Campbell, John Gordon (No. 1489683)

Campbell, John Gordon (known as Ian)

Flight Sergeant (Navigator)

No. 1489683, 619 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in action on Friday 24 March 1944 (aged 30)


Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Berlin, Germany (Collective Grave 8. J. 11-12)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor

Bangor Grammar School

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor


John Gordon Campbell (known as Ian) was born on 7 September 1913 in Main Street, Bangor and he was the younger son of Samuel and Jane Moffatt Campbell (nee Armstrong) of 106 Seacliff Road, Bangor.  Samuel Campbell was a draper whose business was at 36/38 Main Street, Bangor.

Samuel Campbell and Jane Moffatt Armstrong from Ballysallagh were married on 5 October 1910 in Conlig Presbyterian Church.  Samuel Campbell was a son of William James Campbell, a master mariner.  Jane Moffatt Armstrong was a daughter of William Armstrong, a linen merchant.

Samuel and Jane Moffatt Campbell (nee Armstrong) had at least three children:

William Armstrong (Billy, born 26 September 1911 in Main Street, Bangor)

John Gordon (born 7 September 1913 in Main Street, Bangor)

Elsie Margaret Isabel (born 23 November 1915 in Main Street, Bangor; died 11 March 1982)

Jane Armstrong’s brother, Second Lieutenant William Wilberforce Armstrong, was killed in action during the First World War.

John Gordon Campbell’s elder brother, William Armstrong Campbell, was a well-known swimmer and his sister Elsie married Captain Alastair M. Leggat who served with the Royal Artillery during the Second World War.

John Gordon Campbell enrolled in Bangor Grammar School as Ian Gordon Campbell and he was described by the Headmaster as ‘a bright and apt pupil’.  He attended the School from 1923 until 1929 when he passed the Northern Ireland Junior Certificate with three credits.  Before joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1940 he worked in Short and Harland’s in Belfast.  He was well-known in amateur radio circles and was a member of Ballyholme Yacht Club.

After joining up, John Gordon Campbell went to England and from there to Canada for training.  On 24 March 1944 he was one of a seven man crew that took off at 6.53 pm from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire in an Avro Lancaster Mark I aircraft (DV328) on a mission to bomb Berlin.  The aircraft crashed south of Teltow (part of the agglomeration of Berlin) and all aboard were killed.  They were all buried together in a collective grave in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.  In addition to Flight Sergeant John Gordon Campbell the other six crew members who died were:

  • Pilot Officer Paul Thompson (aged 29) Royal New Zealand Air Force
  • Sergeant Bernard Francis Gratwicke
  • Flying Officer Joseph Vincent Leyland (aged 21) from Preston, Lancashire
  • Sergeant John Desmond Pedley
  • Sergeant Leonard Minshull (aged 29) from Liverpool
  • Flight Sergeant James Hay (aged 32) Royal Australian Air Force

More than 70 British aircraft were lost that night.

Flight Sergeant John Gordon Campbell (No. 1489683) was 30 when he died and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor; in Bangor Grammar School and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery (date of death inscribed as 25 March 1944).

His mother Jane died on 20 June 1946 and his father Samuel died on 27 February 1976 (aged 93).