Captain Theodore Victor Chapman - MC

Date of Birth 15/09/1897
Age at Death 19
Date of Death 12 May 1917
Service Number
Military Service 2nd Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment
Merton Address 6 Raymond Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Wimbledon Parish Church

Additional Information

Theodore Victor Chapman was the son of the Rev. Theodore Charles Chapman M.A. and Eliza Alice Barr (nee Keith) who had married on 3rd August 1881 at St. Stephen’s Church in Kensington. His father was born in India and mother in Scotland. After marrying his parents set up home on the Isle of Man where their first two children were born, Gordon in 1883 and Perceval in 1884. A third child named Patrick was born in 1889 in Lowestoft Suffolk.

By 1891 the family were living a 1 Brandling Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, with their three boys and employed three servants. The Reverend Theodore was listed as the Vicar of Christchurch in Jesmond, an area of Newcastle.

The following year their youngest child Patrick aged 3 ½ died and was buried at the Old Jesmond General cemetery in Newcastle upon Tyne.

By 1897 the family had moved to Clifton, Gloucestershire, where Theodore Victor Chapman and twin brother Alex Colin Chapman were born on 15th September of that year.

The 1901 census shows the family now living at 19 Vyvyan Terrace in Clifton where their father the Reverend Chapman was now the Vicar of Christchurch in Clifton. Eldest son Gordon aged 18 was no longer living at home, he appears to have enlisted in an Indian Army on 2nd March 1901 and served in Egypt, Aden and Mesopotamia.

Theodore Victor Chapman was educated first at Clifton College Preparatory School then in 1908 entered Kings College School when the family relocated to Wimbledon. Theodore’s twin brother, Alex, appears to have joined the Royal Navy in 1910 at the age of 13.

By 1911 Theodore aged 13 and his older brother Gordon aged 28 are living with their father at 6 Raymond Road, Wimbledon, a house with ten rooms and the family had two servants. Their father was listed as a Clerk in Holy Orders, secretary to the Church Pastoral Aid Society. Gordon was listed as a Captain in an Indian Army and a few months later on 19th July 1911 married Helen Lees Pilkington in London. Theodore’s twin brother was now a midshipman with the Royal Navy and served throughout the war.

Theodore Victor attended Kings until 1914. He had intended to train as a civil engineer but on leaving Kings College decided to join the army and entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, on 23rd September 1914 aged 16. Records show he enlisted with the 2nd Battalion, The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment) and in April 1915 he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant and served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders.

Theodore was gassed and twice wounded and was mentioned in despatches for gallant and distinguished service in the field. He was awarded the Military Cross in Jan 1916 for conspicuous gallantry at Hulluch in France in September 1915.

By May 1917 Theodore was in Action at Bullecourt, in France were British and Australian troops were subjected to continuous shelling and, in some areas, the Germans attacked with flame-throwers and sporadic fighting broke out all over the town. Theodore was killed in Action at Bullecourt on 12th May 1917 after successfully taking a position which he had been ordered to take. He was aged just 19. (.By 15th May all action had ceased.)

Theodore was buried at Arras Cemetery in France and is mentioned in the Wimbledon Parish Church monumental inscriptions book page 133 and also included in the De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour

His two older brothers who were both actively engaged in different theatres of war and were also Captains and were both killed in action. The eldest of the brothers, Gordon Humphrey Chapman, Captain of the 53rd Sikhs was mentioned in despatches twice. He was killed in action on 9 March 1916 leaving his wife Helen with two young children, Eleanor born 31st March 1912 and Elizabeth born 28th December 1913.

Perceval Christian Chapman, Captain of the 26th Jacob’s Mountain Battery joined up in 1908 and served in Egypt and Gallipoli and died of wounds on 1 May 1915.

Theodore’s parents moved to 6 Malcolm Road in Wimbledon in 1916 and by 1917 were residing at 24 Canynge Square, Clifton, Bristol.


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