Damien’s paddling again…

This Easter weekend I’m paddling from Devizes to Westminster – 125 miles over 4 days – to raise a little money for Combat Stress in memory of the sailors of HMS Coventry who did not return from the Falklands War in 1982, and those who have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since.

Day 1 (April 7th, Good Friday) is Devizes to Newbury (34 miles with the first 14 being a non-stop slog with no locks to portage), day 2 is Newbury to Marlow (36 miles), day 3 is Marlow to Teddington (38 miles) and day 4 (April 10th, Easter Monday) is Teddington to Westminster Bridge (17 miles on the choppy bouncy tideway). I’m paddling in a red/white/blue open canoe with my friend Marion, and D118 decorates the side of the hull!

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health For over a century they’ve been helping former servicemen and women deal with issues like PTSD, anxiety and depression. If I can raise just £8 per mile I’ll hit my target of £1000 – please contribute what you can and share the link:


If you’d like to follow me online we are in boat 603 and you can track the boat here:


Frank Armes memorial

Thanks to the immense efforts of his shipmate Gavin Scott, Frank Armes is now remembered at the site of his former high school in Norwich (Heartsease, now the Open Academy). The school has dedicated a room for the support and protection of students as the ‘Open Ark’, with Frank’s name on the door, and will, each year, award a Frank Armes Unsung Hero Shield to the student most befitting of the unsung hero description. A dedication service for the Open Ark room was held on the 40th anniversary of the loss of HMS Coventry.

May be an image of text that says "doenacademy THE OPEN ARK Place of Protection for All" Dedicated to the Memory of Frank Armes 25/05/82 AHeartsease Student from 1971 1977 Lost sea on 25th May 1982 onboard HMS Coventry In Service Û of his Country for the Protection of our Freedoms. On this Day the 25th May 2022 to mark the 40th year since he was lost "Wewill Forget" FromtheS Freedom battle."

There is also a magnificent new memorial bench located in Longwater Park Lane in Costessey, Norwich, bearing Frank’s name. It sits near a new memorial stone to WW1, WW2 and other conflict casualties, including Frank.

May be an image of 2 people, people standing and outdoors
May be an image of monument, outdoors and text

Passing of HM The Queen

Dear shipmates, families and friends of D118

I sincerely believe it goes without saying for all of us, but I just wanted to say on behalf of all my HMS Coventry D118 shipmates, that we feel a deep sadness at the sudden loss of the nation’s dearest and longest serving Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

HM Queen Elizabeth II onboard HMS Lancaster in May 2014

May she rest in peace after what has been a lifetime of dedicated service to our nation and the Commonwealth. Thank you Ma’am most sincerely for all you have done and the personal sacrifices you have no doubt made over the 7 decades of your wondrous rule.

Finally, Long live the King!

Chairman D118 Association – Chris Howe MBE