Honiton man ensures war hero Daz will never be forgotten

Darryl Malvin Cope (Daz) was just three weeks off his 21st birthday when he was killed aboard HMS Sheffield in the Falklands War. Almost 30 years later, his mum, Marge, is thrilled to bits that Alan Rowe MBE is taking a memorial for Daz to the islands.

THE life of sailor Darryl Malvin Cope will be commemorated with a specially made memorial in the Falkland Islands later this month – thanks to the founder of a Honiton-based charity.

Darryl, known as Daz, was a catering assistant aboard HMS Sheffield when the Type 42 destroyer was struck by an Exocet missile on May 4 in 1982.

Daz, the second son of Marge and Don Cope, was one of 20 to die in the attack and the ship later sank – the first Royal Navy vessel to succumb to an enemy in 40 years.

Daz died just three weeks short of his 21st birthday.

After reading in this newspaper that Honiton barber Alan Rowe MBE is due to travel to the Falklands to take part in the Stanley Marathon on March 20, Marge asked if a memorial could be taken there in her son’s memory.

Mr Rowe was happy to accept the request and a wooden pebble, made from East Devon oak, is to carry a plaque bearing Daz’s name.

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Retired colonel Richard Sidwell offered to make the memorial and the finished product is superb.

Marge told the Midweek Herald: “I am absolutely thrilled to bits.”

Falkland Islanders are queuing up to welcome Mr Rowe to Port Stanley.

The founder of the Baton charity, which promotes a non-political message of support for service personnel and their families, aims to visit as many battle memorials as possible.

Children from primary and secondary schools on the islands will run with him during a Baton relay from Port Stanley to Mount Tumbledown, the former scene of a fierce battle.

Mr Rowe will also meet the islands’ governor and present him with a pennant bearing the seal of Honiton Town Council, by kind permission of Councillor Peter Fleming, the Mayor of Honiton.

Another pennant, from Honiton Running Club, of which Mr Rowe is president, will be presented to runners on the Falklands.

Pennants made for the Baton charity will be presented to the schools.

Mr Rowe will be a special guest during a service at Christ Church Cathedral, which will be relayed to all the Falkland Islands.

During the service, which will be led by the Reverend Richard Hines, Mr Rowe will be interviewed about the Baton.

He will, of course, be carrying the Baton, made from the handle of a stretcher used in Afghanistan, when he takes part in the marathon.

“I can’t think of a better place to take it,” he told the Midweek Herald.

“We lost 257 servicemen in the Falklands, but it is estimated that around a further 400 have taken their own lives since.

“This epitomises why I started the Baton charity. War is not the end of the suffering.

“For a person to commit suicide after taking part in a military engagement means they must have suffered from so much.

“That suffering would have been shared by their families and, for them, the suffering will go on for a lifetime.”

Mr Rowe is being flown to the Falklands by the RAF and will be accompanied by Baton supporter Commodore Tim Lowe.

Mr Rowe added: “We must have patience and tolerance for those who have been through conflicts and do what we can to help and support them.”