Field Marshal Sir John Chapple

Field Marshal Sir John Chapple

The Gurkha Museum is saddened to hear of the death of its Vice-Patron, Field Marshal Sir John Chapple.

His military service began in 1949 when he was called up for National Service, enlisting into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps before being commissioned into the Royal Artillery.  Field Marshal Chapple’s long association with the Gurkhas began after he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge and was granted a regular commission, in August 1954 in 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Goorkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) (2GR). He served with the Gurkhas in Malaya and Borneo and rose to become the Adjutant of his Regiment’s 1st Battalion amongst other appointments at Regimental Duty.

In 1967 he was appointed Brigade Major, Brigade of Gurkhas and appointed MBE shortly afterwards. In 1970 he became Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion 2 GR.

Throughout the 1970’s John Chapple continued to rise through different roles and he was appointed to command 48 Gurkha Infantry Brigade in Hong Kong in 1976. He was appointed CBE in 1980 and by 1982 had become the Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong and the Major General Brigade of Gurkhas. After further service, in 1988 he was appointed Chief of the General Staff and made a Field Marshal upon completion of this appointment in 1992.

He was appointed KCB in 1985 and GCB in 1988

In his later life, John Chapple became involved in a wide range of causes, including a continued involvement with the Gurkha Museum, of which he was a founding Trustee and long-term Vice-Patron. His drive and leadership, alongside that of his old friend, Colonel Denis Wood, was instrumental in facilitating the Museum’s move to its current location in Winchester.  Ironically, it is based in the same (former) barracks where John Chapple completed his basic training some 70 years ago. His publications on Gurkha history and the lineages of Gurkha units, and his collection of badges of units of the Indian Army, remain a significant resource for historians.

© The Gurkha Museum Trust Winchester - Registered Charity Number 1169920 (formerly 272426)