The highest award for bravery in the face of an
can be awarded to members of British and Commonwealth forces is the
The V.C. was first awarded by
Queen Victoria in 1856 and since then 1,356 medals have been awarded,
with three people being awarded the medal twice.
Campbell was born in Mount Forest, Ontario, on 15 June 1867, to parents
to Ephraim and Esther Hunt Campbell.
After quitting school, he
worked on the family farm and, when he turned 18, joined the 30th
Wellington Rifles, a local militia unit.
served in the South Africa (Boer) War the 2nd
Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment. During his service in the war,
Campbell was Mentioned in Dispatches
for actions at the Modder River, where he repaired the damaged wheels of
his Maxim gun using table legs from a local farmhouse. He was awarded
the South African Medal with four Bars.
the war, Campbell returned to Mount Forest, married Margaret Annie, had
three children, and raised horses
on a farm near his childhood home.
When World War I broke out,
Campbell re-joined his old unit and was commissioned an officer. He was
assigned to No. 2 Company, 1st Battalion of
the Western Ontario Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force.
was won the V.C. for
his actions near Givenchy, France, on June 15, 1915, his 48th birthday,
making him the oldest V.C. winner of WWI. His citation, as it appeared
in London Gazzette on August 23, 1915, reads:
conspicuous bravery on 15th June, 1915, during the action at Givenchy.
Campbell took two machine-guns over the parapet, arrived at the German
first line with one gun, and maintained his position there, under very
heavy rifle, machine-gun, and bomb fire, notwithstanding the fact that
almost the whole of his detachment had then been killed or wounded.
our supply of bombs had become exhausted, this Officer advanced his gun
still further to an exposed position, and, by firing about 1,000
rounds, succeeded in holding back the enemy’s counter-attack.
This very gallant Officer was subsequently wounded, and has since
Upon withdrawing from his
position, Campbell was wounded in the
right thigh, shattering the bone. Campbell died
in hospital in Boulogne four days later from infection. He was
posthumously awarded the V.C and promoted to Captain.
was buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, in Boulogne-sur-Mer,
France. His Victoria Cross and other service medals are currently in
the possession of the family.