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Commodore John Pelham Champion, Royal Navy

John Champion was born in Derbyshire on the 26th March 1883, and his father was the Reverend Francis Beresford Champion. He joined the Royal Navy when he was 14 or 15 as a Cadet. The 1911 census lists him as a Lieutenant serving on HMS Hope, which was an Acorn Class Destroyer – brand new in 1910. By the time of the Great War JP Champion had been promoted to Commander in 1915 during which time he received the DSO for his gallantry during the Battle of Jutland.


At the end of the Great War Cdr Champion became ill and did not sail again until 1920. He retired from active duty at his own request in 1922. He gained certification as ‘Master of a Foreign-going Ship’ in 1922.


John Champion was recalled to service in September 1939 and in 1941 posted as the N.C.S.O. Southend, Mersey and Thames.


JP Champion commanded HMS Leigh for the rest of the war and has been quoted in several books and gave lectures after the war on HMS Leigh and the convoy system.


He was awarded of a C.B.E. and a “Letter of Appreciation” in respect of “Operation Neptune” (D-Day), he received the C.B.E a Buckingham Palace investiture on 11 November 1944. Champion was awarded the rank of Commodore 2nd Class.


John was married to Doris Mary Champion (named as Mary on joint gravestone)


He was released from military service in January 1946 and died in February 1955 aged 72.



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Main image courtesy of Dean Trotter

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