.”
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He said the War Graves Commission would be tidying up a few more headstones in the lower part of the cemetery.
Donald was the only child of George and Ada Channing who lived at the now demolished Ham Cottages. His body was washed ashore nine months after the attack on HMS Ormandie.
Mr O’Connor said: “His parents had a telegram to say he’d been killed the same day as his fianc�e, Connie Barrett (nee Moore), received a letter from him saying he was looking forward to coming home to see her.”