Frederick Hardress Chaplin

Date of birth: 12th January 1873
Place of birth: Chelsea, London
Date of marriage: 28th August 1910
Place of marriage: London
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Major
Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery
Battalion: 154th Hampshire Heavy Battery
Died: 27th May 1916 aged 43 years
Death location: Ypres


Life before the War
Frederick was the second of 5 children born to parents Frederick William (21/03/1833 – 19/08/1916)  and Margaret Lucy (nee Hardress 1842 – 23/11/1918).  His parents were married in Margaret’s birthplace, Dublin South, Ireland in 1870.   Frederick junior was christened on 19th February 1873 in the Parish of St. Saviour, Upper Chelsea, London.

When Frederick senior died his probate read:
‘CHAPLIN Frederick William of 187 Queen’s Gate Middlesex died 19 August 1916 at Norcot Sanderstead Surrey.  Probate London 7 October to Margaret Lucy Chaplin widow.
Effects £5179 4s.  Resworn £5179 6s 6d.’

Margaret’s probate read:
CHAPLIN Margaret Lucy of 187 Queen’s Gate Middlesex widow died 23 November 1918.  Probate London 8 January to Maud Agnes Chaplin spinster and Irene Margaret Geraldine Smithers (wife of Alec Smithers).
Effects £9158 11s 6d.’

Frederick’s siblings – 4 sisters – were:

Grace Anne Lucy (1871-1872)

Maud Agnes (28/03/1874- 16/08/1942).
Maud never married and she died at Five Trees Nursing Home, Ascot, Berkshire.  Maud was a member of the Guild of All Souls, St Andrews Parish Centre and is remembered, in perpetuity, at the Mass at the Guild Chapel at Walsingham on the anniversary of her death.

Olive Constance (1877).
It cannot be proven when Olive died and she is not recorded on any census.  There is a possible death record for her in 1879, and when the 1911 census was taken Frederick and Margaret stated 5 children had been born, but only 3 had survived.

Irene Margaret Geraldine (1880-1967).  Married Alec Smithers (1878 – 23/09/1949) on 4th July 1914 at St Stephen’s Church, South Kensington.
Irene’s birth date is calculated from the census forms as a birth record cannot be found.  She was born in Bournemouth, Hampshire and appears on the 1881 census as living at 50 Hans Place, Chelsea, with a domestic servant, a cook and a housemaid.  Irene was 7 months old and under the heading ‘occupation’ it read ‘Annuitant’.  This is someone who receives an annuity.  This was the address of her parents in 1871.   However the 1881 census shows that her parents, brother Frederick and sister Maud, were recorded as visiting the vicarage of John Hopkins Armstrong, the vicar of Staines.  Irene’s father was employed at the Secretary’s office of H.M. Customs.

Frederick attended the Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in Daviesite House, named after Revrerend G S Davies.  There were originally three boarding houses but as pupil numbers increased more houses were built and took their names from their first housemasters.  The date that Frederick entered the school cannot be confirmed but he left in 1889.  Charterhouse School was founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 and was originally located near Smithfield in London on the site of the Old Carthusuian Monastery.  Ex pupils are referred to as Old Caruthsians, or OCs.  The school moved to Godalming in 1872 and is still located here.

By the time that the 1891 census was taken Frederick and his family were living at 3 Emperor’s Gate, South Kensington.  His father was still working with H. M. Customs and Frederick was a student in electrical engineering.   Also living with the family was a domestic nurse, a cook and a servant.

On 9th April 1891 Frederick was admitted as a student into the Institution of Electrical Engineers.  He spent one year at the electrical engineering firm Messrs Ferranti Ltd.  5 years were spent as Chief Assistant at Portsmouth Corporation Electric light station before working as the Borough Electrical Engineer to the  Southampton Corporation.  The electric light station opened in 1888 and the first electric streetlights were switched on in 1889.

On 25th May 1899 he became an Associate Member of the Institution.

Frederick’s parents and sister Maud were recorded on the 1901 census as now living at 31 Emperor’s Gate, his father was now retired.  Frederick was not recorded on a census for this year but he may have been in South Africa with the Imperial Yeomanry.

Frederick married Frances Tompkins (1860 – 09/06/1926) on 28th August 1910.  The wedding took place in the parish of St John’s, Notting Hill, London.

The 1911 census shows that they were living at 69 Anglesea Road, Shirley, Southampton.  Frederick was a Major and Adjutant at the Hampshire Royal Garrison Artillery.  By 1916 they had moved to Point Out Farm, Winchester Road, Southampton.  Frederick’s parents were still living at 31 Emperor’s Gate with his sisters, Maud and Irene and a butler, cook, Lady’s maid and a housemaid.


Military History
Prior to the First World War Frederick served in the 39th Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry, in South Africa.  The Imperial Yeomanry was a cavalry regiment made up of British volunteers, based on members of standing Yeomanry regiments.  However many of the them were middle and upper class English volunteers.  The regiment was officially created on 24th December 1899 and disbanded in 1908, and was mainly involved in the Second Boer War.

Service records for Frederick in WW1 (reference WO 374/13189) are held at The National Archives at Kew but have not yet been digitised.  They can be ordered in paper form by emailing the Archives to request a quote for the cost of copying and sending the documents.

When the First World War broke out Frederick was stationed at Weymouth, Dorset with the Royal Garrison Artillery.  On 30th April 1916 he was sent to France with the 154th Hampshire Heavy Battery.

Frederick died on 27th May 1916 and the entry for De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour read:
‘CHAPLIN, FREDERICK HARDRESS, Major, 154th Hampshire Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, only s. of Frederick William Chaplin, of 187 Queen’s Gate, London, S.W., by his wife, Margaret Lucy, dau. of the late John Francis Waller, of Dublin, LL.D: b. London 12 Jan 1873; educ. Tyttenhangar Lodge, near St Albans, and Charterhouse, where he was in Daviesite’s House; obtained a commission in the Hampshire Garrison Artillery (T.F.); went to South Africa in 1901 with the Wemyss’ Horse; was invalided home after severe enteritis; was appointed Adjutant to the Hampshire Garrison Artillery on his recovery; 22 March 1909, having held a commission in the same artillery previous to going to South Africa; subsequently raised a heavy battery, which he commanded for eight years.  On the outbreak of war he was stationed in Weymouth; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 30 April 1916, and died of heart failure 27 May following, by his guns at Ypres.  Buried Brandehoek Cemetery, near Ypres.  He m. in 1910, Frances, dau. of the Rev. Charles Russell Tompkins, Vicar of St Peter’s Church, Southsea, formerly of the Royal Navy’

He was awarded the Victory and the British War Medals.

There are a number of entries in the London Gazette for Frederick:

May 1st 1900
1st Hampshire (Southern Division, Royal Garrison Artillery, The undermentioned Second Lieutenant to be Lieutenant: –
F.H.Chaplin. Dated 2nd May 1900′

September 6th 1901
‘1st Hampshire (Southern Division, Royal Garrison Artillery), Lieutenant F.H.Chaplin to be Captain. Dated 7th September 1901.’

March 11th 1902
‘To be Captains, with temporary rank of Captain in the Army: –
Captain F.H.Chaplin, 1st Hampshire Volunteer Artillery.  Dated 11th February 1902′

March 18th 1902
‘The undermentioned officers are seconded for service with The Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa: –
1st Hampshire Captain F.H.Chaplin.  Dated 11th February 1902.’

April 3rd 1903
‘Reserve of Officers.  To be Lieutenants: –
Captain Frederick Hardress Chaplin, 1st Hampshire Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers)’

March 24th 1905
‘Volunteer Corps.  1st Hampshire; Supernumerary Captain (Honorary Lieutenant in the Army) F.H.Chaplin is absorbed into the establishment.  Dated 25th March 1905.’

October 27th 1908
‘Royal Garrison Artillery.  Hampshire; Captain (Lieutenant, Reserve of Officers) Frederick Hardress Chaplin, from the 1st Hanpshire Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers), to be made Major.  Dated 1st April 1908.’

May 4th 1909
‘Royal Garrison Artillery, Hampshire; Major Frederick Hardress Chaplin to be Assistant Adjutant, under the conditions of paragraph 359. Territorial Forces Regulations.  Dated 22nd March 1909.’

 Frederick is buried in Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium, grave reference  II. C. 3.   The cemetery is located west of Ieper town centre on the road to Poperinge.  It was started in May 1915 during the second Battle of Ypres.   It was closed in July 1917 when the New Military Cemetery was opened.  For most of the war Brandhoek was the location of field ambulances and because it was safe distance from German artillery was a good position to treat the wounded.

‘Major F H Chaplin
Royal Garrison Artillery
27th May 1916
One of God’s Gentlemen ‘ 

He is also remembered with honour at the Charterhouse School Chapel, which was consecrated in 1927  and is the largest war memorial in England commemorating nearly 700 pupils who died in the First World War and almost 350 from the Second World War.

Frederick’s name is inscribed on the left hand panel of a beautiful ornate plaque, which is on the wall of St John’s Church, Gloucester Road, London.  The inscription reads:


St-S-plaque-1Remember them   O GOD for goodSt-S-plaque-2
And bring them   Into Glory through
The Sufferings    And death of
the Captain of   our Salvation

Unto GOD’S   Gracious Mercy
we commit them   the LORD bless
them & keep them   The LORD lift up
the light of his    countenance upon 
Them & give them   Peace both now
And for evermore

IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918

The photographs of the memorial plaque on the wall of St Stephen’s Church are the copyright of Mr Michael Allbrook at He has given his kind permission for us to use the photographs and wording in telling Frederick’s story.


Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published: 3rd November 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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