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Robert Chapman was the son of Henry Chapman, a chartered accountant living in Westoe, and his wife Dora.
He was one of seven Chapman brothers who attended the High School. Alan Edward had died at the age of only 15, and of the remaining brothers, Frederick Ernest, Laurence Alfred and Charles Lancelot are known to have served in WW1.
One of their sisters, Marion Dorothy Chapman also served. She was a a nurse with the Voluntary Aid Detachment (founded by the Red Cross) in Egypt, where she died of a lung infection in August, 1918.
Robert attended the High School from 1887 to 1899, becoming School Captain in 1896.
Official sources say that he graduated from London University with a BA, in 1899, but the school's records show that he was still attending the High School until 1899. It is possible that he matriculated from the High School in 1897, passed his intermediate degree exams in 1898 and finally gained his 2nd class BA in October 1899.
After graduating, he joined his father's accountancy firm, and became a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Like his brothers, he was a keen rugby player, playing for Westoe first XV from 1900 to 1908, but he also played a match for Durham County alonogside his brother, Frederick.
He was also active in the Durham Artillery Volunteers and bcame Captain in 1904 and Major in 1908, when he commanded the 4th Durham Howitzer Brigade.
Through this, he didn't lose interest in the school, and became a Governor. Later, in 1927, he was appointed Chairman of the Govenors, a post which he held for 11 years.
Robert Chapman fought with the Royal Artillery in the war, receiving the Distinguished Service Order in 1916. He was made a Colonel in 1925, and an honorary Colonel of the regiment in 1935.
He was wounded and Mentioned in Dispatches 4 tiimes, and in 1916 was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1917 he was awarded the Chevalier, Legion of Honour, and in 1918 the Territorial Decoration, and was invested as a Companion, Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.)
His life was also bound up in politics, where he was elected to be one of the first Councillors for the new Harton Ward, in 1921.
And in 1931 he became Mayor. In 1931 he became MP for Houghton-le-Spring, and in 1940 he became High Sheriff of Durham.
In 1936, following the death of his father, Robert became president of the South Shields and Westoe club in 1936, following the death of his father, a post he kept for the rest of his life.
He also gained many awards, such as Companion, Order of the Bath (C.B.) , Commander, Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) and Officer, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (O.St.J.)
In addition he was appointed Vice-Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire in 1946.
In 1950, Robert Chapman was knighted, and on 30-Jan-1958 was created 1st Baronet Chapman, of Underhill, Cleadon.
In around 1922, Sir Robert bought Undercliff, the large detached "mansion" in Cleadon Village.
He died in 1963, and Undercliff was passed on to his son, Sir Robert MacGowan Chapman, who in turn passed it on to the church to use as a home for recuperation, called St Michael's Home of Healing.
1881: Woods Terrace
1887: 6 Wood Terrace
1891: Seacroft, Westoe
1911: Inglethorpe, Harton
|Last updated: 09-Aug-2015 11:19|
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