Campbell, Kenneth Gordon


He was the son of Dr. Gordon Campbell of Cambridge. His mother was Blanche Campbell, daughter of the Reverend William Watkins, Warden of Magdalen Hospital, Streatham. He entered Mr. Fort’s House as an Exhibitioner from Mr. R.S. Goodchild’s school at Cambridge, was three years in Sixth Book, a School Prefect and Head of the House his last year; he played in O.T.H. VI and Association XI, was President of Golf Club and a Colour-Sergeant in the O.T.C.

He had been elected to a Classical Scholarship at Trinity Hall (College), Cambridge, but war broke out within a few days of his leaving school and he obtained a commission soon afterwards in the 12th Battalion Highland Light Infantry. He was appointed Adjutant in January 1915, when not yet 20 years old and accompanied his battalion to France on 11th July 1915. He fell on September 25th 1915 during the Battle of Loos, while leading his men, during which every officer and sergeant of B Company, of which Campbell was second in command, was hit and Kenneth killed as they made for the front line.  This battle was the largest offensive on the Western Front during 1915 and was the first time the British has used poison gas as a weapon, although the gas attack was unsuccessful as the wind conditions were too still to carry it towards the German lines. Indeed, it caused severe problems for the British as it settled in the trenches occupied by Campbell’s company and others, killing some of the men.

Campbell was originally buried one and a quarter miles north-west of Loos Church, but his body was later moved, though it could not by then be individually identified. He is therefore commemorated by Special Memorial 11 in the Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos. His death was commemorated on a mural tablet in the chapel at the Magdalen Hospital, Drewstead Road, Streatham, where his maternal grandfather, William Watkins, was Warden between 1883 and 1917. Kenneth “was well known at the Magdalen throughout the twenty years of his life, and was much beloved”. The memorial was unveiled by his former Headmaster at Winchester, the Bishop of Southwark. Further information about Lt. Campbell’s life can be accessed via the Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge website: http://www.millroadcemetery.org.uk/MillRoadCemetery/Page.aspx?p=29&ix=3220&pid=3224&prcid=4&ppid=3224 Sources: Courtesy of Emma Easterbrook and the Friends of Mill Lane Cemetery, Cambridge. “The Magdalen Hospital: The Story of a Great Charity” by H F B Compston.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Campbell
  • Forenames or initials: Kenneth Gordon
  • House: B
  • Years in School: 1908-1914
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Highland Light Infantry
  • Date of Birth: 12th February 1895
  • Date of Death: 25th September 1915
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer E3
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: DUD CORNER CEMETERY, LOOS Special Memorial 11