Ashville Cenotaph: CHIPPENDALE C
Ashville Memorial Hall: Clement Chippendale, 4th Dragoons
Clement is not included on the Elmfield 1921 Roll of Honour but there was a good reason for this (see below).
In both the above cases his surname is misspelt and should be CHIPPINDALE. The Chippindale family were a prominent family both in Harrogate, Yorkshire & Primitive Methodism and there are numerous examples of their name being misspelt – e.g. census forms, war records & newspaper articles, including at least one in the Primitive Methodist Leader. This was probably due to the “influence” of Thomas Chippendale whose 18th Century furniture designs made a comeback in late Victorian times.
Clement was born in the first quarter of 1883. His father was Amos Chippindale, a Harrogate Town Councillor, Master Builder and Primitive Methodist lay preacher. His mother was Isabella Annakin the daughter of Robert Annakin, a Primitive Methodist lay preacher, and the sister of Rev George Annakin. Clement’s parents were members of the congregation of the Dragon Parade Chapel in Harrogate and we can say with absolute certainty that Clement’s upbringing was steeped in Primitive Methodism.
Clement had a brother, Oswald, three years younger and a sister, Olive, fifteen years younger. His mother died three years after Olive was born and when Clement was eighteen and his father remarried the same year. Oswald, aged fourteen, shows up on the 1901 Census return for Elmfield College, incidentally his surname is spelt wrongly on the return. Clement would have probably attended Elmfield College between 1894 and 1899 when he would have been eleven and sixteen years of age respectively.
The 1901 census shows that when Clement left Elmfield he studied to be an architect and by the time of the 1911 census he was qualified and practicing – did he design some of the houses his father built? In the meantime, in 1904, he had married Sarah Helena Ward. Her father, David Ward, was another Harrogate Town Councillor who ran the local livery stables. By the time of the 1911 census Clement and Sarah had two daughters, Winifred Muriel (b 1906) and Isabel Doreen (b 1908). They could also afford a live-in servant and were living close to the Dragon Parade Chapel at 82, Dragon Avenue.
Clement enlisted early in the Great War into the Yorkshire Hussars, a cavalry regiment. Presumably he was already a competent horseman and maybe for this reason he was enlisted as a Corporal. Records show that Clement went to the Western Front in April 1915 which means he was a member of either the A or C Squadron of the Regiment. The A Squadron was attached to the 50th (Northumbrian) Division of the British Expeditionary Force whilst the C Squadron was attached to the 49th (West Riding) Division. The latter would seem more logical but logic does not necessarily apply and unfortunately the surviving records are not detailed enough for us to be certain.
In May 1916 the Yorkshire Hussars were “reassembled” and became the Corps Cavalry for the XVII Corps which means they would have been involved in the Arras Offensive of April/May 1917. By this time the unsuitability of the cavalry charge to trench warfare had been fully realised and during the Arras Offensive they were in effect used as highly mobile infantrymen who often remained in support and were not called into action unless things were going well owing to their vulnerability – on horseback they made a large and obvious target. As the war wore on, increasing numbers of cavalrymen were “dismounted” and converted into infantrymen and this happened to the Yorkshire Hussars in August 1917 when they started six weeks infantry training at Etaples. Afterwards they were attached to the West Yorkshire Regiment and acted as the Regiment’s 9th Battalion in the last stages of the Passchendaele Offensive of 1917.
On 23rd February 1918 Clement was discharged from the Yorkshire Hussars to a commission. Back in the UK he underwent officer training and then joined the Reserve Cavalry as a Second Lieutenant. The 4th Battalion of the Dragoons appear to have been one of the constituent parts of the Reserve Cavalry. Thus he remained in the UK for the remainder of the Great War presumably training new recruits how to be a “modern” cavalryman which involved more time off the horse than on. This was probably at Tidworth Camp in Wiltshire.
There are no records available to show exactly what happened to Clement during the three years after the Great War ended. However, he does appear in the 1918 and 1919 Electoral Rolls for Harrogate but in both instances as an absent voter presumably because he was still a serving soldier – nearly all Great War recruits were demobilised during 1919 but a few hung over into 1920. His wife, Sarah Helena, appears in the 1919 Electoral Roll at the same address as Clement, 27 West Lea Avenue, but she does not have an “a” against her name to show she was an absent voter. Then in the third quarter of 1921 his death was registered in the South Stoneham district of Hampshire which neighboured Southampton. A death notice in The Times of 23rd November 1921 explains matters:-
“On the 10th November, at Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Captain Chippindale, elder son of Amos Chippindale, Harrogate, in his 39th year. Interment tomorrow (Thursday). Service at Dragon Parade Church, Harrogate, 2.30pm.”
The Royal Victoria Hospital was a large military hospital built at the time of the Crimea War on the banks of the Solent, at the time it was the largest building in the world being a quarter of a mile long. Even so to cope with the casualties of the Great War a hutted village had to be built in the grounds to help provide 2,500 beds. It was largely staffed by Red Cross volunteers and it is reckoned some 50,000 patients passed through its doors during the Great War. Besides those physically damaged it had an asylum to deal with the mentally damaged. It is reckoned half of those suffering from shell-shock were “treated” here including the poet, Wilfred Owen. It fell out of use in 1926 but was re-opened in WW2. It was demolished in 1966. There is an excellent on-line Guardian article about it which makes far from comfortable reading.
The death notice raises three issues. Firstly, the lack of mention of Sarah, Clement’s wife. Secondly, the long delay between death and interment – normal these days but very unusual then. Presumably there had to be an inquest and possibly an inquiry of some sort. Thirdly, the rank of Captain. The only service records apparently surviving for Clement are those associated with the awarding of his campaign medals. These state he was commissioned to a Second Lieutenant but make no reference to him being a Captain. It was important his rank at demobilisation was correctly determined because this affected the inscription around the rim of the medals. So there is a suggestion that he may have stayed on in the army after the end of the Great War, was further promoted and then suffered some misfortune that lead to his hospitalisation and death. More research really needs doing and even then the true explanation may have been lost in time.
The notice of his death was actually two days after the unveiling of the original clock memorial at Elmfield College which explains his omission from the Roll of Honour. Clement was buried in the Grove Road Cemetery in Harrogate (section E, grave number 1861) and is also commemorated on the town war memorial where his name is spelt correctly as: CHIPPINDALE C
Clement’s father, Amos, passed away in 1936. Sarah Helena, and her two girls, moved to north-west Wales. She never remarried and lived to be 97. His brother Oswald became a solicitor and also served in the Great War, probably in the West Riding Regiment, but survived.
A few footnotes are worth adding:-
The Harrogate Herald of 20th January 1915 noted Clement was one of 51 members of the Harrogate Cricket Club who the Yorkshire Cricket Council had been advised were serving in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
The 1936 obituary of his father, states that Amos, besides all the interests noted above, was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. The RGS was, and still is, a prestigious learned institution and Fellowships were not lightly bestowed. It was closely allied with exploration of and supported the expeditions of Scott & Shackleton just before the Great War. By this time Amos was a wealthy man and it is possible that he was a financial benefactor of polar exploration as well as Primitive Methodism.
Clement would have been well acquainted with another named on the Ashville Memorials, namely Norman Shepherd. Norman was also born and brought up in Harrogate and his father, Joseph, was a Town Councillor like Clement’s and Sarah’s were. Furthermore the family were also members of the Dragon Parade Chapel congregation and lived at 1, Dragon Avenue when Clement and his family were living at no.82. Only being two years apart in age Norman & Clement’s time at Elmfield College would almost certainly have overlapped.
I am indebted to a website set up by Tony Cheal and entitled “Harrogate People and Places” for some of the above information.