James Keith Chapman was born in 1919, the son of Harry Keith Chapman (1891-1973) and Hazel McGowan (1893-1988) of Gagetown. He was educated at the Gagetown Grammar School, the Provincial Normal School, the University of New Brunswick, and at King’s College, university of London where he earned a Doctorate in British Imperial History. Young Jim had a sister, Irene, and a brother, Charles.
In 1941 he married Rhoda Wilson at Fredericton. During World War II, Chapman served five and half years in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a navigator with two years on a torpedo squadron overseas. The medals featured in this entry belonged to James Chapman and are, left to right: 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (the maple leaf bar denotes 60 days service outside of Canada), War Medal 1939-45.
After the war he and Rhoda settled at Fredericton in 1946. He joined the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick in 1954 and later served a term as its chairman. He retired in 1984, becoming Professor Emeritus in 1985 and received an Honourary Doctorate from Mount Allison University in 1984.
During his academic career and since retirement, Dr. Chapman devoted his time to gardening and writing. He wrote a number of historical articles and several books, most notably the River Boy series, which recounted the stories of his youth and war years. Of note to Queens County Heritage, he very generously penned Gagetown: As We Were in 1987 and The Mount House on Mount Ararat Farm in 1989. Dr. Chapman died in 1999.
For more information about Dr. Chapman’s life and military service, contact Queens County Heritage at email@example.com.