Campbell, John Bennett (John)
No. 7012451, 43rd (2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment) Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps, R.A.C.
Died of wounds on Monday 7 August 1944 (aged 27)
La Bigne Churchyard, Calvados, France
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church (St. Mark’s)
Harpenden Methodist Church, Hertfordshire
John Bennett Campbell (known as John) was born on 16 February 1917 in Meeting Street, Donaghadee and he was a son of James and Margaret (Maggie) Campbell (nee Reid) who were married on 21 May 1915 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Mark’s). James Campbell (aged 23), then stationed at Clandeboye, was a son of James Campbell, a sailor. Maggie Reid (aged 20), a spinster from Front Shuttlefield, Newtownards, was a daughter of Samuel James Reid, a labourer.
When John Campbell was born, his father, James, was serving as a Rifleman with the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (No. 105) in France. Rifleman James Campbell (No. 105) was killed in action on 16 August 1917 at Langemarck when John was just six months old.
[A family source has stated that Maggie Reid had previously been married to George McAlpine and they had a son named George. A family source has also stated that James and Maggie Campbell (nee Reid) had a second son named Frederick.]
Maggie Campbell (nee Reid) and John Graham were married on 10 October 1919 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office. John Graham from 4 Wallace’s Street No. 2, Newtownards was a son of James Graham, a labourer. Maggie Campbell (nee Reid) from 16 West Street, Newtownards was a daughter of Samuel James Reid, a labourer.
[A family source has stated that John and Maggie Graham (formerly Campbell, nee Reid) had eight children:
James (born 1920; died in infancy)
Matilda (born 1921)
James (born 1923)
Agnes (born 1925)
Hugh (born 1927)
Martha (born 1929
William (Bill, born 1932)
Daniel (Danny, born 1933)]
John Bennett Campbell was the husband of Olive Campbell (nee Hutton) of Cowper Road, Harpenden in Hertfordshire. Their marriage was registered in the first quarter of 1941 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire and they had one child, Margaret R. Campbell, whose birth was registered in the fourth quarter of 1941 in St. Albans.
John Bennett Campbell joined the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1934 and when he died he was with the 43rd (2nd/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment) Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps, RAC. Having seen service in China, Palestine and elsewhere, Trooper John Bennett Campbell (No. 7012451) died of wounds just ten days before completion of ten years’ service.
Trooper John Bennett Campbell (No. 7012451) was 27 when he was killed during the Allied thrust southwards from Caen to close the Falaise Gap.
There were three Killed in Action notices in the 2 September 1944 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle, one from his wife Olive and his mother Maggie Graham of 13 West Street, Newtownards; one from his aunt Lily and uncle Robert McCandless and his three cousins (all on active service) and one from his cousins Ruby and John Hamilton (Merchant Navy) and family of 203 Mill Street, Newtownards. They bore the following verses:
A silent thought, a hidden tear keeps his memory ever dear
We shall always remember him smiling
Trooper John Bennett Campbell (No. 7012451) was buried in La Bigne Churchyard, Calvados, France and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
BELOVED HUSBAND OF OLIVE
AND DEVOTED FATHER OF MARGARET,
Trooper John Bennett Campbell (No. 7012451) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Newtownards Parish Church (St. Mark’s) and in Harpenden Methodist Church, Hertfordshire.