Robert Henry Chapman of Whittlesford – Killed D Day – 6th June 1944


killed D Day    6th June 1944

Robert Henry Chapman was a Marine aged 19 years and 1 month when he died on D-Day, 6th June 1944.  His name is on the new British Normandy Memorial in France and this year, the 80th anniversary of the landings, a new plaque will be added which will tell his story and can be seen on the following link:      

The plaque at the British Normandy Memorial, France, with the QR code which tells his story.

The British Normandy Memorial is the only memorial in Normandy listing all the names of the 22,442 British military personnel who died on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.

This year from 21st April to 31st August 2024, the British Normandy Memorial in France together with “Standing with Giants” are displaying 1,475 silhouettes of soldiers to reflect the number of British servicemen who lost their lives on D-Day itself.


Robert was born on 2nd May 1925, the son of Reuben Arthur and Louisa Emma Chapman nee Day.  Louisa was born in Hildersham.  Robert was the youngest of 4 children having 2 sisters, Millicent Louisa and Olive May who both later married and left the village. Sadly, his older brother William Arthur George died in 1948 aged 28. His parents and brother are buried in the village cemetery.  His father’s sister was Alice who married Percy Overhill, who was killed in WW1.  Alice and Percy’s son Geoffrey joined the RAF and was killed in 1943 so of the 8 village residents who died in WW2 these 2 came from the same family.

Robert’s family had moved from Radwinter, Essex between 1861/71 and initially lived in Orchard Terrace in Whittlesford.  In 1890 Robert’s grandfather Reuben purchased “Sheads” in the High Street where the family were still living at the outbreak of WW2.  In the book “Whittlesford Recalled” originally published in 1977, there is a photograph of the house, and it states that this is “where the first Co-op was started by Reuben Chapman”.  The earliest Chapmans were blacksmiths but according to the 1939 Register, Robert’s father Arthur Reuben was a farmer and carrier in addition to being a Special Constable and Robert was a 14-year-old newspaper boy.   He attended the village primary school, now William Westley School, from 16 September 1929 leaving on 29 July 1936 to move to Sawston Village College where he is commemorated on a memorial plaque outside the college offices.  At the time of his death, he was too young to vote as the age for voting was 21 years.


Robert had his 18th birthday on 2nd May 1943 and joined the marines soon after.  He had previously worked at Pearce Mill in Kings Mill Lane, Great Shelford, a small water mill producing flour, grinding corn from local farmers and supplying shops etc.  Robert’s job there is unknown.



At first Robert was posted to HMS Copra, a shore-based frigate used for admin purposes for men who had not yet been assigned to a ship. As planning for D-Day increased he was posted to HMS Turtle, another shore-based frigate, but one that was used for training personnel who would be part of Operation Neptune, the seaborne assault phase of Operation Overlord. Once his training was complete, he was posted to 698 LCM Flotilla.  The LCM (Landing Craft Mechanised) could carry a tank, up to 100 men or a large quantity of cargo. Due to its size the LCM would have made its own way across the Channel rather than being carried on one of the larger landing ships. The flotilla was part of Force G which landed troops on Gold Beach.

The landing time for the British troops on D-Day was set at 7.30am, one hour after the Americans at Omaha Beach.

According to the eye-witness report of 2 survivors Robert was on LCM 193, part of the 698 Flotilla. At approximately 9am on 6th June 1944, they were approaching King Red Beach, part of Gold Beach, and whilst trying to run onto the beach to unload beach roadway the craft hit a mine and sank. The crew were taken off the LCM by an LCA (Landing Craft Assault) and whilst trying to get clear the LCA blew up and Robert was injured. He died of his wounds later in the day. Initially he was buried in Ver-sur-Mer but was reburied in Bayeux Cemetery on 3 February 1945. Grave XIV.L.13.    British Normandy Memorial Location – Column 1.

The last line on the new plaque reads, “His memory is a keepsake”.  This is the first line of the inscription on his gravestone which would have been chosen by his family.



You can find out more about the British Normandy Memorial Trust, which has recently announced that the King has become its Patron, by logging onto:  where it also gives details of how to become a Guardian.


Written by Karen Wright

My thanks to all those people, both local and national, who have helped me find the story of Robert Henry Chapman

I can be contacted at:











Guidance on voter ID

Guidance on voter ID

Voters in England need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections – this applies to UK parliamentary elections, including the general election on Thursday 4 July.

The accepted forms of photo ID are available on the Electoral Commission website.

You will still be able to use your accepted form of photo ID even if it’s out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you use to register to vote.

If you don’t have accepted photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate. The deadline to apply for free voter ID for the general election is 5pm on Wednesday 26 June.

Please note that the deadline to register to vote for the UK Parliamentary general election is Tuesday 18 June.

In preparation, the Electoral Commission have produced free resource packs. Download a selection of posters, images and messages designed for local communities and polling station volunteers to display on your websites and notice boards.

Find out more about getting ready to vote and ways to vote, including voting by post and voting by proxy, on the Electoral Commission website.

Low-carbon street lighting being rolled out across Cambridgeshire

Low-carbon street lighting being rolled out across Cambridgeshire

Newer, more efficient LED (light emitting diode) streetlights are being installed over the summer across Cambridgeshire.

The new LED lights are expected to cut energy consumption from street lighting by more than half.

Cambridgeshire County Council is responsible for more than 54,000 streetlights across the county, approximately 47,500 of which are eligible for LED replacements under this scheme.

The council is committed to making Cambridgeshire a greener place to live and work. Reducing the existing carbon usage of streetlights is therefore vital to achieving net zero carbon emissions from council assets by 2030.

Energy prices are constantly changing so choosing to invest now to cut carbon emissions through the installation of energy-saving LED lighting will also significantly reduce council spending on streetlighting in the future.

Although the work is due to start this summer it is expected that replacing 47,500 streetlights with LEDs will take two years to complete.

The new and improved Cambridgeshire Online Directory is now live

The new and improved Cambridgeshire Online Directory is now live, bringing you information and the latest events from around the county.

Via the directory you can find locations, opening times and contact details all in one place, for our Libraries, Child and Family Centres, Household Recycling Centres, Schools, and more.

There’s also a ‘What’s On’ calendar, which can be filtered by location, and the ability for you to create your own shortlist – simply browse the directory and build your own personal list of advice, services and activities.

Cambridgeshire Online Directory

Get involved with the Great Big Green Week

Get involved with the Great Big Green Week

The Great Big Green Week is the UK’s biggest celebration of action to tackle climate change and protect nature, taking place in communities nationwide from 8 to 16 June 2024.

This year’s theme is ‘Let’s swap together for good’ focusing on small actions everyone can take to make a difference to help create a better future.

Plant swaps, clothes swishes and foraging lessons are just some of the events planned across the country – find a Great Big Green Week event near you. Are you planning an event? Let us know and you could see it featuring on our county council channels!

Check out resources from our partner Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Recycles (RECAP) to encourage reducing, reusing and recycling.

Training is also available via the Carbon Literacy Project and Great Big Green Week to help you encourage your communities to be more environmentally friendly.

Funding opportunities are also available to help support environmentally sustainable initiatives in your community. Look for future funding opportunities via the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, Support Cambridgeshire 4 Community, and Great Big Green Week.

Inspiring our adult learners to success

Inspiring our adult learners to success

In a recent learner success story from our adult learning provider Cambridgeshire Skills, we meet Katy Close – who in September will be starting her Level 3 in Childhood Studies at Huntingdon Nursery.

Katy has shared the challenges and lack of confidence she faced before entering adult education and embarking on her learning journey – including juggling being a mum of five children, being severely bullied at school, and facing low self-esteem.

Now, she’s sharing her story to inspire others to consider adult education and explore the range of courses Cambridgeshire Skills have to offer.

Watch Katy’s story here.

For more information, including advice and funding, visit the Cambridgeshire Skills website. Or search and book available courses via our online app.

Second Quality of Life survey launced

Second Quality of Life survey launched

Our second annual countywide survey has launched, as part of a three-year county council led project to understand and track local views about the quality of life in Cambridgeshire.

This year’s survey seeks the feedback of 5,500 residents and will give Councillors and decision makers vital insight when they make business planning decisions. It will also mean we can see how changes to decisions and policies affect people’s views in an annual snapshot of Cambridgeshire.

The 15-minute telephone survey is run by an independent research company, Thinks Insight, and will aim to speak to 1,100 people over the age of 18 living in each of Cambridgeshire’s five district areas.

There is an opportunity for everyone to take part if they want to, with the survey available via the county council’s website.


As a key partner of Support Cambridgeshire (Hunts Forum & Cambridge Council of Voluntary Service), we wanted to let you know that today is the day Volunteer Cambs is formally launched to the general public across Cambridgeshire. I’m from Keystone, and we’re working on behalf of Support Cambridgeshire to engage with the public as part of the formal launch, with a campaign theme designed to inspire local people to ‘mark their mark’.


What is Volunteer Cambs?

would-be volunteers can explore opportunities tailored to them – searching by location or by topics that match their skill set and interests. For a specific cause that may be close to their heart, the type of activity they may be interested in, or even by the time they have available. Organisations and groups load up their opportunities and profiles directly so there’s always something new for volunteers to look at every time they visit the site. And the good causes who are promoting their work benefit by having a continuous stream of potential volunteers.


We really need your help:

We’re reaching out to you as someone who could potentially help us let your local community know about the amazing work Volunteer Cambs has done in launching new volunteering opportunities across Cambridgeshire. This great initiative will only work if we can encourage prospective volunteers to sign up. We know their contribution really matters locally and this project allows them to join a community that values their skills and energy, addressing real needs with every act of kindness. And that’s why we need you too.


South Cambridgeshire residents are being encouraged to ensure they take advantage of all the cost-of-living support they are entitled to this winter. With the weather getting colder and communities spending more on heating, the District Council is beginning a new campaign to urge residents to make full use of assistance available. Research suggests that around 25% of some benefits go unclaimed. The Council is therefore encouraging residents to check they are claiming what they are legitimately entitled to. The campaign also reminds people that local foodbanks – all listed on the Council’s website – are there when needed, and you don’t need a voucher to use most of them. There is also an appeal for residents to get energy-saving advice and find out about grants for home improvements to cut spending on energy bills during the winter. Read more on the District Council’s website.

Mobile Food Hub

A new mobile food hub, funded by the district council and run by not-for-profit organisation Hope CIC is being launched to further support communities during the cost of living crisis. Fresh produce and essential items. some of which will be free and others at below retail price, will be brought directly to villages around South Cambridgeshire to help people with rising food prices.

The food hub will visit Duxford Community Centre every Thursday from 11am to 12 noon.

No vouchers or referals are needed.

The produce is coming from both donations and purchasing from local suppliers.

Residents will also be able to buy essential affordable items.