Campbell, Archibald Thomas (Archie)
No. 17404, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 19)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Regent Street Methodist Church Newtownards
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
Archibald Thomas Campbell was born on 22 June 1897 at 36 Belvoir Street, Belfast and he was baptised in Mountpottinger Methodist Church Belfast.
Archibald Thomas Campbell was a son of James and Jane (Jennie, sometimes Jeanie) Campbell (nee Irwin, sometimes Irvine) who were married on 9 August 1895 in Donaghadee Methodist Church. James Campbell, a carpenter from Greenwell Street, Newtownards was a son of Thomas Campbell, a carpenter. Jennie Irwin, a minor from Zion Place, Newtownards was a daughter of Thomas Irwin, a retired soldier.
James Campbell worked as a carpenter and he and Jennie had one son:
Archibald Thomas (born 22 June 1897)
Archie was 3 when his mother Jennie died of lymphedema on 11 December 1900 (aged 25) in Court Street, Newtownards and, after she died, Archie and his father lived at 37 Court Street, Newtownards. Then Archie went to live with his grandmother Eliza Irwin, and his great-aunt Sarah Bell, at 84 Little Frances Street, Newtownards.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Archibald Thomas Campbell worked as an apprentice painter with Robert Thompson of High Street in Newtownards. In September 1914 he enlisted in Newtownards and joined the 1st County Downs. When he was in camp at Clandeboye he won several athletic events and he went to France in October 1915 where he served in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
Archie Campbell belonged to the fourth generation of soldiers in his family. His father, Gunner, James Campbell served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and he died of wounds in Egypt on 23 April 1917. His great-grandfather, William Fearney, was a Crimean War veteran who had served with the Royal Horse Artillery and who was buried with military honours in Movilla Cemetery Newtownards. His maternal grandfather, Thomas Irwin, had also been a soldier.
It was Sarah Bell who received official news from the Army Council in July 1917 that her great-nephew, who had been reported as missing in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, must be presumed to have been killed in action ‘on that day or since’.
Several of Archie’s relations placed Our Heroes – In Memoriam notices in the Newtownards Chronicle when his death was officially confirmed. These included his great-aunt Sarah Bell; his aunt and uncle Mary Sophia and John Askin of Greyabbey; his grandmother and aunt Margaret and Maggie Campbell of 3 Greenwell Street, Newtownards. These three notices contained the following verses:
Born unto that undying life,
They leave us but to come again;
With joy we welcome them the same,
Except in sin and pain.
There is no death, the stars go down
To rise upon some fairer shore;
And bright in Heaven’s jewelled crown,
They shine for evermore.
Just as manhood days were dawning
On the lad we loved so well,
He was taken from amongst us,
To his heavenly home to dwell,
Taken away in his early youth,
Taken from those he loved,
From serving his King on earth below,
To serve his great King above.
Rifleman Archie Campbell (No. 17404) was 19 when he died, and he has no known grave.
Rifleman Archie Campbell (No. 17404) is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Regent Street Methodist Church Newtownards and in the Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour.