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Walter Chappell

Private Walter Chappell, 33579, Machine Gun Corps

Walter Chappell was born in early 1897 in Alverthorpe, the fifth of six surviving children born in Alverthorpe to Ossett-born John Chappell and his Rotherham-born wife, Elizabeth (nee Gaut), who married in early 1885. John and Elizabeth had twelve children during their marriage, but six had died before April 1911.

In 1901, the family were living at New Row, Roundwood, near to the Malt Shovel Public House. John Chappell worked in the nearby Roundwood brickyard as a labourer. The family also had an adopted daughter, aged 15. In 1911, all six surviving children, including Walter, were living with their parents at Roundwood. The youngest child was at school and the rest of the boys worked at the pit, whilst the girls were millhands. Walter Chappell was working as a shale picker.

There is no record of a war grave for Walter Chappell on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission web site (CWGC) 1 for a Walter Chappell from the Ossett and Wakefield area. Walter is not remembered on the Ossett War Memorial, but his name is included on the Gawthorpe and Flushdyke Congregational Church Roll of Honour. This suggests that his home was to the north east of central Ossett The absence of the CWGC information also suggests that Walter may not have died during WW1, although he may have died shortly after the conflict as a result of injuries or illness incurred during service.

A Walter Chappell, aged 24, died in Wakefield in March 1921, which indicates a birth in 1897. The Wakefield Absent Voter list also includes a Private Walter Chappell, service number 33579, in the Machine Gun Corps (M.G.C.). His home address was 169, Dewsbury Road, North Westgate, Wakefield. However the knowledge that Walter Chappell was in the M.G.C. does not allow the reconstruction of the circumstances in which he may have been injured and there is no record of his discharge or the award of a Siver War Badge and King’s Certificate. This suggests that he was demobilised at the end of the War and did not die during or immediately after WW1.

Private Walter Chappell's army service record has not survived. His medal card however does indicate that he was awarded the British and Victory medals, although they would not have been sent to his home until after his death. He was not awarded the 1914/15 Star, indicating that he did not serve overseas until after the 31st December 1915.

A Walter Chappell of Dewsbury Road, Wakefield, aged 24, died in February 1921 and was buried on 23rd February 1921 at St Paul’s Church Alverthorpe, St. Paul's Drive, off Batley Road, Alverthorpe, Wakefield.


1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site