Harry Percy Chapman

Census Address: 11-12 High Street, St Martin's
Place of Birth: Stamford
Date of Birth: 1898
Enlistment Address: --
Regiment: Northamptonshire Regiment
Service Numbers: Private 202267
Place of Death: --
Date Died: --
11-12 High Street, St Martins

Harry Percy Chapman

Harry was born in Stamford in 1898 and lived with his parents, William and Emmeline, and older brother John, in Austin Street, then in High Street St Martins. At school in 1911, he joined the army on 11 Oct 1916, becoming Private 202267 in the Northamptonshire Regiment. He was posted to India as part of the newly-formed Egyptian Expeditionary Force in June 1917 and sent to Palestine as Signaller H. Chapman to fight the Turkish Army at the Battle of Gaza. He was a bright, talented lad and in Palestine earned a name for himself by editing a magazine for the entertainment of his fellow soldiers.

His epic, “In Palestine — a Stamford soldier’s witty verses” were published in September 1917 as a tribute to the soldiers serving out in the desert. In a dozen verses he conveyed a tongue-in-cheek picture of life in the desert, the heat, the flies, the monotonous food, the lack of women and much more. It began:

“Where are the boys with the Northants?

In Mesopotamia, Salonica or France?

No! They’re leading Johnny Turk a dance

In Palestine!

In September 1918 he was wounded at the Battle of Sharon. The EEF were then withdrawn to Tyre and when the Turks surrendered in October 1918 he was posted to the POW camp in Heliopolis, Cairo to await demobilisation. He was home before 1 April 1920. His death is recorded in Scunthorpe in 1975.