Sergeant Major William Henry CHAPPELL

Derbyshire Yeomanry
1/1st Battalion
Service Number:
[Formerly: 635]
Date of Death:
18th August 1920 - Died
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:

Personal History:

William was born at Buxton in the September quarter 1885, the son of William (Building Contractor) and Caroline (née Black) Chappell.  His older siblings were, George, Thomas and Edith, and were living at 97 London Road, Buxton in 1891 (Census RG12/2778).

In 1901 (Census RG 13/3269) William was living with his aunt, Annie Chappell, at 36 South Street, Buxton, employed as a "Stable Groom".
The 1911 Census (RG 14/21240) shows William Henry Chappell, born in 1885 in Buxton, employed as a: "Coachman and Caretaker to Dr. Flint" living at 1 Hardwick Square, Buxton. The Census shows he had been married 1 year and the BMD Index shows William Henry married in the December quarter 1909. CWGC Records show his wife's name as: 'Gertrude'.

William died in Leicester Military Hospital on the 18th August 1920, aged 36, and was brought home to be buried in Buxton Cemetery. 'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 28th August 1920, when reporting William's funeral, stated that he had died from 'Malaria', presumably  contracted during his War Service in Egypt and Salonika. Also: "Mr Chappell was connected with Buxton Fire Service, members of which met the body at the station when it was brought home on Saturday evening." This would have been Saturday, 21st August, three days after his death.

William's wife, Gertrude, remarried Thomas Graham in the March quarter 1921, in Basingstoke, Hampshire. CWGC Records show they moved to live at Ailsa View, Melbourne Terrace, Saltcoats, Ayrshire.

Military History:
William's Service Papers have not survived so there is no record of when he enlisted in the Derbyshire Yeomanry. His Medal Index Card gives his Rank and Service Number are "W.O./2" and "635", not 75011. However, in 1917, all Regiments in the Territorials were renumbered, and the Derbyshire Yeomanry were issued numbers from the block 75001 - 80000. [By comparing other Derbyshire Yeomanry men with similar Service Numbers it would appear that William had enlisted with the Yeomanry initially in 1903/4. When the War began he would have been recalled as a Reservist, and re-numbered in 1917.]

[N.B. In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, which brought the Territorial Force into being, the Territorial Force was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war many members volunteered for Imperial Service.]

Clearly William opted for overseas service as his Medal Index Card shows that he was posted to Egypt on the 27th April 1915 with the 1/1st Battalion, Derbyshire Yeomanry, in the 7th Mounted Brigade, 2nd Mounted Division. The Battalion embarked from Alexandria to Gallipoli on the 14th August 1915 where it saw action at the Battle of Scimitar Hill, serving as dismounted infantry, and took heavy losses [CWGC shows 23 men killed in action 20th - 23rd August 1915].

['The Hero with a Shovel' - tells the story of another (Berkshire) Yeomanry man at the Battle of Scimitar Hill.]

On the 22nd February 1916 the 1/1st Battalion left Salonika for Alexandria when the Regiment was employed with the Western Frontier Force in the Senussi Campaign, before moving to Salonika in February 1916.

Without his Service Papers it is impossible to know how much of this Service William saw, or, like so many of his Regiment suffered wounds, illness (especially malaria) or disease and had to return to England. However, he did not receive the Silver War Badge, which would denote wounded in action.

As stated above William died in Leicester Military Hospital on the 18th August 1920, aged 36, and was brought home to be buried in Buxton Cemetery. 'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 28th August 1920, when reporting William's funeral, stated that he had "… joined up early in the War. He had served in Egypt and Salonika, and on being discharged from the Army was suffering from Malaria, for which complaint he was undergoing treatment at Leicester, when he passed away, at the early age of 36."

William's funeral was conducted by the Rev. F. Morton and took place at Buxton Cemetery on Monday, 23rd August 1920. The Fire Brigade, under the command of Chief Officer Brunt, attended and his coffin was carried on a Fire Engine, draped in the Union Jack.

· "The Buxton Advertiser" - 28 August 1920

Commemorated on:

Sgt. Maj. William Chappell died after the names had been submitted for inclusion in the Buxton Memorials, so his name is not recorded on any of the town's Memorials.
He is buried in Buxton Cemetery 

Link to CWGC Record
William Chappelle's grave