CORPORAL CHANNING DAY
3 MEDICAL REGIMENT, ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
MARCH 12, 1987 – OCTOBER 24, 2012
Channing: an angelic little schoolgirl who was shy but ‘always smiling’
One of the most moving stories in AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN is that of Cpl Channing Day of the Royal Medical Corps. Today is the third anniversary of her death in Afghanistan, aged twenty-five. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.
CHANNING WAS A TINY slip of a girl who was turned away from the Army recruitment office by the Royal Engineers because she was two centimetres shorter than their minimum height requirement.
She was distraught – she had wanted to be a soldier like her dad, Leslie, almost from the moment she could walk, and would stomp around the house in his boots.
But then her mum Rosemary found out that the Royal Army Medical Corps had different requirements, and Channing signed up as a combat medic.
It’s a dangerous, front-line role – you are out on patrol, under fire, most days.
Indeed, her best friend from training, Pte Eleanor Dlugosz, was killed in Iraq in 2007.
But Channing survived Iraq, and then a first tour of Afghanistan – during which she saved the life of a badly injured soldier under fire.
In 2012, she was back in theatre, attached to 40 Commando.
The fighting was fierce. Medics don’t always use their weapons, but at times the Taliban were so close that Channing was forced to defend herself and her mates.
Tragically, on October 24, she was shot dead on patrol, along with Royal Marine Corporal David O’Connor, by a cowardly Afghan policeman.
Cpl Day was twenty-five; Cpl O’Connor, twenty-seven.
Graham Bound interviewed Channing’s mother Rosemary, and her comrades-in-arms, for At The Going Down Of The Sun, and it is a great honour for us to be able to tell her story. She is the twentieth and final subject of the book.