William Allan Chapple was born in July 1864 in Alexandra, New Zealand. After earning his bachelor’s degrees in both medicine and surgery in 1890, Chapple married an American, Sarah Douglas Turnbull, in 1891. He obtained his Doctorate in medicine in 1899. William and Sarah had four surviving children, all daughters – Louisa (born 1892 and known as Isa), Nelca (born 1894) Elizabeth (born 1896 and known as Ella) and Jean (born 1900).
From 1902 to 1905, Dr Chapple stood several times for a seat in the Parliament of New Zealand. He succeeded in a June 1908 by-election, but lost his seat in the general election four months later. Having failed to keep his position in New Zealand, Dr Chapple moved his family to England and stood for parliament there. In 1910 he became Liberal MP for Stirlingshire, and served until 1918.
During the First World War, Chapple campaigned vigorously in support of the state registration and formal training of nurses. He was supported in this by the Royal College of Nursing, but strongly opposed by the London Hospital (which at that time had a monopoly over the training of nurses), as well as by many in Parliament. His resolve did not waiver, however, and In December 1919, the Nurses Registration Bill was passed.
Having lost his Stirlingshire seat in 1918, Chapple became MP for Dumfriesshire in 1922, holding the seat for two years until the general election of 1924. Twelve years later, in mid-October, Dr Chapple passed away in Paddington, London.