CAMPBELL, Colin Andrew
(Service number 16070)
|First Rank||Trooper||Last Rank||Lance Corporal|
|Date||31 July 1895||Place of Birth||Timaru|
|Address at Enlistment|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Alexander Campbell (father) Melville Downs, Fairlie|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||NZEF|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||15th Reinforcements NZ Mounted Rifles|
|Date||13 July 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||25 September 1918||Age||23|
|Place of Death||near Amman, Palestine|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Syria|
|Memorial Reference||D 75|
|New Zealand Memorials||On Memorial wall, Timaru; Ashwick Flat War Memorial (as C Campbell); Fairlie War Memorial|
Colin Andrew Campbell was the eldest of four sons of Alexander and Annie Campbell (nee Fraser) of Melville Downs, Fairlie. His early life was spent on the farms his family owned, firstly at Barmolloch Farm, Totara Valley, South Canterbury, and later at Melville Downs, near Fairlie. He worked on the farms, and also on the family-owned threshing mills in the Fairlie and Pleasant Point areas. They were a hospitable family and his life revolved around hard work and also the Presbyterian Church which was the focal point of social life at that time.
Colin’s name came up in the military ballot in 1916, but his training was deferred for a time as manpower for the farm and provision of wheat was a primary necessity for the war effort, both at home and overseas. He was sent for training at Featherston Camp where he spent some time before embarking for service with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles in Egypt.
Colin’s letters, published by Jan Tank in "To my dear mother ... and all at home : letters written by Colin Andrew Campbell to his family at Melville Downs, near Fairlie, South Canterbury, NZ, March 1916 - September 1918 from Featherston Camp, NZ & 'Somewhere in Palestine'" (2003) show how much he missed his home and family, but he was one of a generation who believed in doing his duty in the face of adversity, sickness and hardship. The poor conditions under which the Mounted Rifles lived and fought were glossed over, but is nevertheless apparent that life was particularly hard for young men from the green countryside of South Canterbury, having to fight on minimal rations with meagre shelter in the harsh heat of the desert. He hoped to return home right to the end, when he lost his life just as the end was in sight. It is clear that his friends in his troop meant a great deal to him and those who survived to come home kept in touch with his family right to the present day. His loss was a devastating one, as it was for so many others who endured this terrible and senseless conflict.
Jan Tank, whom supplied much of Colin’s biography, also recounted in July 2017:
“I was fortunate to have known Chris Howes, who was one of Colin’s mates, and is mentioned in the letters. He told me that he was with Colin when he was shot and stayed with him until he died. He gave me a graphic account of that time, and though I was only about 14 at the time, I have always counted myself as fortunate to have such a first-hand account of Colin’s death. Hereunder is a short biography of Colin, gleaned mainly from my father’s knowledge of a brother whose loss impacted so severely on his family’s lives.”
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database (September 2014); SCroll submissions by J Guard & J Tank, 27 July 2017; Tank, Jan "To my dear mother ... and all at home : letters written by Colin Andrew Campbell to his family at Melville Downs, near Fairlie, South Canterbury, NZ, March 1916 - September 1918 from Featherston Camp, NZ & 'Somewhere in Palestine'" (Tauranga, 2003) [Copy held by South Canterbury Museum]; Tank, Jan "From Scotland to New Zealand: a photographic record of two pioneer families" (2004) [Copy held by South Canterbury Museum]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Carol Bell, SC branch NZSG & Timaru Herald; Tony Rippin, South Canterbruy Museum
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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