Born: 1887, Stratford, Essex.
Died: 27th January 1917; age 29; KiA – He was proceeding out with a stretcher bearer party in search of wounded, as a successful attack had been made. A shell fell into the midst of the party. Harry was 1 of the 3 who were killed, his death being instantaneous.
Residence: 21, Holywells Road, Ipswich.
Occupation: a Dock Labourer.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich.
Date of Entry Therein: 19th August 1915 – Balkans.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 1390.
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps, T.F., 88th Field Ambulance.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.
1891 18, Henniker Road, West Ham, Essex.
Harry was 4 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
Harry Chapman, 32, a Turner, born Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Harriett Chapman, 31, born Notting Hill, London.
Ethel Daisy Chapman, 2, born Stratford, Essex.
William Chapman, 3 months, born West Ham, Essex.
1901 18, Henniker Road, West Ham, Essex.
Harry was 14 years old, an Office Boy. He was living with his parents & siblings.
Harry, 40, an Iron Turner.
Bertram Chapman, 6, born West Ham.
Albert Chapman, 5, born West Ham.
Gertrude Chapman, 3, born West Ham.
1911 21, Idmiston Road, Forest Lane, Stratford, Essex.
Harry was 24 years old, an Iron Turner. He was living with his parents & siblings.
Harry, 52, an Iron Turner – Great Eastern Body Works.
Ethel, 22, a Dress Maker.
William, 20, an Apprentice.
Bertie, 16, an Apprentice.
Albert, 15, an Apprentice.
Arthur Chapman, 7, born West Ham.
In 1913, Ipswich, Harry married Alice Elizabeth Madder, born November 1886, Ipswich.
They had 3 children:
Henry D. Chapman, born 1913, Ipswich.
Stanley George Chapman, born September 1915, Ipswich.
Francis Edwin Chapman, born July 1917, Ipswich.
Soldiers’ Effects to Alice Elizabeth Barber – widow.
Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury Newspaper
28th March 1940 The Ipswich Evening Star
Echo Of 1916 War Letter
IPSWICH WRITER FOUND FOR B.E.F. MAN
Nearly twenty-six years ago Harry Chapman, a young dock worker, living in Holy Wells Road, Ipswich, responded to the call to resist German aggression and joined the R.A.M.C.
Pte. Chapman was sent to France. Three times he came home to Ipswich on leave. His wife continued to write regularly to him when he went back to France after his third visit. Suddenly his letters to her ceased. Nothing was heard until a notification from the War Office that he had been killed.
On September 1st Poland was attacked by Germany, Britain and France declared war two days later, and another British Expeditionary Force crossed the Channel. With it went L.-cpl. F.E. Williams, of the Durham Light Infantry.
Shortly before Easter L.-cpl. Williams found a letter in an old house “somewhere in France.” It was tucked away in an odd corner. To his surprise he found it had been written in 1916 but he could decipher only a name and an address in it. So he wrote to “Chapman, Holy Wells Road, Ipswich.”
“I hope my writing to you will not bring back any sad moments,” he said, explaining his idea of trying to find the person who wrote it. “I hope and trust the recipient arrived back home quite safe after his adventures, and that he will read this letter of mine, too, for it will show him some of his kinsmen are going over the same ground that he did in 1916” he added.
UNTOUCHED FOR NEARLY QUARTER CENTURY
But it was not so easy as that, for all but two houses in Holy Wells Road are vacated under a clearance scheme. The addressee could not be traced by the Post Office, so the letter was sent to the Mayor of Ipswich, as L.-cpl. Williams had requested.
From the Town Hall it was sent to the Ipswich “Evening Star” and “East Anglian Daily Times.”
Further efforts to trace the writer of the letter were made, with the result that an “Evening Star” reporter called at 18, Great Whip Street, Ipswich, where Mrs. Alice Barber lives.
Mrs. Barber was formerly Mrs. Harry Chapman, wife of Pte. Chapman – she has since remarried. She now believes that the letter may refer to one she wrote during the last war.
“It seems that it must be Harry,” she said to-day, “But it is so remarkable that a letter like this should have remained untouched until another war twenty-four years later. I do not know of anyone else of that name who lived in Holywells Road.”
Her husband, Mr. Arthur J. Barber, has written to L.-Corpl. Williams asking him to send the letter he has found.
“My husband has thanked him for his kindness and trouble in writing, and told him to keep smiling while over there,” added Mrs. Barber.
“When the letter arrives from France I shall know at once for certain from the writing whether it is one of mine or not.”
KILLED WHEN 22
Pte. Harry Chapman was awarded the D.C.M. during the Dardanelles campaign.
“He was only 22 when he was killed during a bombing attack by the Germans while assisting some wounded soldiers,” said Mrs. Barber. “About nine in his party were killed. He is buried in France.”
IWMP editors note:
There is a slight artistic licence to Harry’s war record, as we could not find any Mentions in Despatches, or record for his D.C.M. Yet still a hero in his family’s eyes. RIP.
The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) is part of the British Army providing medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace. Together with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Royal Army Dental Corps and Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, the RAMC forms the British Army’s essential Army Medical Services. In combat the men followed the troops over the top into no man’s land suffering losses of 743 officers and 6130 soldiers killed, while delivering medical care to wounded exposed to enemy fire.