8 February 2014

Robert Victor Chapman's duplicate 1914 Stars

I picked these up on a well-known internet auction site a few months ago.  What's unusual here is the fact that the man apparently has two 1914 Stars, one correctly named to R V CHAPMAN:

the other incorrectly named to R V CHAPHAM:

The man has two medal index cards, neither of which shed any light on the duplicate. The first is incorrectly indexed as R Y CHAPMAN:
The second is correctly indexed as Robert V CHAPMAN.  Not a CHAPHAM in sight:

Despite the lack of evidence, I don't find anything deeply suspicious about the duplicate 1914 Star. I'm guessing that Robert Chapman received his incorrectly impressed Star and asked that a correctly impressed replacement be sent.  Perhaps he was asked to return the original, perhaps he wasn't; maybe his service record at the Guards' archives would tell me more.  In any event, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.  The impressed letters look correct on the CHAPHAM medal - note 1 / G. Gds. as opposed to I / G. Gds: on the CHAPMAN medal, but I tell myself that the impressing is different on the CHAPMAN medal because it's a later issue.  In any event, what of the man himself?
There is no service records that I could find on Ancestry but his number indicates that he joined the Grenadier Guards between 16th and 19th January 1912.  As he was born on 16th May 1897 (and baptised a couple of weeks later at Cadoxton-Juxta-Barry, Glamorgan), he can only have been 14 years old, a boy soldier, when he joined the Guards.  His medal index card notes that he arrived overseas on 6th October 1914 (still only seventeen years old) but interestingly there is no indication of entitlement to a clasp.  Does this suggest that although he arrived overseas he was not under enemy fire during the qualifying period?
He appears to have come through the war unscathed and on 31st December 1919 married

Ellison M Bamon at Pontypridd, Glamorgan.  His marriage certificate notes his age as 22 and profession as policeman (his father George is recorded as a baker). A son, Robert George Chapman, was born on 17th July 1921 (and I also purchased his Second World War medals in a separate transaction with the same vendor, below). 

Robert Victor Chapman died in 1976 aged 78 years.  His wife Ellison, born on 4th August 1897, survived him by nine years, dying in 1985.  Their son Robert died in September 2000.

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