Family, History


Warmemorial 3


With Remembrance Day just around the corner I am writing about the members both male and female of my family who served in World War II and all but one surviving to come home.
Mary Josephine Lee; B. 13 September 1920, – D. 26 March 2008.
Mary (Oldest Lee Girl) Joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) in 1941 and was stationed near Bristol, England. She worked as a server in the Mess hall on an R.A.F. Base. I do not know when she was discharged but it was prior to 1945.
Kathleen Winifred Lee; B. 21 January 1922.-
Kathleen Winifred lee, (2nd Oldest Lee girl) who some say was the head of the Lee girl mob as she seemed to be the adventurous one was born in Troon in January 1922. When the war started Kathy joined the WRNS ({WRENS} Women’s Royal Naval Service) at 18 and was stationed at Campbelltown on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland assigned to the Cypher Unit. After the war she would marry Nick and have 3 daughters.
David Burnett Campbell; B. 17 Aug. 1914 – D. 5 May 1944. Age: 29
David B. Campbell #7885941, 48th Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps was my Father and a professional soldier having joined the Royal Armoured Corps in 1931. The next I know of him he is serving in Indian on the Northwest Frontier in 1937 assigned to a Light Tank Unit. When WW II started David’s unit was recalled from India and made a landing at Marseille, southern France only to re-embark a short time later and sail for England. Sometime in late 1940 or early 1941 David volunteered to join the Commandos and was posted to the 4th Commando headquartered in Troon Scotland. It was here that he met and married my Mother. He participated in the raid on the Lofoten Island in Norway in March 1941. At some point after the Lofoten Raid he R.T.U. returned to unit in his case the Royal Armoured Corps. The next I know about him he is with the 48th Royal Tank Regiment equipped with Churchill Tanks and training near Hayes-Middlesex in England prior to embarking for North Africa. In Africa his regiment became part of the 8th Army where it fought from Egypt to Tunisia. Somewhere along the line David injured his knee and just before he went into hospital in Algiers he transferred to a DUKW, amphibious truck unit. After surgery on his knee he reported for duty only to collapse on the first day and was rushed back to hospital where he died on 5 May 1944 from blood poisoning. He is buried in a Commonwealth Cemetery just outside Algiers, Algeria. I never knew him as I was but 19 months old when he died.

Albert Raymond (Ray) McArthur. Pte. Essex Rifles. (4th Commando) B.18 August 1920. – D. 3 March 1995.
Ray was my step-father. He was born in Campbellford, Ontario and raised until age 11 in Hannah Alberta. At that age he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Chelmsford, England. In January 1939, age 18 he joined the Essex Rifles, a Territorial Unit (Militia). When war broke out in September of 39 his unit was mobilized and sent to France up near the Belgium border. When the Phony War ended in May of 1940 with the German invasion of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands the British were caught unprepared for the new form of warfare, Blitz Krieg (Lightening War) and were pushed back towards the English Channel. Most British and French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Rays’ unit came out at Boulogne north of Dunkirk. Arriving back in England Ray volunteered for the Commandos and was assigned to the 4th (both he and my Father were in the same unit) Headquartered in Troon. Ray knew my Mother slightly and became somewhat smitten with her but that is another story. The 4th was transferred to Egypt and saw action in Greece when Germany invaded. Evacuating Greece the 4th returned to Alexandria where they became part of Lay Force for the evacuation of Crete. The 4th was fighting rearguard in an olive grove just outside Sphakia when he was wounded and taken prisoner. This was in June 1941 and he remained a P.O.W. for almost 4 years.

Nicholas Powell Gibbons. R.N. B.31 December 1917-D.12 September 1991.
Nick joined the Royal Navy in either 1934 or 35 at the age of 18 and he was posted to H.M.S. Bedouin a Tribal Class Destroyer in 1937. The Bedouin took part in the 2nd Battle of Narvik, and the Lofoten Raid. In 1942 the Bedouin was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet on escort duty. While part of Operation Harpoon the Bedouin was confronted by the Italian Navy in the form of 2 Cruisers and some destroyers. Coming to Action Stations the Bedouin charged the Italians causing them to turn away but not before inflicting serious damage to the Bedouin by knocking out her engines. The Bedouin was taken under tow by the destroyer HMS Partridge but had to be released when an Italian Torpedo Bomber showed up. Bedouin was struck by a torpedo and sank on 15 June 1942 with the loss of 28 lives. Nick and the rest of the ships company would be picked up by the Italians and spend just under 3 years as P.O.W.s in both Italy and Germany. He would spend 13 years in the Royal Navy leaving after the war..

Harry Holt. Pte. North Shore Regiment, Canadian Army,
At the time of writing I know very little about Harry only that he was in the Normandy Campaign where he was seriously wounded when a landmine shattered his left knee. His leg was saved by the doctors but he would have trouble with it for the rest of his life. Harry died in a Veterans home in Victoria B.C.
These men and women I have written about were our Fathers, Mothers, Aunts, Uncles, and Grand Parents. They were heroes just like the millions of men and women who served in the Commonwealth Armed Forces. They are all gone now but one, Kathleen, 92 years young, who lives with her youngest daughter in Milton Ontario. What my generation and all those to come owes these people who stood in Harms’ Way can never be repaid. All we can do is thank them and remember them for they were and are the “GREATEST GENERATION”



2 thoughts on “THOSE WHO SERVED

  1. Daniel McBride says:

    David! Thank you very much for posting this. It means a lot to me and our Family! Kathy is doing great as I see them often, I will let her know you are thinking of her.

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