No. 6649, 91st Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Died of wounds on Monday 23 April 1917 (aged 49)
Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (Grave F. 217)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
James Campbell was born on 27 October 1867 in Castle Place, Newtownards and he was the eldest son of Thomas and Margaret Campbell (nee Foster) who were married on 12 October 1866 in Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church Millisle.
The Campbell family lived in Greenwell Street, Newtownards.
Thomas Campbell worked as a carpenter and he and Margaret had at least six children:
James (born 27 October 1867 in Castle Place, Newtownards)
Archibald (born 28 July 1869 in Court Street, Newtownards)
Thomas (born 21 August 1872 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards; died 30 August 1872)
Thomas (born 7 October 1874 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Mary Sophia (born 2 October 1876 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Margaret (born 31 March 1879 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
James Campbell also worked as a carpenter and he and Jane (Jennie, sometimes Jeanie) Irwin (sometimes Irvine) 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 and Jennie Campbell had one son, Archibald Thomas Campbell, who was born on 22 June 1897. Archie was 3 when his mother Jennie died of lymphedema on 11 December 1900 (aged 25) in Court Street, Newtownards.
James Campbell enlisted in Newtownards and he served as a Gunner with the Royal Garrison Artillery. He made his will on 15 November 1916 and when he died his property and effects were received by his sister Maggie Campbell who lived at 3 Greenwell Street, Newtownards.
It was reported in the Newtownards Chronicle that first intimation of Gunner Campbell’s death reached Newtownards in a letter to the Rev Jones Whitla dated 23 April 1917. The letter was written by the Rev Munro from the Wesleyan Church Rooms in Sharia Manakh, Cairo immediately after he conducted Gunner Campbell’s funeral. In his letter the Rev Munro explained that James Campbell had been admitted to hospital on Friday 20 April 1917 and that he had passed away at 6.00 am on 23 April. He had been shot through the left temple and had only very occasional and brief moments of consciousness thereafter. During one such moment James Campbell told the Rev Munro that he was married, he was from Newtownards and he was a Presbyterian. In his letter the Rev Munro asked the Rev Whitla to try to locate James Campbell’s family and pass on the news of his death.
When Gunner James Campbell (No. 6649) died on 23 April 1917 his widowed mother Margaret was in her 70s. His father, Thomas, had died of chronic rheumatism on 18 July 1915 (aged 78) in Greenwell Street, Newtownards.
James’s mother Margaret, and his sister Maggie, lived in Greenwell Street, Newtownards and they placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle. So too did his sister and brother-in-law Mary Sophia and John Askin of Ballyvester, Greyabbey.
James Campbell’s son Archie was killed in action on 1 July 1916 but James did not know that his son was dead. Initially Archie was reported as missing in action and it wasn’t until July 1917, three months after James died, that Archie’s death was officially confirmed.
Gunner James Campbell (No. 6649) was buried in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt and he is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.