Private Walter Wilfred Chapman


Walter Wilfred Chapman was born on 2 September 1891 at Chorley, Staffordshire, the fifth of fourteen children of agricultural labourer William Chapman and his wife Mary (née Lawley). The family later moved to Newton Regis in Warwickshire, and at the time of the 1911 Census Walter was living on the nearby Thorpe Estate, where he worked as a groom.

Chapman enlisted in the Dragoons of the Line at Lichfield on 23 December 1914 (No. GS/5542). Initially posted to the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays), on 6 May 1915 he was posted to the 2nd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at Aldershot.

Chapman embarked for France on 30 June 1916, having been attached to the headquarters establishment of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment following the formation of that regiment in France from C and F Squadrons and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron. The headquarters, formed in England and comprising 40 officers and men, joined the new regiment in France at the beginning of July.

The 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment served as corps cavalry to X Corps until August-September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Like the majority, Chapman was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – but some weeks later than most, on 24 October 1917. He was issued regimental number 41630 and posted to D Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Chapman was one of the many initially posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been wounded, in the right leg. Evacuated to the UK for treatment, on 31 October 1918 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was awarded a pension due to his wound, his level of disability assessed at 30 per cent in November 1920.

Following his discharge, Chapman returned to Newton Regis and work on the Thorpe Estate. The 1939 Register shows him living there, in New Cottage, with his father and four siblings, and working as a horseman. He died there on 19 January 1950 and was buried in the Thorpe Churchyard.


At least one of Chapman's brothers, Frederick Victor, also served in the war, in the Somerset Light Infantry. He drowned whilst serving on the Russian front on 19 June 1919 and is commemorated on the Archangel Memorial.


Tamworth Herald, 28 January 1950