George Chapman was born and brought up in Chignall St. James, the son of a thatcher. In a fairly nomadic life he lived in Essex, Yorkshire and London where he married in July 1883. At various times he was a thatcher, gardener, baker , and fruit grower. He died in hospital in May 1943 on the day of the 'Chelmsford Blitz.'His home was in
George was born in Chignall St. James in 1850, the son of the thatcher Moses Chapman (1819-1894) and Mary Chapman (nee Bailey) (1816-1901). His parents had married in 1844.
George's siblings, all born at Chignal St. James, included Susan Chapman (born c1845), Lucy Chapman (born in 1849), Caroline Chapman (1851-1942), Charles Chapman (born in 1853), Henry Chapman (born in 1855), and William Chapman (born in 1856).
In 1851 the census found one year-old George with his parents, two siblings and two others at Chignal St. James where his father was a thatcher, an occupation he retained in all the remaining censuses of his life. A decade later 11 year-old George, his parents and five siblings were listed by the next census still at Chignal St. James.
George was aged 20 and recorded by the 1871 census working as a thatcher. He was recorded with his parents and three younger siblings, still at Chignal St. James. However, by 1881 he had left the village. The census of 1881 listed him as a 30 year-old gardener lodging with three women of the Hoyle family at Leeds and Selby Road in the Yorkshire village of Monk Frystone.
George CHAPMAN, Civilian
Died in Chelmsford following a German air raid. Aged 93
On 4th July 1883 George married Feering-born Eliza Wilks at St. Mary's Church in Bow, London. She was some sixteen years older than him. At the time George was working as a baker and both were resident in Bow. The couple were to have no children.
The 1891 census found them living at Idds Lodge in Rainsford Road, Chelmsford with two lodgers. 41 year-old George was a fruit grower. A decade later the couple were recorded by the 1901 census at 67 Victoria Park Road in Hackney, London. 50 year-old George was then working as a baker. The couple's nomadic lifestyle was to continue because the 1911 census found them at Tottenham Road in Laindon, By then George was working as a market gardener.
By 1943 George was living at 44 Primrose Hill, Chelmsford, a property that had been home to his sister Caroline in 1911, and possibly by his parents before that.
On 14th May 1943 he died at the Chelmsford & Essex Hospital from injuries that he is believed to have sustained during a heavy air raid on the town by the German air force. The exact circumstances of his death are unclear but it is thought that he may have been struck by falling shrapnel or debris. He is commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Civilian War Dead in the United Kingdom.
He left an estate valued at £561 12s. 9d.