THE BODY of an elderly man pulled out of the Thames may be that of missing Chelsea Pensioner Kenneth Chapman.
Police were called at 10am on Friday last week to reports of a body in the Thames near HMS Belfast. Officers believe they know the identity of the man, whose next of kin have been informed.
A police spokesman said: "A post mortem examination took place at Poplar Mortuary but formal identification is yet to be made. The death is not being treated as suspicious. One line of inquiry is that he may be Kenneth Chapman.”
The missing Chelsea Pensioner had been preparing for the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital Chelsea at the time of his disappearance. During the extensive search and the appeal for information over his whereabouts and last movements, there was a huge surge of well wishers on the Royal Hospital Chelsea Facebook page.
The appeal for information about Mr Chapman, 72, who was reported missing on June 4 from the hospital, was shared a staggering 10,946 times on the social networking site. He was last seen at St Thomas’s Hospital on Friday May 31 for a routine check-up.
Writing on the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s Facebook page, Kenneth’s daughter Emma Chapman talked about how she spoke to him only the week before he went missing as he was practising for the parade. An event, she says, he would never have wanted to miss. She wrote: “Thank you so much everyone, you have put my faith back in human nature.”
The hospital confirmed that Mr Chapman had died. A spokeswoman said: “We are all deeply saddened by the passing of Kenneth Chapman and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, with whom we are in contact. We have informed all of the Chelsea Pensioners. We do not have any further details at this stage but would like to thank you all for the support and generosity that you have shown.”