1914-18          Rayne War Memorial       1939-45
 

In Memory of

DOUGLAS PERCY CHAPMAN

 Lance Corporal 1591

1st/15th Battalion London Regiment 

(Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles)

who died on 

Sunday, 25th September 

1915.

Age 22.

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Commonwealth 
War Graves Commission

    Casualty Details      729534  

    

Personal Information Son of Alfred Henry and Alice Chapman of Virginia House, Church Lane, Leytonstone.

 The family moved regularly as Alfred was employed by Great Eastern Railway as a Stationmaster – by 1917 he was Stationmaster at Ingatestone.

 Alfred Chapman was Stationmaster at Rayne Station in 1911, at which time Douglas was living in Rayne and employed as a Civil Service Boy Clerk.

Douglas was born in Hornchurch in October 1892. He enlisted in London.

Douglas had three younger brothers, Harold, who was invalided out of the Army, Sydney (who was killed in 1917 but by then not living in Rayne) and Claud. There was also an older sister Dorothy (who pre-deceased him in 1909) and a younger sister Muriel.

 Prior to enlisting, Douglas was a Civil Servant and had achieved very high marks in the Entrance Exam, quoted as “At the recent examinations for second division clerkships in the Civil Service Douglas Percy Chapman aged 19 who is the eldest son of the Stationmaster at Rayne, secured 7th place amongst 2016 candidates with the distinction of full marks (400) for handwriting”

 In early 1915, Douglas was in Watford, waiting with his unit, from where he wrote “''Dear Annie, I enclose herewith a photograph of myself I had taken the other day. I am afraid it's not a very good one, but still, I suppose I can't expect to make much of a photo. We are still here in Watford, without much chance of moving yet. All we do now is to be inspected by various people.
Last week it was the brigadier, yesterday it was the general, to-morrow it's to be Sir Ian Hamilton, and on Monday Lord Kitchener (so they say).
Next, I suppose the King will inspect us, and then perhaps we shall be ready to go abroad to be inspected by the Kaiser. Personally, I'm fed up with inspections - it means getting up at about 5 in the morning and cleaning our rifles, and bayonets, and equipment, and then marching about ten miles and waiting ten hours to see some big pot we haven't the least desire to know. Oh! we do enjoy ourselves in the British Army.

I hope that you've all been getting on all right lately.

 Please remember me to all at Rayne,
Douglas. B Coy
15th London Regt.
The Deodars,
Alexandra Rd,
 Watford,

 The ‘Annie’ to whom this was addressed was the daughter of John Yuill who was the Schoolmaster at Rayne School. Annie was a teacher at the School and married Harold Chapman. Douglas’s brother.

At the end of the War the Register of Personal Effects showed monies were paid to Alfred which amounted to £7 17s 7d.
Memorial: 

Grave Reference
PanelNumber: 
Location:
 On Loos Memorial

On Loos Memorial The Loos Memorial forms the sides and back of Dud Corner Cemetery. Loos-en-Gohelle is a village 5 kilometres north-west of Lens, and Dud Corner Cemetery is located about 1 kilometre west of the village, to the north-east of the D943, the main Lens to Bethune road. Douglas is commemorated on panel 132. 

The Loos Memorial forms the side and back of Dud Corner Cemetery and commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay. 

The name "Dud Corner" is believed to be due to the large number of unexploded enemy shells found in the neighbourhood after the Armistice. The only burials here during hostilities were those of four Officers of the 9th Black Watch and one Private of the 8th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, close to Plot III, Row B; the remainder of the graves were brought in later from small cemeteries and isolated positions near Loos and to the North. 

There are now nearly 2,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over half are unidentified and special headstones have been erected to 15 soldiers from the United Kingdom who are believed to be buried among them. The great majority of the dead buried here fell in the Battle of Loos, 1915; but some were killed in succeeding years. 

The regimental memorials brought to the Cemetery included those of the 10th Scottish Rifles and the 17th London Regiment, dating from the Battle of Loos, and those of the Royal Montreal Regiment and the Royal Highlanders of Canada, dating from the Battle of Hill 70 in August, 1917, Special memorials are erected in this Cemetery to twelve soldiers of the 2nd Welch Regiment, killed in action on the 12th October, 1915, and buried in Crucifix Cemetery, Loos, whose graves could not be found on concentration. 

The cemetery now covers an area of 5,550 square metres, and is bounded by a low rubble wall except on the road side, where the War Stone is raised on a grass terrace and flanked by buildings. The more important of the small cemeteries concentrated into Dud Corner Cemetery were the following:-. TOSH CEMETERY, LOOS, on the North side of the village, close to the communication trench called Tosh Alley. It contained the graves of 171 soldiers from the United Kingdom (118 of whom were Irish) and five from Canada. It was used from October, 1915, to September, 1917. CRUCIFIX CEMETERY, LOOS, a little West of Tosh Cemetery. It was used from September, 1915, to May, 1916, and it contained the graves of 53 soldiers from the United Kingdom. LE RUTOIRE BRITISH CEMETERY, VERMELLES, close to Le Rutoire Farm, which is on Loos Plain, near the village of Vermelles. It was used in 1915, and contained the graves of 82 soldiers from the United Kingdom and six French soldiers. 

Douglas is also commemorated on the memorial at Ingatestone, as is his brother Sydney. .

 

Theatre of War: On the 25th Sept. 1915 the Battle of Loos commenced. In conjunction with attacks by the French Army further south, this was intended to drive the Germans back to the Belgian border. The 7th Division, commanded by General Sir Thompson Capper was initially successful in driving the Germans back towards the town of Loos. Notable for being the first occasion that British forces used poison gas as an offensive weapon, that a large number of soldiers from Kitchener's New Army were put into battle.The largest offensive on the Western Front to date, the British attack was part of a much larger French attempt to destroy the stalemate of trench warfare and break through the German lines. Initial British attack was successful, Loos and Hill 70 were taken from the Germans; elsewhere, resistance was strong and British troops were forced to withdraw.German counter attacks at Hill 70 and Loos could have been held if British communications had been more effective and reserve troops moved in more quickly. In General Reserve when the attack opened on 24th September, the Guards Division moved up to billets in Nouex-les-Mines during the night of 24th-25th September to form the reserve for XI Corps. Moving up to relieve 21st Division and 24th Division in positions between the Loos road Redoubt and Le Rutoire, during the evening of 26th September to carry on the attack against the now strengthened German positions around Loos village. The approach of 3rd Guards Brigade being caught under a heavy German artillery barrage as they moved to attack Hill 70, the attack of 1st Welsh Guards against the hill at 18.00pm was defeated by fierce machine-gun fire from the Hill 70 Redoubt.

On the 25th Sept. 1915 the Battle of Loos commenced. In conjunction with attacks by the French Army further south, this was intended to drive the Germans back to the Belgian border. The 7th Division, commanded by General Capper was initially successful in driving the Germans back towards the town of Loos. Later on the 26th September whilst conferring with his staff at Divisional Headquarters, the building was struck by a long range German shell. This caused many casualties, General Capper was severely wounded, and despite being taken to a field hospital, died of his wounds the following day.

Further information relating to the Battle of Loos in the days leading up to Douglas Chapman’s death contains the following account. Douglas was killed in the most serious loss of life the Battalion had suffered up to that point. The Battalion was acting as Battalion Reserve to an attack by 6th and 7th London on the German lines near the Double Crassier at Loos.The 8th London (Post Office Rifles) were the support Battalion. Gas had been used by the British for the first time to soften up the opposition. It had had very little apparent effect and the attack ran into fresh defences together with heavy machine gun and artillery fire. The 8th London were committed to the fighting to reinforce 7th London. They soon got into trouble themselves so two platoons of the 15th London's "B" Coy were sent forward to help carrying bombs.They had to cross around 300 yards of ground carrying about 60lbs of equipment wearing their smoke helmets which reduced their ability to see what was going on. Of the 26 men sent only four returned unhurt. Twelve were killed ourtright and the rest were missing or wounded.

The Battalion War Diary records: 21st Sept Battalion returns to LES BREBIS by motor buses 22nd Sept No diary entry 23rd Sept Battalion relieves 22nd Batt in new trench & takes over the front in W2 which was previously held by one company. A very wet night & the artillery very active the whole time. 24th Sept More rain & the trenches awful a band look out for tomorrow’s attack. During the night we were relieved by the 6th & 7th Batt & returned to a new trench near N Manor Church 25th Sept The Battalion was in Brigade reserve & moved up to our now old front line as soon as the 6th & 7th Batt had carried out their successful attack. We supplied a party of 25 men to carry over bombs, they had a bad time crossing & only 4 were neither killed nor wounded: immediately they left our front trench they came under a heavy fire from the right. A most striking event of the attack was the absolute silence of the German guns as out first 4 lines went over. There was also not enough wire cut the Germans had machine guns concentrated on all places where it was cut & our men lost heavily at these points. The gas seemed to do no actual damage & not a single dead German killed by gas was found opposite us – though without doubt it frightened many – the prisoners who were brought in certainly did not appear to be in any way affected & except for a very few oxygen respirators the only thing they had was a wad of cotton wool."
FWR  DUD CORNER CEMETERY, LOOS, Pas de Calais, France VIII. B. 14.

Loos-en-Gohelle is a village 5 kilometres north-west of Lens. Dud Corner Cemetery is located about 1 kilometre west of the village, to the north-east of the N43 the main Lens to Bethune road.

The Loos Memorial forms the side and back of Dud Corner Cemetery and commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay. The name "Dud Corner" is believed to be due to the large number of unexploded enemy shells found in the neighbourhood after the Armistice. The only burials here during hostilities were those of four Officers of the 9th Black Watch and one Private of the 8th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, close to Plot III, Row B; the remainder of the graves were brought in later from small cemeteries and isolated positions near Loos and to the North.

There are now nearly 2,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over half are unidentified and special headstones have been erected to 15 soldiers from the United Kingdom who are believed to be buried among them. The great majority of the dead buried here fell in the Battle of Loos, 1915; but some were killed in succeeding years. The regimental memorials brought to the Cemetery included those of the 10th Scottish Rifles and the 17th London Regiment, dating from the Battle of Loos, and those of the Royal Montreal Regiment and the Royal Highlanders of Canada, dating from the Battle of Hill 70 in August, 1917, Special memorials are erected in this Cemetery to twelve soldiers of the 2nd Welch Regiment, killed in action on the 12th October, 1915, and buried in Crucifix Cemetery, Loos, whose graves could not be found on concentration.

 The cemetery now covers an area of 5,550 square metres, and is bounded by a low rubble wall except on the road side, where the War Stone is raised on a grass terrace and flanked by buildings. The more important of the small cemeteries concentrated into Dud Corner Cemetery were the following:-. TOSH CEMETERY, LOOS, on the North side of the village, close to the communication trench called Tosh Alley. It contained the graves of 171 soldiers from the United Kingdom (118 of whom were Irish) and five from Canada. It was used from October, 1915, to September, 1917. CRUCIFIX CEMETERY, LOOS, a little West of Tosh Cemetery. It was used from September, 1915, to May, 1916, and it contained the graves of 53 soldiers from the United Kingdom. LE RUTOIRE BRITISH CEMETERY, VERMELLES, close to Le Rutoire Farm, which is on Loos Plain, near the village of Vermelles. It was used in 1915, and contained the graves of 82 soldiers from the United Kingdom and six French soldiers.