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Harold Thomas Arthur Chapman: Monday 3rd May 1915

Harold was born in Wandsworth.  He was the second son of Ernest Lewin, a Barrister, and Mary Nancy Chapman of 7 Patten Road. In 1901 they were living at 9 Melody Road and he had two brothers, Ernest, 2 years older and Philip, 4 years younger. It is likely that Philip was a member of the Scouts as the parish magazine for December 1914 stated that “Mr Chapman is in France and quite well”. On 2 January 1914 Ernest and Mary baptised a sister to Harold, Helen Nancy at SMM.

Harold emigrated to Australia and lived at the corner James and Dufer St, Boulder Western Australia.  He was a Presbyterian, a clerk and single.  He enlisted on the 18 August 1914 at Helena Vale Western Australia with the 11th Battlaion AIF, his regimental no. was 646.  He was 5’8¾” weighed 159lb, 36½” chest, fresh complexion, blue eyes and dark hair.  He listed his father as next of kin, giving his business address of c/o Leman & Co 44 Bloomsbury Sq London WC.  Perhaps this was done to shield his mother from any future telegrams.

He was fined 5/- for being absent without leave 28 September 1914 and left Freemantle on HMAT A11 Ascanius on 2 November 1914.  He left Alexandria on HMAT Suffolk 2 March 1915 for the Dardanelles, and was reported wounded and missing in action 3 May 1915.  His family appear to have understood him to have been wounded on 25 April.

An abortive action at Cape Hellas, landing with the objective of taking “Hill 114” and link with troops from another beach, took place 25 April – 3 May and, given the chaos, any date in this range is possible.  An officer’s diary of the time indicates many dead and wounded.

His father wrote to the Australian Dept. of Defence in November 1915 to try and find the extent of injuries.  A Board of Enquiry was held on 10 April 1916 at Fletre, France into Harold’s fate followed a letter from his uncle A C H Chapman, of McIlwraith McEacharn & Co. of Port Adelaide, who wrote to his Australian senator to try and find out what happened.  He understood he had been sent to Australia in August 1915 on a hospital ship.  Witnesses to the Board stated, variously, that:

He had been shot in neck at Gaba Tape on 4 May.
His dead body had been seen.
He had been shot in back and witness thought he died on Hospital ship.
He had seen him killed same day together with others early in morning.
He had his leg blown off and died on Hospital ship.

In the general confusion, it was not possible to say exactly what had happened to him, despite far more investigation than happened for many British privates, and he was declared dead by the Board of Enquiry. His effects were listed as; 1 watch, damaged and 1 hat band.  These were sent to his father, at his place of work.

He is commemorated on the Virtual War Memorial Australia.