Family

HIGHLAND MAN

  

This is about a man I never knew, my Father. He was Corporal David Campbell of the 48th Royal Tank Regiment, born 17 August 1914 died 5 May 1944, age 29.

David was born in Dundee, Scotland the youngest boy of the six children (3 girls, 3 boys) of David and Isabella Campbell (nee Moir). He was the third David after his Father and Grandfather and I am the 4th. David was a professional soldier having joined the British Army Boy Service (Royal Armoured Corps) at 17 just shortly after his Mothers’ death in 1931. Neither I nor the other family members in Scotland know much about his life even my Mother never talked about him and what little I know of him I learned from my Mothers’ older sister and what I could glean from small bits and pieces from a book and from the internet.

I know that in 1937 David was serving on the Northwest Frontier in India and did something out of the ordinary as he was Mentioned in Dispatches which in those days was a big thing in the British Army. When World War Two started his Regiment was recalled to England and on the way home diverted to Southern France as the Germans had invaded Northern France through Belgium. Nothing came of this and his regiment was re-embarked and continued on to England. The next I heard about him was he had joined the Army 4th Commandos and was stationed in Troon Scotland where he was billeted in my Grandmothers’ house. This is where and when he met my Mother. As an aside, my step-father was also in the 4th and also dated my Mother and he was to return after the war and marry her as she was a widow by then. David participated on the Lofoten Island (Norway) raid in March of 1941 and the only other thing I know from that time is he married my Mom in November of that year and returned to the Royal Armour Corp where he was assigned to the 48th Royal Tank Regiment. This was a London Regiment called up for Hostilities only and equipped with Churchill Tanks.  The last thing I know about him was that somehow he had injured his knee also he had transferred from the 48th to a DUWK unit and before reporting had surgery on his knee. The day he did report for duty he collapsed and died of Blood Poisoning on the 5th of May 1944 (age 29) and is buried in a Commonwealth Cemetery just outside Algiers, Algeria. Not much to know about ones’ Father is it? A brief fragmented story of the man who sired me and I would never know. I do not even look like him from the one picture I have and as I stated before for some unknown reason my Mother would never talk about him but according to her older sister he was a good man and a consummate professional soldier.

Most of my life I never really thought about him, that is until I turned 60 and an almost obsession developed to find out about him and his family in Scotland. This I did in 2007 just before my 65th birthday and I returned to Scotland and went to Dundee to meet them all. All his siblings had passed away long ago and their children, my cousins knew even less about him than I did. It was though a great experience to meet his family and visit where he grew up and also the grave of his parents my grandparents whom I also never knew. 

This story is not unique as there were and are thousands alive to-day who could tell the same tale. So many young men, Fathers, and Husbands died during those terrible 6 years from 1939 through 1945. Still I wonder what kind of man he was and if he had lived what my life would have been like. Certainly different as my Mother remarried to a Canadian and he brought us home in 1947. It was my step-father who fashioned my life and he also was a good man but definitely moulded in a different cast.

                                         HIGHLAND MAN

 

                                        A man once lived

                                        And strode this Earth

                                        An Alban man

                                        Of common birth.

                                        A Highland Man

                                        Of Campbell Clan.

                                        Dundee his Home

                                        From which he roamed

                                        To serve his Country

                                        And his King.

                                        A Corporal rank

                                        He proudly wore

                                        An Iron Tank

                                        The steed he rode.

                                        From India to

                                        To Sahara sands

                                        He served the Crown

                                        Through many lands.

                                        On Battlefields

                                        The Enemy meet

                                        And fight with skill

                                        Til their defeat.

                                        For five long bitter

                                        Years he fought

                                        Until that spring

                                        On Europes Boot

                                        His steed did stop

                                        Its body shook

                                        As darkness came

                                        To his Blue eyes

                                        For Death did claim

                                        Another Prize.

                                        Would that Fate

                                        Had been more kind

                                        And taken not

                                        This Highland Man

                                        And left to me

                                        This Father He

                                        To Love and know

                                        Perhaps to be.

                                       

 

 

 

 

 

                                        

 

 

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