Bandboy Charles Arthur Chapman
Bandboy Charles Arthur Chapman (aged about 17) of the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment (near Aherla)
Date of incident: 5 June 1921 (captured, executed, and disappeared as suspected intelligence operative by IRA)
Sources: IT, 6 Sept. 1924; British Forces Missing (Military Archives, A/0909); JUS/H/257/13 (NAI); Pre-Truce Absentees from British Troops in Ireland (Military Archives, A/07304); Patrick Cronin’s WS 710 (BMH); Jeremiah O’Herlihy’s WS 810, 18 (BMH); D’Arcy (2007), 50-59; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); Commonwealth War Graves Commission; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/list-1921.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/band-boy-murders/chapman/chapman.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/band-boy-murders/band-boy.html (accessed 8 Aug. 2014); http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/mom/objectfocus/razor (17 Sept. 2015).
Note: Born in 1903 in Manchester, Chapman was one of three bandboys belonging to the Manchester Regiment who were executed by the IRA on 5 June 1921 near Aherla. See the previous note. Chapman’s remains were finally reinterred at Ashton-under-Lyne on 9 September 1924.
In a document dated 5 August 1921 and sent by the Free State government to the British government, an Irish official noted: ‘At this time [June 1921] the active service units of the I.R.A. had orders from headquarters not to harbour deserters from the British army, as some who had already been harboured were acting as spies. The O/C of the I.R.A. column concerned in the capture took it for granted that these three men had been sent out specially by the British military to ascertain particulars as to the location of I.R.A. columns. They were therefore tried, executed, and buried in the yard attached to the house [located one mile south of Aherla village] in which they had been held prisoners.’ See http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/band-boy-murders/band-boy.html (accessed 8 Aug. 2014). It seems very unlikely that these boys were carrying out intelligence duties.