Albert was the son of Harry Cooper Chapman and Margaret
Butcher. One of six children, he was born on 18th June 1893 in
Bethel Street, Sheffield.
During the recruitment drive for Kitchener's New Army, 26,236 men were recruited into the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) up to 4th November 1915. I believe that Albert was recruited during this first phase, and assigned to 'A' Section of 27th Field Ambulance (RAMC) which was attached to 9th (Scottish) Division. He was a stretcher bearer initially stationed at "Tweseldown Camp" near Aldershot for training. It was here that he kept a small black notebook in which he recorded the information given him during training. On the first page he has a diagram showing the place of the Field Ambulances in the Divisional Organisation structure.
There follow notes on various treatments for poisoning, water treatment, Bone setting and other emergency procedures.
In this notebook he listed the content of various field treatment packs, the Surgical Haversack, Field Medical Companion, Field Tourniquet, Field Fracture Box and the Field Surgical Panier No 1.
I have compiled a small picture gallery of some of his chums; one of which is marked "Happy Christmas". I suspect that some of these photographs were taken during training in December 1914 before the unit embarked for France.(Beware - there are a dozen images on this page so it might take some time to load).
Active service commenced on 7th May 1915, three days before
the rest of the 9th Division, when the unit was transported to
Southampton and shipped to Le Havre on Mount Temple and SS
Queen Alexandria. From this point onwards, the movements of
the 27th Field Ambulance can be determined quite precisely. Each
unit in the First World War was required to keep a War Diary.
These diaries are held in the Public Record Office
at Kew under classmark WO95, and that for Albert's unit is number
WO95/1758. The details available in these diaries is remarkable,
from leave schedules to battle descriptions to the treatment of
I am in the process of extracting personal names mentioned in this diary. The people mentioned are not only those in the RAMC, though obviously these are in the majority, but include local land-owners, along with other members of the 9th Division, the Scottish contingents of Kitchener's New Army and the South African Brigade:
Beware that not all the entries list glorious feats. The diary
chronicles disciplinary offences, cases of sexually transmitted
diseases, death by accident, along with mundane activities. If
you find anybody you think may be yours, I have not extracted
details of why they were mentioned, you'll have to look it up in
the diary yourself (or pay an agent to do it for you).