No.17894, Private, Jack CHAPMAN
Aged 36

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Thursday, 2nd March 1916

Jack Chapman was born in Wickhambrook (Risbridge Q2-1879 4A:519), baptised in Wickhambrook on 19th June 1881, first son of Robert and Jane CHAPMAN (née HINDS).

1881 census...Aged 1, he was at Meeting Green with his father Robert CHAPMAN [25], farm labourer; his mother [24] and sister Amelia [6]. All were born in Wickhambrook.

1891 census...Aged 10, he was at Meeting Green, Wickhambrook with his parents (father now chimney sweep); brothers Jim [8] and Dick [1] both born in Wickhambrook

1901 census...So far he has not been found in this census (perhaps Army Service). His parents were at Attleton Green, Wickhambrook with his brothers James (farm labourer), Dick, Sam [9] and Freddie [4] and sister Mary Ann. All he new siblings were born in Wickhambrook.

1911 census...Aged 30, he was at The Duddery, Wickhambrook with his brothers Dick and Fred. All were farm labourers. It is likely his father died in 1909 and mother died in 1908.

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds, apparently in February 1915. Since he was in France by March that year it does suggest previous military service and may account for his not being found in the 1901 census.

Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment":- The 2nd Battalion, Suffolks was in it's assembly area on the night of 1st March near Bedford House on the St.Eloi-Ypres road. They were to try and retake our trenches recently lost to the Germans
The attack started at 0445 'B', 'C' and 'D' companies on the south side of the Bluff. Immediately star shells were sent up by the Germans turning night into day. Our artillery then opened up on their 2nd line, our troops already being through the first line, having taken the enemy by surprise. 'A' company on the left was not so lucky, being caught by a counter barrage before they could leave King Street. By 0700 the lost trenches had been re captured. The ground was in a terrible state, churned up by the barrages and the battalion left the line sparsely occupied while they returned to the assembly trenches. An enemy barrage continued all day, but our artillery countered effectively. A successful operation result in the recapture of all the ground previously lost, but at the cost of 250 casualties out of the 500 employed. It was, incidentally, the first operation when they wore the newly issued steel helmets (the tin hats)

Initially the "tin hats" were in such short supply that they had to be handed over to the relieving troops when leaving the front line trenches

CWGC records 53 killed, and only 6 having an identified grave. His "Soldiers Personal Effects" names legatees as sister Mary, and brothers Dick, Samuel and Fred.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Jack Chapman is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres panel 21

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