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Camborne woman attends WWII Guernsey memorial

By bevcoumbe  |  Posted: October 07, 2013

Val

Valerie Gill, 75, and her husband David, of Enys Road, Camborne, took part in the anniversary weekend courtesy of St Austell Brewery.

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A Camborne woman has spoken of her pride at attending a 70th anniversary commemorating the loss of her father and his naval colleagues during the sinking of the Charybdis in Guernsey.

Valerie Gill, 75, and her husband David, of Enys Road, Camborne, took part in the anniversary weekend courtesy of St Austell Brewery.

It was the first time that Mrs Gill had attended the event, which she said was a very moving occasion, especially as her father’s body was never recovered.

The memorial service to honour the memory of Royal Naval personnel who died following the sinking of HMS Charybdis and HMS Limborne during World War II.

Her father, Leslie Wilfred Hearn died when the Charybdis was hit by a German destroyer on October 23, 1943, killing 460 of the crew, while 107 survived.

The brewery paid for her to travel to the event after its archivist uncovered documents relating to her mother’s time as the landlady of The Unicorn on Commercial Street, Camborne.

They found letters from Edna Hearn, dated between 1943 and 1945, to her bosses informing them of her husband’s death at sea.

Mrs Gill, whose son was born on the same day that the ship was sunk, said: “We were made to feel very welcome by the Charybdis Association. It was a wonderful occasion and one that I shall never forget.

“We met four survivors of the ship and we saw the cemetery where many of the sailors that died were just 17, and 19. I have a grandson that age, it really brought it home. They had to grow up fast.”

During her trip she attended a memorial on Sunday and a special concert in the evening.

“Our feet didn’t touch the ground. I would like to thank St Austell Brewery for arranging it for us, it all went very smoothly.”

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