Ernest Chappell

Born: 1899
Died: 31 August 1918
Service number: 33862
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Second Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment
Family information: Only child of Alonza and Florence Chappell of Tingley, late of Alverthorpe

War service

Signaller Ernest Chappell was killed in action, aged 19, in the Pas-de-Calais region of France between Arras and Cambrai. He enlisted in Wakefield and went to France only a few months before he was killed. In the Wakefield Express Saturday, September 28th 1918 under the page 3 heading of “Local Hero in the Great War” was a photo of “Signaller ERNEST CHAPPELL, Tingley, West Riding Regt. (killed).” He was entitled to two separate campaign medals – British War Medal; Victory Medal – according to his Medal Index Card from the National Archives.

Alonza Chappell, his father (a wool spinner by trade), had also joined the army in 1918 (when he was 42), and returned to his unit in Ripon after only a few days’ compassionate leave. He served in the Labour Corps; Private 563679. He died in 1924 and is buried at St Paul’s churchyard and cemetery, Alverthorpe, Wakefield. On his (and his wife’s) gravestone there is a memorial inscription to their son, Ernest Chappell.

Family story

Ernest Chappell was the only child of Alonza and Florence Chappell (nee Whitehead), Old White Bear Inn, Tingley (originally of Dewsbury Road, Ossett, later of Alverthorpe Road). He was an apprentice printer at the “Wakefield Express” Office, Wakefield, and may have secured this job via my Grandfather – James Shuttleworth - who was a long-established printer at the Wakefield Express and who was married to Ernest Chappell’s cousin, Lilian (nee Walker).

In the Wakefield Express Saturday, 28 September 1918 was the following entry:

ROLL OF HONOUR CHAPPELL – In ever loving memory of Signaller Ernest Chappell, West Riding Regt., killed in action 31 August 1918, only and dearly loved son of Mr and Mrs Chappell, Old White Bear Inn, Tingley. We long for household voices gone, For vanished smiles we long; But God has lead our dear one on, And He can do no wrong.- From Father, Mother, and Friend Eliza, with many thanks for all letters and expressions of sympathy received.

[note: “Eliza” may have been his girlfriend]

Ernest Chappell’s mother, Florence (“Florrie”) later ran a fish and chip shop in Alverthorpe and lived in the village until her death in 1952. She is buried with her husband Alonza (they married in 1898) in St Paul’s churchyard, Alverthorpe.

Story submitted by Neil Shuttleworth.

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