Family's closure after spelling error kept grave location a mystery

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:08 30 July 2019

Leonard Davie's gravestone with the correct name. Picture: Robert Davie-Rogers

Leonard Davie's gravestone with the correct name. Picture: Robert Davie-Rogers

Archant

A spelling error in church records kept the final resting place of a Budleigh Salterton war hero a mystery for 70 years.

Photos of Leonard Davie from his service record. Picture: Robert Davie-RogersPhotos of Leonard Davie from his service record. Picture: Robert Davie-Rogers

For decades the family of Leonard Davie had been paying their respects at an unmarked grave, believing it to be that of their loved one.

The reason they were not aware of the correct grave was that church records misspelt the name recorded for it as 'Leonard Davey'.

The family has now had a new headstone installed at the correct grave.

After serving on three World War Two vessels in the Royal Navy, Mr Davie died at the age of 27 in 1949.

The corrected name of Leonard Davie's gravestone. Picture: Orchard MemorialsThe corrected name of Leonard Davie's gravestone. Picture: Orchard Memorials

His son Robert Davie-Rogers, who was a year old when his dad died, had been searching for his father's true grave having seen a photo of his aunt Gladys in the churchyard, which conflicts with the location his family have been visiting.

Mr Davie-Rogers, now living in the United States, said the reason for the spelling error is still a mystery but the knowledge that his dad's grave will have the right name is 'emotional' for him.

He said: "It's the mystery and surprise that the grave we were visiting was not his grave and with the help of the church it brought closure to know where his final resting place is.

"With the help of Cyril Shere from St Peters Church, Brian Shackleton, Palmers Funeralcare and Orchard Memorials we have finally located the gravesite."

The photo of Robert Davie-Rogers' aunt Gladys which led to questions over the location of his dad's grave. Picture: Robert Davie-RogersThe photo of Robert Davie-Rogers' aunt Gladys which led to questions over the location of his dad's grave. Picture: Robert Davie-Rogers

At the age of five, Mr Davie-Rogers, who was adopted by the locally-known Rogers family, discovered his dad's war medals in a box in the outhouse shed at Chapel Street.

These were later mistakenly thrown in the rubbish and despite an exhaustive search at the town's landfill site, were never found.

In 2000, Mr Davie-Rogers contacted the British Armed Forces personnel administration agency for his service record and he was able to buy copies of the medals his father won.

These have been placed under Mr Davie's gravestone.

Leonard Davie, who served in the Royal Navy during World War One. Picture: Robert Davie-RogersLeonard Davie, who served in the Royal Navy during World War One. Picture: Robert Davie-Rogers

Mr Davie-Rogers said: "Growing up, I never forgot about my dad's medals.

"I vowed to retrieve them one day, find his grave and place them there for him."

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