CAMPBELL, William John
(Service number 78552)

Aliases Jack
First Rank Last Rank


Date 9 May 1883 Place of Birth Northern Ireland

Enlistment Information

Date 27 November 1917 Age 34 years 6 months
Address at Enlistment Willowbridge, Waimate
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married. Married Mina Cochrane FERRIER on 4 June 1911 at Dunedin
Next of Kin Mrs W. J. CAMPBELL (wife), Willowbridge, Waimate
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9 inches. 168 lbs. Chest measurement 38-39½ inches. Complexion dark. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Eyes both 6/6. hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Free from hernia, varicose veins, haemorrhoids. Left varicocele. Good bodily and mental health. Not free of inveterate or contagious skin disease. Small patch of exzema but not sufficient to cause rejection. 27 November 1917 classed medically fit for Service beyond the Seas.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date Age
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William John CAMPBELL, known as Jack, was the son of Robert and Margaret (née BURNSIDE) CAMPBELL, both born at Londonderry, Northern Ireland. William was born on 9 May 1883 in Northern Ireland. He was the next-of-kin for his brother David when he enlisted at the outbreak of war. William and David were farming in partnership at Willowbridge. They had probably come to New Zealand together in 1908.

By 1915, Jack, his brothers David and Thomas, and his sisters Mary Ann (Annie) and Matilda Margaret (Tilly) had all settled at Willowbridge near Waimate. In 1901 they were all at home at Fincairn, Londonderry with their widowed father and other siblings. William John and David had left before 1911 and had settled at Willowbridge, whereas Thomas, Annie and Tilda were still at home at Fincairn.

On 4 June 1911 at Burnside, near Dunedin, Jack married Wilhelmina (Mina) Cochrane FERRIER, born in Scotland and some 7 years older than Jack. Jack and Mina lived at first at Willowbridge. In 1919 they were at Waituna with Jack’s sister Annie Miller and her family. From there they moved to Waimatuku, Southland. Thereafter Mina is at Balclutha and in 1946 in Dunedin, where she died at Ross Home in 1947 and was cremated.

Jack was one of many who put a bid in (15 shillings) for the picture to be sold at the Red Cross concert at Willowbridge in October 1915. The amount raised was contributed to the Waimate Red Cross Fund.

The potato crop was very poor in the Willowbridge district in 1916. Jack was a potato grower and digger, and his yield that season was well down on average. At the beginning of June 1916 friends and fellow workers gathered to farewell Mr Robert McCrea, a potato grower, as he left for Trentham. Mr W. J. Campbell, on behalf of his fellow workers, presented the departing soldier with a set of military brushes, a safety razor and a cigarette holder.

Nearly 1000 Canterbury men – reservists belonging to Class A of the Second Division, i.e. married men without children – were called up in the Ballot of 6 November 1917. Among them was William John Campbell, farmer, of Willowbridge. He was listed on the Reserve Rolls before enlisting on 17 November 1917 at Timaru and serving as a private in New Zealand. He had been medically examined for service with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in September 1916 at Waimate and found unfit, but on 27 November 1917 he was classed medically fit for Service beyond the Seas.

Consequent on his going into camp, Jack held a clearing sale of the whole of the Campbell Brothers stock and plant on 4 April 1918. Included in the sale were 20 horses (including 2 aged horses, and one pony, quiet in saddle and harness), 2 cows and 2 fat pigs, as well as numerous implements and many items of furniture. The sale was very successful, with a complete clearance being effected. Every lot met with keen competition, the horses being an exceptionally fine lot.

Next it was Jack’s turn to be the guest at a send-off, held at Hannaton on 26 April 1918. He left home on 29 April 1918. The draft from South Canterbury included 20 married men. The Mayor of Timaru, in wishing them God-speed, said that on this occasion it was an especially painful duty, because the draft included the first of the second Division men who were leaving their wives and “falling into step with those who had gone before them in the cause of freedom”. Having assembled at the Drill shed, they marched to the station, headed by the Battalion Band.

Jack entered camp the next day and a week later he arrived at Featherston. From May to November 1918 he held the rank of trooper, during which time he had a period of leave without pay, before he was promoted to temporary corporal. He served with the M.R N.C.O. Class, 50th Reinforcements. In late November 1918 he was transferred to leave without pay until further orders on Demobilisation, which occurred on 30 November.

In late May 1919 the Studholme and Willowbridge Soldiers’ Social Committee held a most successful social in the Hannaton Hall, to extend “a right royal welcome” to fourteen returned soldiers, among them John Campbell. Following the addresses of welcome, there were items, the singing of the National Anthem, supper and dancing. The chairman announced his plans to have medals presented to the returned men. In January 1920 these medals were presented to men from the Studholme and Willowbridge districts who had gone to the front. They would have included Jack’s brothers David and Thomas who both served abroad in World War One.


N Z Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5530 0022524) [07 July 2015];Otago Daily Times, 27 June 1911 & 17 July 1911, North Otago Times, 25 October 1915. Oamaru Mail, 9 May 1916, 8 January 1920, Timaru Herald, 2 June 1916, 30 March 1918, 08 & 30 April 1918 [x 2], Press, 7 November 1917, 27 April 1918, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 23 mARCH 1918, 3 & 26 April 1918 (Papers Past) [11 July 2014; 05, 06 & 07 July 2015; 30 June 2016; 14 mAY 2017]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [16 July 2014]; 1901 & 1911 censuses Ireland ( [26 October 2014]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [12 July 2014]; Cremation record Dunedin (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Cemetery Records microfiche) [06 July 2015]

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