William Campbell

3065 Serjeant W. Campbell 5th Bn Royal Scots, Queens Edinburgh Rifles 26.1.1915, S 92

10957 Private C. Francis K.O. Scottish Borderers, 29.5.1918, S 104

110338 Flt Cadet J. W. Mackay Royal Air Force, 13.6.1918, age 18, N 575

45010 Private J. Traynor The Cameronians (Sco. Rif.) 10.2.1919, U338.

On this memorial are recorded the names of those members of His Majesty’s Forces who gave their lives for their country in the Great War 1914-1918 and are buried in this cemetery but whose graves are not marked by separate headstones.

The reference S 92 is the location of William Campbell’s actual grave in the southern half of the main cemetery.

CWGC:  Serjeant William Campbell, 3065, 5th Bn. Royal Scots (Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles).  Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.  Died of pneumonia 26 January 1915.  Husband of Henrietta Aitken Shaw Ogilvie (formerly Campbell), of 13 Viewforth Square, Edinburgh.

William Campbell was born at 48 West Richmond Street, Edinburgh, on 22 September 1863, the eldest son of William John Campbell and his wife Agnes MacEwan MacFarlane.  William John Campbell was the son of another William Campbell (1807-1891), who enlisted in the Royal Artillery in October 1828, spent four years in the West Indies in the 1830s and reached the rank of Sergeant Major in 1846.  He was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1850 and in 1853 was commissioned and appointed Captain and Adjutant of the newly formed Royal Lancashire Militia Artillery, based in Liverpool, a position he held until he retired with the honorary rank of Major in 1875.  

William Campbell married Mary Fife in Portsmouth in 1832 but it seems likely that Mary died young.  They are known to have had two children:  William John Campbell, who was born in the West Indies c. 1837, and Margaret Campbell born in Edinburgh c.1839.  William was in barracks in Woolwich in 1841 but the rest of the family have not been traced.  In 1851 and 1861 William John and Margaret Campbell were living in Edinburgh with their paternal grandmother, Margaret Campbell or Jaffray.

William John Campbell was a cabinet maker.  He married Agnes McEwan McFarlane in Edinburgh in 1862 but by 1871 the family was living at 6 Barony Street and William John had become a clothier and draper.  He died of Apoplexy on 9 April 1871, aged only 35, leaving his widow with four sons aged 7, 4, 3 and 1 to bring up.  It appears that his father moved to Edinburgh to live with his widowed daughter-in-law and his grandchildren when he retired in 1875.  In 1881 he was listed as William Campbell, Father-In-Law, Widower, 73, Major Retired R A, born Lerwick, Shetland Islands, and he died in Barony Street in February 1891.  By 1881 the two elder boys had been apprenticed: William Campbell as a cabinet maker and John as a draper.

William is listed as a cabinet maker in both the 1891 and 1901 censuses but in 1911 he is described as printseller and bandmaster and was an employer.  It appears that in about 1906 he joined John Mathieson to form the firm of Campbell and Mathieson, printsellers & picture framers, 18 Frederick Street.  Artist’s colourman was added to their description in the Edinburgh Post Office Directory from 1910.

William Campbell married Jane Muirhead in 1888 and they had three daughters and a son (yet another William) but Jane died in 1904 aged 38 and William married his second wife, Henrietta Aitken Shaw in 1910 and they had a daughter, Margaret.  Sadly all three of William’s brothers died young: John and Michael aged 22 and 20 in 1888 and Andrew from chronic tuberculosis in 1903 aged 32.  Their mother Agnes outlived all three dying in 1908 aged 74.

Andrew died in Muthil, Perthshire, where William spent his summer holidays for a number of years and the Strathearn Herald, 6 February 1915, includes a detailed obituary of William Campbell, which gives more information about William’s army career than has been gleaned from other sources.

Sergeant Campbell, who was a well-known Edinburgh Territorial, was first of all a Bandsman in the City of Edinburgh Artillery, and was a member of the 4th Royal Scots until August last year, when, on returning from Stobs Camp, he joined the National Reserve, later transferring into the 5th Battalion. Sergeant Campbell received the Territorial decoration when these medals were first issued. 

(Stobs Camp, near Hawick, was built as a training camp in 1902. The Territorial Force Efficiency Medal superseded the Volunteer Long Service Medal and the Imperial Yeomanry Long Service Medal when the Territorial Force was formed on 1 April 1908.  It was awarded to non-commissioned officers and men for a minimum of 12 years service in the Territorial Force, providing they attended 12 annual training camps.)

William died of Syncope Influenza & Bronchitis.  His WW1 Pension Record card adds “contracted on active service”.  The notice of his death in The Scotsman described him as “William Campbell, Pioneer Sergeant, 5th (Res.) Battalion The Royal Scots, Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles”.  

William was given a full military funeral.   The Scotsman, Saturday 30 January 1915, reported: 

With full military honours, the funeral of Pioneer-Sergeant William Campbell, of the 5th Battalion Royal Scots, took place yesterday from his residence at 163 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, to the Grange cemetery.  A gun carriage and detachment were sent from Piershill Barracks, and there were also detachments from the 4th and 5th Royal Scots, headed by their brass and pipe bands.  … The coffin was carried by a party of Royal Scots to the graveside, where service was conducted by the Rev. Harry Miller, chaplain of the 5th Royal Scots (Reserve), and the Rev. Dr Scott, Union Church, of which deceased was a member. A farewell volley was fired over the grave, and the “Last Post” sounded.

The references to William being a Pioneer-Sergeant are interesting as this is a regimental position rather than an official rank and dates back to the 18th century.  Originally each infantry company had a pioneer sergeant who marched in front of the regiment carrying an axe to clear the way.  The axe could also be used to kill horses wounded in battle.  Pioneer-sergeants later acted as their unit’s blacksmith (and were allowed to grow a beard to protect their faces from the heat of the forge!). Subsequently their duties changed to responsibility for carpentry, joinery and similar work.

William’s widow, Henrietta, married Gilbert Manson Ogilvie in 1923.  Gilbert was a teacher who had served briefly in the Royal Navy 1901-3 and then when war came enlisted in the 16th Royal Scots (McCrea’s Battalion), winning the Military Medal in France in 1916, and finishing the war in the Labour Corps.  He died in 1950 aged 73 and Henrietta in 1972 aged 92.  They were both cremated at Warriston.  Two of William’s daughters married but his two eldest daughters and his only son have not been traced after the 1911 census.