Private Sydney William Chapman died of wounds on 11th October 1916 serving in Mesopotamia with “C” Company, 1st Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. He was born in Sittingbourne, Kent in 1891. His father, Alfred Thomas Chapman, was a farmer and, later, a butcher.
The local connection is that Sydney, who was working as a butcher in 1911, entered the Methodist ministry in 1915 and became the first Minister of Shirley Methodist Church. By the time he enlisted in the Army on 10th December 1915, he was living and working in Sheffield. After being posted to the Reserves, he was mobilised on 31st March 1916, and sailed for Salonika on 16th August 1916, less than two months before he was posted as wounded and missing. The Kent & Sussex Courier of 17th November 1916 carried a letter from his commanding officer to his parents, who lived :
“Dear Mrs Chapman, I much regret to have to inform you that your son, Pte. S. Chapman, of my Company, is wounded and missing. Although I consider it would be mistaken kindness on my part to hold out any hope of his being found alive, still I think that there is just a faint hope that he may have been picked up by the enemy, but for all that, his wounds were of a very serious character.
Pte Chapman was wounded whilst carrying a message to his Platoon Officer, and which he delivered in spite of his wounds, his behaviour during the whole action being of a very praiseworthy character. I can assure you that every possible effort was made to get him away, and one of my men, Capt. Sponge, did all he could to make him comfortable; but owing to the heavy fire and to parties of the enemies advancing, was quite unable to get him away.”
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial. He is also commemorated on the war memorial at Nettlestead, about five miles from his parents’ home in Paddock Wood, Kent.
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