Private and police constable John Campbell

Private John Campbell  served with the 1st battalion Scots Guards during the Boers War and in World War One. Between those two conflicts he served as a police constable with the city of Glasgow, Scotland. He is entitled to the Queen South Africa Medal clasps Belfast, Orange Free State, Belmont, the King South Africa Medal, the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1903 Visit to Scotland Medal.

Private John Campbell medals

Campbell 4

John Campbell was born in Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland on March 9th, 1875, His father was James Campbell and his mother was Janet Hamilton.

1881 Scotland Census: He was living at 11 Castle Street in Paisley, Scotland. He had 4 sisters and 2 brothers

1891 Scotland Census: He was living at 105 Causeyside in Paisley, Scotland. He had 6 sisters and 3 brothers

He enlisted in the 1st battalion Scots Guards on December 28th, 1893. He said that he had some previous military service with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. He joined the regiment in London on January 3rd. He was a laborer

Height: 5’ 10’’               weight: 135 lbs.           eyes: hazel       hair: dark brown

On June 12th, 1894 he completed his certificate of education 3rd class

July 1st, 1895: He was found sleeping at his post and was confined to his room. On August 6th, he was convicted to 49 days of prison. He returned to duty on August 24th.

Boers’ War

October 16th, 1899: The 1st Battalion Scots Guards was inspected by the Prince of Wales at Chelsea Barracks

October 21st: The battalion left Chelsea barracks and entrained at Nine Elm Station. They were part of the Guards Brigade with the 1st Division. They embarked on the Nubia and arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on November 13th.

November 21st: At 4h00 the battalion started advancing toward Belmont (12 miles).

Map showing Scots Guards position before the attack on Spur Hill

Red rectangle shows the objective – Red Arrow show the path the regiment followed for the attack

Belmont map 1

November 23rd: At 2 a.m. the battalion paraded and advanced to the rendezvous point at 3:15 a.m. The battalion launched its attack on Spur Hill, near Belmont at around 4 a.m.. Near the top, confronting a fierce Boers’ opposition they fixed bayonet for last push. Private John Campbell was severely wounded at both arms and on his side in that charge. During that particular attack the Scots Guard suffered many casualties 3 officers and 51 other ranks dead, 23 officers and 220 other ranks wounded.

Drawing showing Scots Guards assault on Spur Hill

XY2-1016860 - © - Classic Vision

He was sent back to United Kingdom and transferred to the 3rd battalion on January 17th, 1900

He was sent to South Africa and transferred to the 1st battalion on May 23rd.

He received his first Good Conduct Pay on March 18th 1901

He was back in United Kingdom on August 22nd 1902. Shortly after his arrival, he was transferred to the 3rd battalion (reserve) on September 9th.

He joined the Renfrewshire police on September 8th and he was stationed in Port Glasgow.

On January 5th, 1903 he was caught drunk on duty and was absent from the station from 7:20 am until 3 pm the next day. He was fined 2 days without pay.

He was part of a detachment sent to the City of Glasgow for the Royal visit in Scotland around May 14th. He would receive his King Edward VII Police (Scotland) Medal 1903 in March of 1904.

The Royal Proclamation for the Royal visit in Scotland

Glasgow proclamation

November 27th: He was caught drunk on duty a second time and this time he struck Sergeant McLean. He was dismissed the next day.

He reengaged with the Scots Guards on December 25th, 1905 to complete 16 years term.

On December 31st, 1907 he married Rosina McKellar in Glasgow. She was a servant and born in 1884. He was working with the Caledonian Railway Company as a railway brakeman

He was discharge from the army on December 24th, 1909

1911 Scotland Census: He was living with his wife at 116 Barclay Street in Paisley, Scotland. They had no kid.

World War One

He re-enlisted in the Scots Guards on July 2nd 1915. At the time he was living at 17 Barclay Street in Paisley, Scotland. Together with his wife Rosina, they had no children.

He entered France on October 7th and was transferred to the 2nd battalion on October 26th.

January 1916: The battalion spent the whole month near the villages Meville, they were shelled most of the day but this was very ineffective.

September 15th: Both battalions were part of a major attack that was not a success. It lasted until the 17th. They were sent to rest of the 18th. (2nd battalion 16 killed, 125 wounded and 28 missing)

The battalion launched a second attack to gain the missed objective of Leboeuf and Gueudecourt of September 15th, they suffered even more casualties 42 killed, 200 wounded and 88 missing

January-February 1917: No major fighting during that period but just a series of skirmishes and artillery bombardment.

March: The Germans retrieved their troops from the Hinderburgh Line and they provoked a series of small attacks from the British on their lines. Both Scots Guards regiment saw some fighting during that period.

June: Second Battle of Ypres

He was on leave to United Kingdom from July 9th 1917 to the 19th. He was then absent without permission from July 21st to the 23rd. He was fined with 3 days forfeit pay.

July 22nd: Germans launched a gas attack that continued until the 26th. On the 25th, Scots Guards launched their attack to raid the German lines. 6 killed. 28 wounded and 132 gassed

July 31st. Third Battle of Ypres. The 2nd battalion launched its attack at around 6:30 am, 38 minutes after 0 hours and suffered less casualties. He was wounded to the head by a gun shot. He was later admitted that day to the 47th Casualty Clearing Station. He was transferred to the 57th General hospital in Boulogne the next day and then to another hospital in Boulogne on August 9th.

October 8th: The 2nd battalion relieved the 1st and got into their position to lead next day’s attack. They are going to be relieved on the 13th.

November 24th: The battalion was sent to the lines for the Battle of Cambrai and take Bourlon Woods. They suffered many casualties but much less than their previous engagement.

November 30th: The Germans counter-attacked and both battalions were thrown back in the battle in order to stop the Germans advance. They were taken out of the lines on December 11th and had a quiet rest of December.

On February 9th, 1918, he was transferred to the 3rd battalion (reserve) and sent to England.

On March 6th, 1919, he was transferred back the 1st battalion and was discharged in London on June 11th.

He died on January 27th, 1932. He was struck by and engine of a railway train at Wallneuck Junction. He had a fracture skull, compound fractures and multiple injuries to the body. He was a foreman with a railway company

If you know more information on this gentleman, please leave me message so I can add it to his small biography.

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