Campbell, Gordon VC DSO DSC
Victoria Cross

Dates:
(1886 - 1953)

Local Connection:
Lived in Sydenham

War Service:
Commander. Royal Navy.

The Honour Sheet recommending him for the VC reads:
For conspicuous gallantry, consummate coolness and skill when he sank a German submarine on the 17th February 1917. Although his ship had been torpedoed and was sinking whilst he allowed the enemy submarine to circle around until she came into a position where all guns would bear.

8 Members of the crew were also mentioned in the citation for DSO, DSC and Mentioned in Despatches for the same incident.

Gordon-Campbell.jpg

London Gazetted on 21st April 1917.
Digest of Citation for the Victoria Cross reads:
On 17th February 1917 in the North Atlantic, Commander Campbell Commanding HMS Q5 * sighted a torpedo track. He altered course and allowed the torpedo to hit Q 5 aft by the engine room bulkhead. The 'Panic party' got away convincingly, followed by the U-boat. When the submarine had fully surfaced and was within 100 yards of Q 5 —-badly damaged and now lying low in the water, the commander gave the order to fire. Almost all of the 45 shells fired hit the U-boat which sank. Q5 was taken in tow just-in-time and was safely beached.

  • designated mystery ships the Q5 was an armed, disguised merchantman

Cambell wrote this about the incident:
It had been a fair and honest fight, and I lost it. Referring to my crew, words cannot express what I am feeling. No one let me down. No one could have done better.

Gordon Campbell VC is buried in the churchyard of All Saints church, Crondall, Hants. His Victoria Cross is held at his old school, Dulwich College.

Vice-Admiral Campbell also held the Distinguished Service Order ( DSO) and two Bars; the Croix de Guerre avec Palmes and the L├ęgion d'Honneur (France).

He joined the Royal Navy in 1900, and at 31 years old, had reached the rank of Commander during the First World War when the act took place for which he was awarded the VC. On 17 February 1917 in the north Atlantic, Commander

Gordon-Campbell-grave.jpg

Campbell, commanding HMS Q.5 (one of the "mystery" Q ships) sighted a torpedo track. He altered course and allowed the torpedo to hit Q.5 aft by the engine-room bulkhead. The 'Panic party' got away convincingly, followed by the U-boat. When the submarine had fully surfaced and was within 100 yards of Q.5 - badly damaged and now lying very low in the water - the commander gave the order to fire. Almost all of the 45 shells fired hit the U-boat which sank. Q.5 was taken in tow just in time and was safely beached.
Campbell also commanded HMS Dunraven during the action of 8 August 1917 when she was sunk by UC-71. Victoria Crosses were rewarded to two crewmen (by ballot) aboard Dunvraven, Lt. Charles George Bonner and Petty Officer Ernest Herbert Pitcher.

Campbell later achieved the rank of Vice Admiral. He commanded the battlecruiser HMS Tiger 1925-27 and served as Naval Aide-de-Camp to George V 1928-29.

DSO

Location of Memorial:
Memorial not known. He died on 3rd July 1953 at Isleworth, London and is buried at All Saints Churchyard, Crondall, Hampshire.
Details:
He was born on 6 January 1886 at Croydon. He was the uncle of Lieutenant-Colonel L Maclaine Campbell VC. In 1931, he was elected as National Member of Parliament for Burnley, defeating the Labour leader, Arthur Henderson. In 1935, however, standing as a National Liberal, he lost his seat. Campbell's brother, Sir Edward Campbell, was also a Member of Parliament. He was the author of several publications, including the successful My Mystery Ships. Hid Nephew Campbell Lorne Maclaine also was awarded a Victoria Cross

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