Richard Henry Davison Chapman - Dunkirk Hero

Dunkirk War Memorial
Richard Henry Davison Chapman - Dunkirk Hero

Dunkirk Hero – Richard Henry Davison Chapman

On the credence table in the Sanctuary of St Nicholas Church, Laindon is a brass plaque in memory of Richard Henry Davison Chapman who died at Dunkirk on the 24 May 1940. The Commonwealth Graves Commission gives his date of death as 31 May 1940, it’s possible that he died of wounds. The evacuation at Dunkirk during World War 11 started on the 24 May 1940 through until 4 June where over 300,000 men were evacuated.

He was a driver, service number T/82468 with the 3 Corps Petrol Park, Royal Army Service Corps. Born in West Ham and son of Richard John and Phyllis Emily Davison Chapman who were living at Harrow at the time.

He was buried at the Dunkirk (Dunquerque), Department du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France and his name appears on Column 135 of the Dunkirk Memorial.

The question is what was his connection to Laindon? So if there is any family member or friend who can supply any further information of our hero, please get in touch.

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  • I am Clive and have two sisters, Lorna and Hilary. We are the children of Phyllis Amelia (Chapman) daughter of Richard and Phyllis, they only having the two children.
    They owned and operated a shop called, “The Lighthouse Laindon”, for many years post WWI and through WWII, moving to Norfolk post WWII.
    They presented the Credence Table to their church to remember their fallen son.
    Several of the photographs of the village and it’s surroundings were taken by my grandfather who was an accomplished photographer.
    I would like to thank our nephew Matt who has sent you the info above.

    By Clive Seager (12/02/2020)
  • Dick was my mother’s brother and his death caused heart break in the family. From what I have been told by my mother, Dick did not want to carry a gun when he went to war but was willing to be a driver. I believe he used a motorcycle delivering messages to the front lines. The lorry that was carrying him and some of his friends to the beaches for evacuation at Dunkirk was straffed by a German plane and he was shot in the neck and died instantly. His body was left in France. Before the war Dick helped in the family business with oil deliveries and rode a motorbike. He was a good mechanic which must have served him well driving in the battle fields. His family lived in a bungalow called Penryn in Laindon and had a shop selling oil and lamps. They were strong Church members hence the credance table and plaque in St Nicholas Church. During the war Dick’s father was a special constable. After the war, when electricity came through the village and demolished their oil business they moved to Norfolk and Dick’s father, my grandfather, trained as a chiropodist. They lived there until, I think, 1954 when they came to live with my parents in Harrow. My mother, Dick’s sister, looked after her parents while we were growing up. Grandma was an invalid and grandpa retired from chiropody and became a gardener at a local care home until he developed Myelomatosis, leukaemia, and died in Edgware hospital in 1957. He was in a heavy battery regiment during the first World War and was exposed to mustard gas and suffered years of fever, jaundice and shrapnel ousing from his body which may well have contributed to his leukaemia. He was only 66 years old when he died and his body was left today science and we hope he contributed to the advancement of the treatment of leukaemia today. His wife, my grandmother died in 1971 and his daughter Phyllis, my mother, died in 2008. There are other family still in alive, the Emery family, who have a family history of sailing the tea clippers, as did my grandfather’s family, the Chapmans. Uncle Dick, as he was always known to us as children was never forgotten and indeed is thought about often today. I think he served his country bravely and it was so sad he died so early in the war, so young and with so much more to give to life, as did a lot of other young men and women.

    By Lorna Hartley (12/02/2020)
  • Hi, What a wonderful find this article is. Richard Chapman would have been my great uncle. His sister, my grandmother, always spoke fondly of him. My partner and I are currently researching our family tree and wonder if you have any further insights or information on the Chapman family. Richard John Chapman and his wife Phyllis Emily used to own a general store within the area, we believe. Aside from oils and hardwares, Richard was also a chiropodist and masseur. He was also a Special Constable. Thank you

    By Matt Blake (11/02/2020)
  • I’ve found the connection. The 1929, 1938 and 1939 Electoral Registers show his parents living in a bungalow called ‘PENRYN’, High Road, Laindon.  This was on the west side of the High Road, between Victoria Road and Manor Road.  Richard isn’t included on the Electoral Registers as he hadn’t then reached the voting age of 21.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (04/03/2017)

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