b. 07/01/1843 Allahabad, India. d. 13/12/1905 Westward Ho!, Devon.
George Nicholas Channer (1843-1905) was born on 7th January 1843 in Allahabad, India, the son of Colonel George Girdwood Channer, and his wife, Susan Kendall, a daughter of a vicar in Cornwall. He was educated back in England at Truro Grammar School and Cheltenham College, and he entered service as an Ensign in the Bengal Infantry. Promoted to Lieutenant in 1861, and he served in the Umbeyla Expedition on the North West Frontier of India 1863-1864. He then served in the Lushai Expedition 1870-1871, the Malay Peninsula 1875-1876, and the capture of Bukit Pass and stockades, being mentioned in despatches, and thanked by the Government of India and the Colonial Office.
It was while he was in the Malay Peninsula that he was awarded the VC (London Gazette, 12th April 1876) for an act of gallantry on 20th December 1875. On that day, he was the first man to jump into the enemy’s stockade, to which he had been despatched with a small party of the 1st Gurkha Light Infantry, in order to gather intelligence on the enemy’s strength and position. Channer managed to get around the back of the enemy’s position without detection, and was able to motion for his men to follow him into the stockade. Channer and his men proceeded to take the position without the loss of considerable life.
Channer was invested with his medal in India in 1876, though it is unknown by whom. He next saw service in the Jowaki Afridi Expedition in 1877-1878, for which he obtained another clasp to his campaign medal. He served in the Afghan War of 1878-1880, being present at the capture of Peiwar Kotal. In 1888, he commanded the 1st Brigade in the Black Mountain Expedition. He was mentioned in despatches and was created Companion of Bath. In the Chitral Campaign of 1895, he commanded the Reserve Brigade. He was awarded a Good Service Pension in 1893, and was promoted to Major-General later that year.
Channer had married in 1878, Annie Isabella, daughter of J.W. Watson of Shooter’s Hill, by whom he had six sons (two of whom died young), and four daughters. General Channer died on 13th December 1905, aged 62 at Westward Ho! Devon. He was buried in East-the-Water Cemetery, Bideford, Devon. His medals were sold at Dix Noonan Webb on 22nd July 2016 for a hammer price of £200,000 and were purchased by the Ashcroft Trust and are displayed in the Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: EAST-THE-WATER CEMETERY, BIDEFORD, DEVON. SECTION C GRAVE 505
Terry Cooling – Image of Channer VC’s grave in Bideford, Devon.
Thomas Stewart – Image of Channer’s VC group at the Imperial War Museum, London.