Faces of Tamworth | Bob Chapman volunteers his time with RSL Sub-branch

AFTER more than two decades moving around with the Army, Bob Chapman decided to settle in Tamworth to raise his family nearly three decades ago.

The community stalwart and devout volunteer still gives 50 per cent of his time to serving the Tamworth RSL Sub-branch as president. 

If you’ve ever been to any of Tamworth’s Anzac Day celebrations, chances are you’ve seen the city’s much-loved Mr Chapman.

The Leader caught up with him to share his story.

Mr Chapman was born in Gunnedah, grew up in Boggabri and joined the Army as a 19-year-old in 1969.

Bob Chapman.

Bob Chapman.

“I thought Boggabri was a little old town and I thought I’d like to see the world,” he said.

“Rather than joining the Navy, I thought I’d join the Army.”

Mr Chapman undertook his 12-week Army recruit training at Kapooka in Wagga Wagga, before heading to Victoria to be trained as a tank driver. 

In November 1969, Mr Chapman joined the 3rd Calvary Regiment in Sydney as the supplying squadron in Vietnam.

On July 8 the following year, he was a Corporal Crew Commander to the 3rd Calvary Regiment in Vietnam.

“After exactly 12 months to the day, on July 22, 1971, I was posted back here to Tamworth with the Hunter River Lancers,” Mr Chapman said. 

In October of that year, he married his now-wife Cindy.

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Mr Chapman spent three years in Tamworth before being posted to Townsville.

In 1978, he left there to take up a Sergeant Instructor Position at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra.

He left there at the end of 1980 and posted as a training warrant officer to the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse Regiment in Victoria.

At the end of 1982, Mr Chapman was posted to the 3rd/4th Calvary Regiment in Enoggera, Brisbane.

After a year, he headed to the Land Warfare Centre at Canungra in Queensland. 

At the end of 1985, he was posted to the Land Warfare Centre at Singleton Army Camp, before taking up his last post as the Regent Sergeant Major of the e 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers in Tamworth in 1988.

He’s stayed here ever since.

“In 1991 on the 1st of December, after 22 years, I retired,” Mr Chapman said.

“I also wanted my family to grow up up in Tamworth.”

Bob Chapman.

Bob Chapman.

When he left the Army, Mr Chapman worked in the jail system for 7.5 years.

He became a committee member of the Tamworth RSL Sub-branch in 1998, and since 2005, with the exception of two years, has been in that role ever since.

Mr Chapman has an adult son and daughter, and is a grandfather to two grandsons and two granddaughters.

When he’s not volunteering his time, Mr Chapman still goes to the gym three days a week, and loves to fish. 

So, why’d he choose Tamworth all those years ago?

“We decided to stay in Tamworth because I believe it’s a city that’s going places, and somewhere we all enjoy,” he said.

“It’s big enough, but not too big.”