|Carte de Visite
J. W. Jacklett - Photographer
160 Victoria Road. Aldershot, England
This tattered carte de visite in another example of a photograph overlooked by collectors because of it obviously deplorable condition.
One can only image how many times such historic images are thrown away simply because they are battered and seem of little worth.
What sets this otherwise mundane image apart is the fact that the soldier pictured – Arthur Chaplin - took the brief moment to place
his personal rubber stamp on the photograph’s reverse. The rubber stamp also contained his home address which greatly assisted in
narrowing down his identity.
Arthur Chaplin was born about 1874 at Leeds, Yorkshire the son of Thomas Chaplin a fitter at a wool mill. The name of Arthur Chaplin’
s mother is uncertain since in the 1881 Census for Leeds, Yorkshire his father is show living with one Jane Garth who was listed with
the household as “mistress” and “living unmarried” while Thomas Chaplin was listed as “married”. This seems to imply that the seven
year old Arthur’s parents had separated by 1881 but never divorced.
Arthur Chaplin attested with the 4th Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment when two months shy of his 18th birthday on 3 August,
1892. Just a few short months later on 10 February, 1893 he attested for regular army short service with the 1st Battalion, The Wiltshire
Regiment with the service number of 3463.
Posted with the 1st Battalion at Curragh Camp, Ireland Chaplin was granted his first good conduct pay on 10 February, 1895. On 21
February, 1899 Chaplin was posted to the 2nd Battalion and granted his second good conduct pay. For reasons unspecified in his service
papers Chaplin forfeited his good conduct pay on 21 September, 1899. His good conduct pay was reinstated exactly one year later in 1900.
Chaplin seems to have been going through a difficult period in his military service about this time since he was sentenced by a
regimental court martial – again for unspecified reasons – 21 day imprisonment with hard labor on 21 August 1901, forfeiting his good
conduct pay at the same time. Chaplin’s infraction – whatever it was – occurred while he was deployed to South Africa during the Anglo-
Arthur Chaplin had his good conduct pay restored to him on 12 September, 1902 and was discharged from the 2/Wiltshire Regiment on 9
Chaplin’s posting at home and abroad included:
Home: 10 February, 1892 – 16 September, 1895
India: 17 September, 1895 – 28 November, 1898
Home: 28 November, 1898 – 15 December, 1899
South Africa: 16 December, 1899 – 22 September, 1902
Home: 23 September, 1902 - 9 February, 1905
Chaplin was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with the clasps: “Paardeberg”, “Johannesburg” and “Relief of Kimberley”. He was
also presented the King’s South Africa Medal with its standard two clasps “South Africa 1901” and “South Africa 1902”.
Prior to his discharge Arthur Chaplin married Miss Rose Ayliffe at Leeds on 13 February, 1904.
Chaplin’s service papers were re-opened on the same day of his discharge and remained so until 1 March, 1909 when he was again
discharged. No details as to the nature of this extended service are given in his service documents.
Arthur Chaplin settled into civil life with Rose at Leeds Yorkshire where he found employment in an iron foundry, The couple had three
children by 1911 but only one – son Arthur Jr. - had survived to the time the census was conducted in that year.
With the coming of World War One Arthur Chaplin re-enlisted as a private now with the 7th Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment
on 6th July, 1914. Appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid) on 6 May, 1915 his appointment was upgraded to paid status on 28 July, 1915.
Chaplin was promoted Acting Sergeant on 13 December, 1915. On 12 February, 1916 he was granted extra pay as signaling instructor.
Chaplin served with the 7/Yorkshires at home from 6 August, 1914 to 14 April, 1915 before deploying to France on 15 April, 1915. He
served with the Expeditionary Force until returning home 27 July, 1917. He was discharged at the end of his term of engagement at his
actual rank of Private – he was 43 years old – on 3 August, 1917.
Chaplin received a Mention in Despatches for gallantry and distinguished service in the field on 30 November, 1915. Although the exact
nature of Chaplin’s act is not known it was notable enough to warrant him being awarded the Military Medal for “bravery in the field”.
He would also receive the 1914-15 Star, and the British War and Victory Medals for his service in the First World War.
Arthur Chaplin re-enlisted with the 7/West Yorkshires after the end of the war as a private on 15 July, 1920 and was promoted Sergeant
and appointed Signal Sergeant five days later on 20 July, 1920. He served apparently in a training capacity until receiving his final
discharge on 14 July, 1922.
|Left: The reverse side of Chaplin's much battered photograph
showing the rubber stamp bearing his name and address. Chaplin
and his family lived at this Cherry Street address after his
discharge from the army following the Anglo-Boer War. They still
resided there after his final discharge from the army in the early
1920s. From the condition of this photograph with its humorous
cracks, splits, stains and heavily round corners it appears to have
been carried on a person for an extended period of time.