CHAPMAN [MURKIN], George William Chapman

No.T/21502, Driver, George CHAPMAN
Aged 31

152nd Company, 18th Divisional Train, Army Service Corps
Died on Friday 25th June 1915

George William Chapman MURKIN, born in 1880 in Wickhambrook (Risbridge Q1-1880 4a:548) apparently the son of James CHAPMAN and Mary Ann MURKIN. It appears his father married Mary Ann E MURKIN in 1883

He was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Wickhambrook as George William Chapman MURKIN, mother Mary Ann MURKIN, on 28th April 1880

1881 census...Aged 1 he was at Meeting Green, Wickhambrook with his uncle William GOULT [44]farm labourer and his wife Ann and their 4 children. Possibly it is his mother was the Mary Ann Murkin [20] born Wickhambrook, a domestic servant in Wilberforce Road, Hornsey. His father was at homne with his parents (Josiah, a farmer, and Florence Chapman) at 13 Ousden Road, Dalham, aged 18, a farm hand born Ashley.

1891 census...Aged 11, (now recorded as William Chapman), born Wickhambrook he was at Dunstall Green Road, Ousden with his parents James CHAPMAN, [28] born Ashley and Mary Ann [30] born Wickhambrook, sisters Helena [7], Agnes [1] and an un-named girl [3 week](she is Violet A) and brother Frederick J [3]. All his siblings were born in Ousden.

1901 census...Aged 21, a barman, he was at the Fountain Inn, Drapery Row, Newmarket. His parents were at Mill Lane, Ousden (mother now recorded as Ellen, father a farmer);brothers Frederick J [13], Gerald Sidney [8] born Wickhambrook and Roger J [2]; sisters Agnes, Violet A [3], Rose H[6],Daisy [4] and Grace L.A. [4 months] All the children except Gerald, were born in Ousden.

In Fenton, Staffordshire on 7th October 1906 he married Martha Elizabeth THORLEY [24-10-1887]. They had three children, Thomas William 1908, Doris born 26th August 1910 and Frederick James, born 22nd June 1912, all born in Stoke on Trent.

1911 census...Aged 31, a kiln labourer, he was at 52 Adelaide Street, Fenton, Stoke on Trent with his wife Martha [25] and daughter Doris [8 months] both born in Fenton. Their son Thomas was born and died in 1908, Doris died in 1911.

His younger brother Roger James Chapman died in Belgium in 1917. see here

He enlisted in and was resident in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.
He first enlisted on 6th May 1903, at March, in the Suffolk Regiment No.4684, giving his age as 22 years 2 months, a labourer from Ousden, Suffolk. At his medical on 7th May in Cambridge he was 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm)tall, weighed 120 lbs (54.6 kg), chest 32.5" to 34.5" (82.6 to 87.6 cm), grey eyes, light brown hair, C of E.
Posted to depot, he then was posted to the 1st Battalion on 21st August 1903 but discharged at Colchester as medically unfit for further service on 28th September 1903, a service of 146 days. He had given his next of kin his parents, father, James CHAPMAN and mother, Mary Ann CHAPMAN of Ousden.

Undeterred he enlisted in London on 30th December 1903 in the Army Service Corps No. T.21502, giving his age as 20 years, a labourer from Ousden, Newmarket. He was 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm)tall, weighed 124 lbs (56.4 kg) chest 35.5" to 37.5" 90.2 to 95.3 cm), grey eyes, fair hair, C of E. Joining at Aldershot on 30th December 1903, he was transferred to the Reserves on 29th Dec 1905.
Mobilised at Woolwich on 6th August 1914, he joined the British Expeditionary Force in France on 15th August 1914, but was injured, admitted to hospital on 22nd August 1914 and sent back to England on 29th August 1915. In England he was eventually discharged as no longer physically fit for service on 7th May 1915. He recorded his family in Ousden as father James,mother Mary Ann, sisters Ellen, Amelia, Agnes, Violet, Rose, Daisy and Grace, and brother Frederick, Rodney (Roger) and Sidney.

His Army records show that on his death his family were sent his medals in 1920, the 1914 Star, War medal and Victory medal
In 1920 according to a form signed by his wife, she and their son Frederick (their daughter Doris had died) were living 26 Franklyn Street, Hanley. She was granted a pension of 15 shillings per week for herself and child. His parents were still in Ousden.
On his discharge papers his age of 34 years 2 months has been altered to 31 years 3 months and his intended place of residence on discharge was to be 38 Market Street, Fenton, Stoke on Trent.
His injury was deemed by a court of enquiry to be caused by a fall off a wagon and not his fault. Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot recorded that he suffered from traumatic epilepsy. He told the enquiry that he was on a wagon, lifting a box, with his foot on the side- he slipped and fell and knew no more until he came to in hospital a few hours later- he was in hospital 3 weeks and was perfectly well except for a scalp wound and two fits- then sent to Cambridge Hospital at Aldershot for 6 weeks where he had about 5 fits- then sent to Earls Colne where he has had many fits. He stated in hospital that there was no epilepsy in the family and that he has never had fits before.
An Army letter in 1916 acknowledges his death on 25th June 1915. He was the George W Chapman who died at 35 Market Street, Fenton, death registered Stoke on Trent Q2-1915 6B:296, aged 32, from Traumatic Pachymeningitis and Jacksonian Epilepsy Syncope. He was buried in Fenton Cemetery, Stoke on Trent, block 56, grave 4106 on 29th June 1915.

On November 16th 2018, thanks to help from "In from the Cold", he was recognised on the National Book of Remembrance.

© Jonathan Hutchins, licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

George Chapman is buried in Fenton Cemetery, Stoke on Trent, block 56, grave 4106

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details