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Help honour war hero uncle with monument
The family of a First World War hero have thrown their support behind The Argus campaign to build a monument to the dead of the Royal Sussex Regiment.
Relatives of Private Sydney Chappell, who was killed at the Battle of Aisne in September 1914, have spoken of the importance of memorials to those who gave their lives during the Great War.
Irene Marriott, 63, great niece to Pte Chappell, said: “He is still remembered fondly in our family.
“My grandson goes to play on the swings in the park in Portslade where his name is on the war memorial. He always says hello to great uncle Sydney.
“That’s how it should be. These brave men should be remembered.”
The Argus launched the Honour our Heroes campaign on March 24 with the goal of funding a memorial in the French hamlet of Priez – the site of the regiment’s first casualties in The Great War.
So far £33,000 has been raised with a total of £60,000 needed.
Pte Chappell, who was born in 1887 in Cuthbert Road, Brighton, was one of the regiment’s early casualties just over a month after the start of the war.
He joined up in 1904 following the death of his mother and served in Northern Ireland and Malta before being sent to India.
Having completed his tour of duty he returned to Sussex in the summer of 1914 with an Indian shawl for the family’s new baby (Mrs Marriott’s mother) and a parrot for the children.
Mrs Marriott said: “He was a great man, apparently he didn’t want the soldiers on the boat back near the children’s parrot because he didn’t want them to teach it swear words.”
When war was declared on August 4, Chappell immediately put his name forward.
He told concerned relatives: “I must go now – a soldier must always be ready.”
He was at the heart of fierce fighting at Vendrees, during the battle of Aisne.
It is thought the stretcher bearer was shot or hit by a shell while carrying the injured back to a field hospital.
Mrs Marriott’s son Paul, 36, who researched the life of his great great uncle, discovered it was a year later his family were officially informed of the death.
The area in which Pte Chappell was killed became no man’s land and his body was not recovered and buried until the end of the war four years later.
Mr Marriott said: “He was the only one of my mum’s family to die during the war so he has always been a big part of our family’s history.”
To donate to The Argus campaign visit mydonate.bt.com/ events /priez.
Cheques can be sent to Major Hudson, made out to War Memorial Fund and sent to Mr B Hudson, 29 Henry Avenue, Littlehampton, BN16 2PA.
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