John Chapman was born in October 1892 in the small Somerset village of Ashwick, just to the north of Shepton Mallet. One of five children to Albert and Mary Ann, John followed his father into mining, and, by the time of the 1911 census, he was listed as a coal mining hewer.
In November 1914, he married Louisa Elizabeth Perkins from Shepton Mallet. The war had begun by this point, and before the couple had even been married a year, John had enlisted.
His background made him ideal for the Royal Engineers, and soon Sapper Chapman was bound for France with the British Expeditionary Force. He seems to have been abroad for around six months, and was shipped back to England at the end of April 1916.
John was admitted to a military hospital in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, with bronchial pneumonia, and this is what he succumbed to a matter of weeks later. He died on 2nd June 1916, at the age of 23 years old.
John Chapman is buried in the village of Croscombe, Somerset, where his widow now lived.
An additional tragedy to the loss of this young life is that Louisa was pregnant at this point. The birth of their daughter, Selina, was registered between April and June 1916, and, while I have been unable to pinpoint an exact date of birth for her, it is likely that John never got to see his daughter.